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March 3, 2011
Restoring the Tradition: Gyumri-based "Asparez" Want to Publish a Daily
By Nune Arevshatyan
Restoring the Tradition: Gyumri-based "Asparez" Want to Publish a Daily
Levon Barseghyan

The president of "Asparez" journalists' club in Gyumri Levon Barseghyan intends to publish a new daily in two months. According to him, compared with the capital which has a great number of print dailies, the regions are deprived of this kind of medium for more than 20 years. And he considers necessary to restore the tradition of newspaper reading in the mornings.

"For many times I have applied to different donors, explained, asked and convinced them to provide support for printing, to fund the establishment of printing-houses. Today we hope that there will be funding, and finally we'll have our printing-house in our city," explains Levon Barseghyan.

Barseghyan expects the support of both local and foreign donors. He says that if there is no support they will try to print the newspaper by their own efforts. According to Barseghyan, financial support has already been promised, but since there is no contract yet he does not wish to name the supporter.

By the calculations of "Asparez" club, an investment of $80,000 is necessary for the project. This sum does not include the editorial current expenditures which will be about $4,000 per month, according to Barseghyan.

Speaking about the details, Barseghyan mentions that the paper will refer to the behavior of "Asparez" club, show critical approach to "perversions" and abuses taking place in the society. It will provide pluralism.

"It will not be an entertaining newspaper covering the stars' lives. I want it to become the pulse of the city, so that the people are not able to live with it. And we will break the standards functioning in the case of industry of other Armenian newspapers, that is, the papers should be issued from Tuesday to Saturday, and not be published on Sundays and Mondays," says Barseghyan.

He says that at the initial period the paper will be published 5 days a week, and later on - the whole week. "The 6th day probably the newspaer will be pubished in appendixes, as done in West, and with evening and special issues if needed," says the president of "Asparez" club.

According to him after consuming the 200 copies of the paper in the first month, the circulation will grow to 1,500 copies during the next two years. The price is planned to be set 50-80 AMD. Barseghyan considers that at the beginning the paper will be available in the Shirak region, then it will be sold also in the Lori region and in the capital.

Barseghyan assures that the new daily will play a great role in the upcoming parliamentary (2012) and presidential (2013) elections.

Today, there are two weeklies issued in Gyumri - "Hingshabti" and "Shrjapat". The circulation of both is 3000 copies. And every time after inflation their editors complain of the papers' consumption volumes. Barseghyan has his own firm opinion on the problem of consumption. He thinks that paper production is not risky at all if the interests and benefits of a consumer are assessed correctly beforehand.

"Actually, I believe that the poor situation of not only of the Shirak but of all the Armenian papers and the small number of readers are connected with the fact that the needs of the society are not met properly. It's true that the price is high either, but I'm sure if the social needs are met conscientiously, consistently and effectively, then the papers will achieve a success in their realization," considers Barseghyan.

He assures that he does not want to harm other papers issued in Gyumri. "If there was a daily newspaper in our city we would not have initiated this project. The weeklies work well as weeklies, and I don't even want to harm them from the point of their circulation. But I don't exclude that weeklies might be forced to make some changes in their contents after the daily's publication," says Barseghyan.

In the era of digitalization, when all traditional media outlets around the world tend to be converted to electronic media rather not to lose their readers than to expand it, the idea of a print newspaper of "Asparez" seems not so perspective.

However, this observation is responded quite differently by Barseghyan: "I am of another opinion. Still a lot of time is needed to widely run the Internet in Armenia, still generations must change. And finally we have representatives of senior and middle-aged generations who are and will remain far from those technologies."

But he assures that the daily will have its web-version which will be a full news site, more extensive than the printed version.

The paper name is not finally decided yet, but Barseghyan confesses that the words Gyumri or/and "Asparez" will by all means be contained in it. Concerning the stuff, he recruits such journalists who, by his words, "are not from the stone age" and have prefect computer and photography skills.


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