Armenian Media Today: Q&A with Gegham Vardanyan

July 13, 2015

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Frankfurt

Armenia is a country with an ancient cultural heritage that once reached from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea. It also was the first country to adopt Christianity in 301 AD.

To strengthen the statehood and instructing the people in the news religion, the Armenian alphabet was introduced around 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots and the first media was produced Many of these old scripts still exist and are collected in the Matenadaran, the repository of ancient manuscripts in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

Detail of the portal of the Matenadaran. Photo by Rabirius.

The first Armenian printing establishment was founded in Venice in 1565 and focused on religious texts; it was later moved to Istanbul. The first newspaper was published in Madras, India, in 1646, but it took another 60 years before Armenian papers and journals were printed in Armenia. As part of the USSR, most Soviet-era publications were in Russian; however, in the 1980s, there was a language and cultural revival that sparked an increase in journalistic activity. After independence, Armenia developed its own press laws. Though some media enterprises failed, more publications were founded that are still in circulation today, like Aravot, Yerkir, or AZG

The Internet began to spread with the beginning of the 21st Century and online media was developed.

To find out more about the development of online media and other trends of the Armenian media market,we asked Gegham Vardanyan, producer of Media.am, a project of the Media Initiatives Center, to give us an overview:

1.  The media market in Armenia is small. Which effect does it have on the media landscape?
Armenia is a small country; the actual population figure barely reaches 3 million. This doesn’t prevent us from having, for example, a large number of TV channels. For instance, there are 14 TV channels broadcast in Yerevan alone. There are many daily newspapers, but the print media is experiencing a crisis: print runs barely reach 5,000. In addition, newspapers are printed 5 times a week: there are no newspapers on Sunday or Monday.

Online media is well developed. News websites usually publish in three languages: Armenian, English, and Russian.

Despite the quantity I mentioned, it’s not always that the same TV station offers diverse TV products for its viewers, especially in terms of news. Armenian news outlets are not wealthy, and few have their own correspondents, not even in Moscow or Washington. In order to keep abreast of international news, Armenian news outlets often make use of different news agencies, especially Russian sources.

2.  Who owns the classic media outlets, like publishing houses, broadcasting stations, etc.? Does it interfere with journalistic work?

There is the Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia, which is completely financed by the state budget.

The matter of media ownership, by and large, is a problem. In many cases, large media holdings are Closed Joint-Stock Companies (CJSC). The law allows neither members of the public to apply to the state registry to receive the names of stockholders nor requires media companies to make the names of stockholders public.

Some of the private stations belong to politicians and businessmen close to the government. Though the law officially prohibits political parties from owning TV channels, four parliamentary parties have a huge influence on four different TV stations and the public knows this. This, of course, has a direct effect on the work of these TV channels.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

3.  How did the move to digital media change the Armenian media landscape?
News websites in Armenia that operate according to the convergent newsroom model are advanced. Leading websites offer their readers not only text, but also high-quality photos, video, and live video coverage of developing news.

The most widespread social networking site is the Russian Odnoklassniki, though for discussions on social and political topics, the main platform is Facebook.

Though there is a lack of professionalism in the Armenian media landscape, the increasing number of news websites ensure media pluralism and are relatively more free (i.e. less controlled) than broadcast and, to a lesser extent, print media.

4.  What sources do journalists usually use to access information?
In Armenia, journalists use press releases. There are 5–6 press clubs that host press conferences on different issues every day. Republishing content from local news outlets without permission, as well as translating from various foreign media, is extremely widespread.

5.  Which topics are most popular in the media?
Here, the picture is the same as in the rest of the world. The most popular topics are crimes, celebrities, and sports, especially football. From political topics, of interest are news on the Karabakh conflict, when the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijani border is tense. In general, developing news are of interest.

But the overall picture is different on different websites. For example, the top 5 most read stories in 2014 of a few leading news websites in Armenia were drastically different.

