The Armenian Weekly & Hairenik Weekly
A Brief History of the Newspapers
In a nutshell, the Armenian Weekly is an English-language newspaper belonging to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), a nationalist and democratic socialist political founded in 1890. In addition to its role as a political outlet, it also holds a high bar for journalistic standards, and reports on news of relevance to the global Armenian diaspora.
Digging deeper into the history of the Armenian Weekly: This newspaper is preceded by its Armenian-language counterpart, the Hairenik, founded in 1899, which is the longest-running Armenian-language newspaper in the world.
The Hairenik has spent the last century reporting the events of modern Armenian history, often in their staggering proportions in Armenian language. For many Armenian refugees fleeing the Ottoman Empire before and during the Genocide, the paper was the only means through which news about the homeland could be obtained, and for years, the paper even functioned as a bulletin board for those seeking information about loved ones lost amidst the violence—one the more sobering roles it’s held in the community over the decades. At its helm as editors were such outstanding national figures such as Arshak Vramian (1900-1907), Siamanto (1909-1911), Simon Vratsian (1911-1914), and Rouben Darbinian (1922-1968).
In June 1932 a column in English appeared in the Hairenik to address the needs of English-speaking Armenians. The response was so positive that by March 1934 the Hairenik Weekly, entirely in English, began publication, mostly through the efforts of young volunteer contributors. In June 1934 the Hairenik Weekly acquired a full-time editor, James Mandalian, and an assistant editor, Queenie Pambookjian. Of special interest from those days were the translations of short stories by such prominent Armenian writers as Avetis Aharonian and Hamasdegh and the poems of Gostan Zarian. Moreover, the very stories that initially brought William Saroyan national recognition by the American public were first published in the Hairenik Weekly(under the pseudonym Sirak Goryan).
In those early days, news in the Hairenik Weekly reflected mostly the youth movement, particularly the activities of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF). As the first waves of American-born, English-speaking generations grew older, the need for a more mature publication in English was eventually filled by the Hairenik Weekly as it graduated to the status of a full-fledged organ of the ARF and its community. In 1969 the paper’s name changed to the Armenian Weekly.
Today, along with news of general interest to the Armenian-American community, the Armenian Weekly publishes editorials, political analyses, regular columns, and short stories and poems. The newspaper, while reflecting the current of the ARF and Armenian National Committee (ANC) of America, is also open to a wide variety of views and opinions in which the pros and cons of issues can be discussed openly and honestly. Youth activities are still reported in each issue on the AYF Page, upcoming events are announced in the “Calendar of Events,” and cultural activities are reported through music, dance, and movie reviews.
Although the Armenian Weekly’s headquarters are located in Watertown, Massachusetts, subscribers hail from as near as Boston and as far as Buenos Aires and beyond. And the Armenian Weekly continues to meet the expanding needs of a more sophisticated, news-conscious Diasporan-Armenian public.