- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 July 25 , 2003 

Outside Eye: A non-Armenian's view of life in his adopted home

We started with belief. We had no office, no name, no money. We had a staff who shared our belief: That what we could add to the media community in Armenia, was needed.

In a year that started on this day, ArmeniaNow has offered you some 600 stories and even more photographs, plus commentaries, daily election coverage, cartoons, and a chance for you to join in via guest book.

You have found us in 73 countries, and the fact that our readership grows almost weekly indicates that you're telling others about us.

But even on our anniversary, numbers are not our measuring stick. We judge ourselves by the degree to which that initial belief is being maintained - by whether we are making a useful contribution to the world around us.

ArmeniaNow's first year has certainly been eventful, and we wondered more than once if we would survive to mark the date.

Now that we have, we prefer to ponder the future, rather than dwell on the past. As the continued controversy involving A1+ television company shows, severe questions are being asked about freedom of speech and respect for pluralism in Armenia.

The need for professional independent journalism remains as great as ever. The recent elections for president and parliament left society more divided, and a portion of that society more alienated from government, than before. Paradoxically, as politics malfunctions, there is clear evidence of improving economic circumstances for many people, though many others still struggle with hardship.

The job of journalism is to shed light on these developments, to reflect society as it is, and not as people might fear it has become or wish it to be. At ArmeniaNow, we train our journalists to reject simple black-and-white explanations. But we reject too the notion that everything must therefore be painted in shades of gray.

This is a Technicolor country whose people experience the full palette of emotions, at times it seems in the same day. That presents its own challenges to journalists attempting to apply intellect to events or cool analysis to often overheated arguments.

We lose count of the times people here or abroad begin sentences with "It doesn't make sense . . ." But we are in the profession of making sense of the society we live in, or we should have chosen other professions. In doing so, we hope to be useful to that society.

Just as in the past 12 months, that is the task we have set ourselves at ArmeniaNow for the year ahead. We try to apply the "Three Es" of journalism - to educate, enlighten and entertain - each week in the effort to ensure that readers here and in the Diaspora get a clearer picture of life in modern Armenia.

This is a forward-looking country and its people face the future with a self confidence born of overcoming tremendous obstacles in the early years of Armenia's independence. Present difficulties, though of great importance, by comparison are questions of development, rather than of life-and-death struggle for existence.

A travel agency here is marketing holidays in Armenia to adventure tourists as a "voyage beyond the ordinary". A decade ago Armenia was a destination beyond the reach of most visitors' endurance, despite the unflagging hospitality of its people.

If the shifting language reflects the distance traveled thus far, how will another decade alter perceptions of Armenia? There are grounds for cautious optimism just as there are for gloomy pessimism.

The journalists of ArmeniaNow will dedicate the next 12 months to chronicling the struggle between the two emotions. We appreciate deeply the comments of readers about our work, good and bad, over the past year. Your comments reflect a tremendous interest in our reports, for which we are also grateful.

We are evolving. And while reflection may be part of evolution, we are too aware of where we need to go, to dwell on where we've been.

We look forward to our second year with confidence and optimism. Above all, our second year begins with a desire to demonstrate the contribution that conscientious journalism can make toward an informed public and the strengthening of civil society.

According to Agnes
  Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.


Double Death: Siamese twins birth and death separate family.

Full story


Family Law: Newly enforced legislation makes surrogate birth more appealing to the childless.

Full story

The Week in Seven Days.

Full story


  Photo of the week
  Click here to enlarge.
Click on the photo above to enlarge.


This has been a nerve-wracking week for many students as they have waited to discover if they have passed entrance exams for universities in Armenia. For this student in Yerevan, success brought a smile and a kiss from a relative.




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