There are a number of reasons why our editorial board decided it was time to place a new emphasis on print in the last few weeks. Given that at the moment, we are rather short staffed (this paper has historically operated on an impressively small staff, but it is particularly tight right now), it was necessary to carefully evaluate how the Weekly allocates human resources. We felt that returning to a medium with a finite amount of space would make our content output more manageable for a smaller team. As described in greater depth in a previous editorial, we hoped doing so might take the paper in a new conceptual and visual direction, so a clearer infrastructure could inform our operations moving forward. But it was also a practical shift; one way of expressing gratitude to those dedicated folks who are paid subscribers, by reinvigorating the newspaper as a product.
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But crafting a physical newspaper from start to finish is a huge work. In fact, producing a weekly newspaper can be aptly compared to running in an unending relay race, in which the moment one’s lap is finished and the next runner has been tagged, one has but a few moments to catch one’s breath, before—tag, you’re off yet again, and yet another sprint to the finish line ensues, where the whole process will begin anew. It requires the consolidation of a number of human resources, from securing the intellectual content from our writers here and abroad, to solving the complex problems associated with layout and design. As we reinvigorate this aspect of our operations, we have to scale back on other things—notably, our digital operations. This is why, you may have noticed as of late decreased activity on various digital platforms, and our daily newsletters have altogether been put on hold (they were being sent on an outdated platform we were using—believe it or not—since 2007; we are still in the midst of securing a new platform, so to those lovers of our email newsletters: hold tight!). Perhaps the biggest drawback about re-investing our efforts into the print that, because so much of our readership follows us digitally, these most recent changes have been entirely invisible to the 80,000 or so readers across the globe who benefit from our content online.
So while it’s the case that we’ve received great feedback about the new, more compartmentalized format of our physical paper; when it comes to our online content, we’ve heard just the opposite. Several concerned readers have even asked if we were on vacation. It’s certainly encouraging to know people are paying attention, but we assure you, we have not taken a vacation; nor is the lack of activity on our social and digital platforms a symptom of decline. It’s easy to fill the void with negativity, but please know that the changes we are making now are ensuring the sustainability of this publication, and rest assured that these changes will eventually trickle into all aspects of our operation, including digital.
It should be noted, however, that there are certain elements that will always remain unique to print, like the curated comments section, Khosq. We also recently brought back an old tradition in the paper with a new twist: “From the International Press.” This is a section of the paper which is dedicated to featuring a relevant analytical or feature-length article, selected by the editorial board, from a non-Armenian news outlet. Sometimes those articles dealt explicitly with the Armenian condition (like an international expert commenting on the geopolitics of the Caucasus or Genocide recognition), but other times, those articles were more indirect (like a broader story on human rights violations or political change). Starting last week, we resurrected this section, but in this new format, each selection is accompanied by commentary from the editor to help readers navigate the intended messaging. This portion of our newspaper will remain exclusive to the print, so if you’re curious to read it, you’ll just have to subscribe.
We’re also in a period of acquiring new columnists and regular contributors to the Weekly on various topics. We’re happy in this week’s issue to feature a new analyst, Armen Vardanyan, an expert at the Armenian Institute for International and Security Affairs, whose writings on current events and the geopolitics of the region may appear more regularly in our pages.
We are currently seeking writers—if you are interested, do send us a note with your CV and writing samples at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In short, while we are focusing on the print right now and though many of the changes being made are invisible to those of you reading this editorial on a screen, rest assured that our sights are ultimately set on bringing these positive changes to every piece of our operation.