Armenian News Sites Need to be More 'Creative'

14.04.2012, Քննադատ

Editor in Chief of local daily Aravot

To launch a new website, to publish news online, should've been done long ago — 4 to 5 years ago. It's simply that I, as a representative of "paper culture," hadn't accurately assessed the speed of the development of online news outlets and I continued to pin some hope on Gutenberg's press (letterpress printing). As a mere formality, Aravot, the newspaper I edit, had a website, but all we did was publish the previous issue of the newspaper there.

About a year ago I finally relented and decided to enter the very "crowded" market of online news outlets, keeping also Aravot's print version, which even today has its readers and advertisers. In the outcome, the new Aravot.am website that's been regularly updated since last November today has 12–13,000 visitors daily and has secured the13th–14th place on the Armenian web resources rating site Circle.am — though there's talk that this rating system is not all that reliable. 

Advertising has also increased on Aravot.am, though in terms of the amount and price, it hasn't caught up to advertising published in the newspaper.

Aravot.am, as well as, I think, other Armenian news websites, are still far from being real "convergent" news outlets that combines different types of traditional media. The reasons are numerous: material, technical, organizational, creative. Let me stop on only the last one.

It seems to me that we have to change the structure of both the news pieces and the corresponding editorials. I picture it as a tree where one story constantly branches out — into text, photos, audio and video. And each "branch" has to take up no more than half a page and contain links to the other "branches."

Among them there has to be more comments and assessments by experts or famous people in general. In this sense, I really like the Russian site Snob.ru. It's true, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov spent millions on the site and we don't have such millions, but I think this is one of the directions of developing news websites.

In short, we have to be more "creative" in online news outlets — right now, we're only using about 5–10% of their potential.

Going to a press conference or event and quickly writing and publishing 3–4 pieces based on it is not the highest expression of "creativity."

Aram Abrahamyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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