Has worked at Public Radio’s Yerevan program and Aravot daily newspaper, and was a correspondent for RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun). From 2006–2015, worked at 168 Zham newspaper. Is the host of Vem radio station’s Hayeli (“mirror”) radio series. Writes for Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times) daily newspaper.
In the evening of May 1 from Yerevan Republic Square, the MP from the Yelq bloc Nikol Pashinyan announced a complete student and professional strike on May 2.
Every possible street in the city was blocked, and going to work became impossible. Teachers, workers in offices, government agencies and the private sector hat real justification for not going to work, all the streets were closed, we can’t reach the workplace.
But there is no such justification for a journalist. One of the golden rules of journalism is if the door is closed, go through the window. If the roads are closed, get to your destination by hot air balloon or foot.
The problem is, that journalists can tell their manager that the street is closed, and that they can’t physically come from Davitashen to work by foot. And the manager will understand.
The problem is, that the journalist wants to go to work at all costs. Like my coworker at CivilNet, Tatul Hakobyan.The pain in his legs that he had acquired from the recent strenuous work didn’t stop Tatul from travelling to work from the 2nd district of Nork, not only on foot, but... barefoot.
I would like to bring an example from May 2 with my colleagues from Vem radio station, and how we spent our working day.
The hosts of the radio’s original programs will confirm, that for unpredictable situations we have “backup” programs.
These are programs that are excluded from the daily flow and which, when broadcasted a week later, do not affect the relevancy of the broadcast. Those programs save the day, when the journalist is sick, when they are out of the country, or for whatever reason is unable to come to record the interview on time.
The building of Vem radio station is near Vernissage. Not all of the staff live in the center.
Regardless however, the radio station staff came to work, even though they could have filed the gap with “spare” programs and music. They came from the 4th district of Nork, they came by foot.
Before the complete shut down of streets were announced, I had already agreed to meet with a guest for the Hayeli program on May 2nd at 3:00pm.
To postpone the meeting would not have been honest, the guest had prepared, they were mentally ready, the topic was urgent… But the problem was in reaching the center, and from the crossroads of Argavand at that.
Truly the avenue had already been closed all morning from all possible exists and entrances. Walking was the last, however very time-consuming solution. The fastest possible method for me to get to work was to go with my kids’ scooter…
From Argavand, on Isakov Avenue, until Vernissage in an hour and ten minutes. I received the guest at the right time, I held the interview, and using the same method for transportation, I returned home.
Media.am has a wonderful series of articles about “walking journalists,” who day and night walk and cover the Velvet Revolution live.
They are those journalists, who have a professional responsibility, and before doing their work they simply love their work.
So, on May 2, journalists, as well as bakers and the military, performed their work uninterruptedly.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.