| 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
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
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
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