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October 13, 2011
New Heartbeat: After a 20-year Break Gyumri has a Daily Again
By Nune Arevshatyan
New Heartbeat: After a 20-year Break Gyumri has a Daily Again
Levon Barseghyan /photo by "Asparez" Club/

A new daily - the "Gyumri-Asparez" - has been published in Gyumri. Author of the initiative is the Journalists' Club "Asparez" in Gyumri.

Presentation of the first official issue was held on October 12. Before publishing the first issue, five experimental issues were published and distributed among the Shirak population free-of-charge (read also "Restoring the Tradition: Gyumri-based "Asparez" Want to Publish a Daily").

According to Levon Barseghyan, council chairman of the "Asparez" Club, the Shirak marz did not have a local daily for about 20 years, hence, their aim is to anyhow restore the tradition of dailies. Materials for the daily are fully or partially published on website.

"We want to create a paper to make the society to get tied to it. We don't want it to be a formal newspaper, but a table paper of people. And if we provide noteworthy materials, then people will be ready to spend 200-300 AMD for it," believes Barseghyan. 

The 8-page daily has a circulation of 500 and the price is 100 AMD. "We are not ambitious. We don't think that Gyumri is a paradise for publishing a daily. We assume if we sell 300 copies during the first month, and 400 in the second month, later we can add 50 or 100 copies per month," says Barseghyan.

And he hopes there will be at least 1000 people in the city ready to spend 100 AMD for reading a newspaper, and that newspaper will be the "Gyumri-Asparez." "The most important thing is to avoid useless information. Of course, some may think they have no money to buy bread, not to say about a newspaper."

According to Barseghyan, personal financial and non-financial investments of the club founders are approximately 26 million AMD (about $69,000). The Open Source Society Foundations-Armenia supported the initiative by 22,5 million AMD ($ 60,000).

"We hope to cover our expenditures in 7-8 months, but we realize that the expenditures will rise," says Barseghyan.

There are already feedbacks after the five experimental issues' distribution: the publisher is mostly interested in the negative ones to correct all the shortcomings as soon as possible.

The editorial staff of the "Gyumri-Asparez" consists of experienced and young employees. The latter were chosen through a contest and participated in a 3-month training in the "Asparez" Club. Then they did a four-month practical job preparing articles for the website.

"We would be glad if there were other dailies in the city. It would stimulate business rivalry and the industry of dailies. If there was a daily in Gyumri we would hardly have to start one ourselves. But today we do need a newspaper in the city," believes Barseghyan.



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