Azg Newspaper Resumes Publication

YEREVAN — Azg daily, our sister publication, which launched its first edition on February 16, 1991, was in print regularly for 23 years. However, financial problems caused a temporary interruption after the recent New Year break. The paper owed back taxes to the government, and money to the printers and employee, despite generous contributions from Ara Abrahamian, its main benefactor.

While the paper was published daily, it existence was taken for granted, but its absence was felt throughout the media and many inquires were posted. Azg enjoys a global readership, thanks to its online edition. Its reappearance was a welcome relief for the general readership, diplomats, scholars and politicians, since the hallmark of the paper has been thoughtful, balanced and unbiased journalism, with a broad worldview.

After two months’ interruption, and more soul-searching, the paper’s administration decided to return to publishing, but in a weekly format, with the first issue appearing on February 28.

Azg daily introduced many innovations into Armenia’s news media, which remained entrenched in the backwardness of the Soviet era.

The ADL leadership in the US and Canada secured the necessary funds to introduce a modern approach to publishing, such as new computers and software specific to newspapers. They approached the newspaper as a business, a novelty in the entire Caucasus region.

Veteran journalist Hagop Avedikian, the former editor of Beirut’s Zartonk daily, moved to Yerevan and there he found a young and dynamic team of journalists. While introducing innovations in modern journalism, Azg became a virtual school for future journalists and diplomats, who today represent Armenia in diplomatic missions around the world or have risen to prominence in the news media in their own rights.

Azg can pride itself in heralding Western-style journalism in Armenia, single-handedly. Not only did its design and format reflect freshness, but also its content elevated the presentation of news and analysis to a professional level. It also opened a window into world affairs and Diasporan life, areas that had been severely restricted during the Soviet period.

All these innovations skyrocketed its circulation to an unprecedented 40,000.

The daily used to contain eight pages. Today, the weekly will comprise 16 pages.

The change is necessitated not only by the scarcity of funds but also by the evolving technological changes in journalism. Media-savvy Armenian readers now feed on a diet of instant news. Fewer and fewer readers have the patience to wait for the news for 24 hours. No print media can claim a priority position in newsgathering and dissemination. Therefore, the editorial team has decided to render the publication into an analytical weekly, featuring its flagship cultural supplement and bringing the world affairs and Diaspora Armenian life into focus.

Unfortunately, the majority of publications in Armenia are restricted to a myopic view of the Armenian world, dedicated, most of the times to sensationalism and trivia.

Azg weekly retains its team of prominent and professional contributors, headed by the dean of Armenian journalists, Avedikian.