6.  Do you have any tips for people who would like to reach media, or journalists in Armenia?
You can read about Armenia’s media in a few industry websites, such as the Media Initiatives Center, Media.am (a project of the Media Initiative Center), and the Yerevan Press Club. See also the database of Armenian media outlets and professionals on the Yerevan Press Club website, as well as the Media Map on Media.am, which is organized by region (for example, see here for Yerevan).

Journalists in Armenia can be reached through social media. They are active primarily on Facebook, though also on Twitter.

Note:  Adrineh Der-Bogossian helped Gegham Vardanyan with the English text.

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[DOWNLOAD NOW] Business Wire Launches Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

July 9, 2015

Earlier today, CommPro.biz published a piece outlining the new Business Wire multimedia report Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release. This guide offers comm pros best practices for releasing company news that will connect with modern audiences in the digital and mobile age. While the importance of a news release is timeless, the communication landscape is changing and PR and IR teams need to take advantage. Find out how.

2015 WP_Cover Graphic_Lets Get Visual

Click here to read this piece and click here to share this information with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/f4c3X

Have a comment or a tip of your own?  We would love to hear your thoughts!  Just leave a message in the comment section below.

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Snacking On News … Will It Fill Your Brain?

June 23, 2015

Simona Bio

By Simona Colletta, International Media Relations Specialist – Paris

The internet helps people understand new things like the best way to clean a bicycle chain, proper snooker techniques, and how to change a car’s head lamp. But, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, the internet is not helping people comprehend the news. The study found that only 42 percent of people were able to answer basic questions about the news.

How could this be? Why are people so uninformed about the news when they have so many options to get the news? Maybe it’s precisely because they have all of those options. People are no longer digging into news stories and completely digesting them; instead, they are merely snacking on the news. According to the study, 59 percent of the time people do not read past the headlines on internet stories. The snacking is light, it seems.

eating_paper

While the Pew Research Center Study doesn’t identify study participants by geographic location, I live in France and was recently alerted to an Odoxa survey done for Trooclick, a French start-up company that developed an opinion-driven search engine which uses a natural language processing technology to gather news and opinions online. The survey reveals some interesting data on how the French view today’s news landscape.

85 percent of French people believe that they have more information available

Between ongoing chains of information, online news sites, search engines, and social networks, the French feel more informed than they did ten years ago. A whopping 85 percent of them believe they have more information on the news. This finding is shared widely across the population, regardless of age, social class, or income level.

Graph 1

The French do not feel more informed

If the French have won in terms of quantity of information available to them on the internet, they certainly don’t feel they have won in terms of quality. Although 77 percent consider the available information on current events is becoming more varied, only a minority believes that information is becoming more useful.

It must be noted that the internet offers so much in terms of information, but that information is often scattered, poorly organized and frequently redundant. The result? Of every 10 articles read, less than half are read in full (4.5 exactly). A tiny minority of French (8 percent) read every article in full.

Graph 2

Nearly 7 out of 10 French are interested in a free online service that would deliver them a summary of every point of view on a news event

The logical conclusion to the results of the survey (and encouraging for Business Wire and Trooclick) is that 66 percent of French people would be interested in a free online service that would deliver to them a summary of all current events. The youngest were the most interested: 8 out of 10 would be keen on this kind of online service.

Snacking on the news is not bad in and of itself, but we should be attentive, as we are in our kitchen, to the quality and reliability of what we snack upon. In this massive jungle of media and information, a reader can now count on interactive tools that help him/her to select the best “product” and follow his/her fields of interest.

Have a bite!

Try Business Wire’s Press Pass or click here to visit trooclick.com

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Peter Shankman Does it with Pizza: How to Build a Professional Relationship

June 3, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

At the recent HUB Convene event, we had the opportunity to hear from Peter Shankman, a communications pro with a lot on his mind, especially about airlines and a certain car rental company. During his presentation, Peter discussed the importance of customer service on a company’s sales and marketing funnel, and the lack of customer service received from most of the companies we interact with on a daily basis. After asking an audience member why they praised a recent flight, and learning that it was because they were safely transported from point A to point B, Peter broke down society’s current standards for customer service: Getting what we pay for passes as the pinnacle of service today. For the consumer, this is terrible, but for organizations this presents a fantastic opportunity. If people’s expectations of customer service are so low, it shouldn’t take much to wow someone, making it very easy for smart organizations to create a positive and lasting impression.

shaking hands

Paying a friend a compliment or going out to lunch can strengthen ties and facilitate a year’s worth of inside jokes. Building a professional relationship is no different. It is the small, almost effortless, actions that can be the difference between meeting people’s expectations and completely redefining them. In today’s world of low customer expectations, it doesn’t take much to impress someone, so impress as often as possible.

Peter Shankman didn’t just preach relationship building; he described how he puts his plan into action. For Peter, going above and beyond in relationship building starts with pizza. After signing on a new client, he likes to drop by their offices unannounced with a surprise pizza lunch. This allows Peter and his clients to communicate and learn more about each other’s expectations and goals, ultimately resulting in better executed programming. What makes it special is that for Peter, it is not a required act, but rather done as a choice of goodwill.

Peter Shankman does it with pizzaThis is something we at Business Wire are keenly aware of – the impact building relationships has on the success of one’s PR program.

Media relations doesn’t have to be about throwing a pizza party but can be just as easy. One of the easiest ways to build awareness, and potentially coverage, of your company is to build relationships with key journalists and bloggers, before news is available to share, and after. If a journalist likes communicating with you, that can help you build a respectful, reciprocal relationship. With a personalized email or a tweet, you may end up surprising the very person you need to help amplify your message.

The digital age has made everything impersonal. We believe that we are building stronger, more personal ties with a person because we have access to their lives, their day-to-day activities and insight into their thought process. But in reality, access to information is not the same as building relationships.

Professional relationships can’t survive on the back burner. Here are some other steps that you can follow to make a new acquaintance in the media industry:

  • Be Neighborly – Allow reporters, bloggers, and other media access to learn more about your company or business. Inviting them to your facilities and providing access to both c-suite and ground level employees allows them to understand your company and your company’s vision. Let the people covering your story learn more about your organization’s story, beyond just the latest announcement.
  • Show Interest – A relationship is a two-way street so you should make sure to not only reach out when you need coverage, but also follow reporters on Twitter and other social media without the intention of pitching. They receive hundreds of pitches daily in their email box and don’t need the same clutter in their social media feed. @reply to comment on topics of interest, answer questions, engage in conversation and retweet articles when relevant to your followers.
  • Know Their Schedule – One of the best ways to stay on the media’s good side is to know the publication schedule of the person you are contacting. Knowing when a particular writer goes to print or has a deadline allows you to reach out at an appropriate and convenient time, as opposed to the night before their work is due.
  • Preferred Treatment – If you invite a journalist to an event, or even to your offices, reduce the friction associated with that visit. Providing transportation such as car service, a meal, a room to work out of while on site and more can make a lasting impression. Making someone feel special, without showboating, can go a long way.

Check out the following articles to learn more about building media relationships in 2015.


Nintendo Just Showed Us: The News Release is Having a Moment

May 22, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Half a million views in a single day, and counting, is no easy feat. A news release from Nintendo this week accomplished just that, and every communications pro should take note of the basic reasons that led to such grand visibility.

Before the digital revolution, a hero was born by the name of Mario, and this hero had a nemesis named Bowser. Bowser started off as a Koopa King who breathed fire, but much has changed. On May 20th, 9am Eastern Time, Nintendo of America announced via a Business Wire distributed news release that Doug Bowser was named as the new Vice President of sales in America. Clearly the two Bowsers are not one and the same, but the irony was not lost on Golin, the PR agency handling Nintendo’s communication management. They identified and utilized the humorous angle that presented itself and converted it to visibility gold. Over 500,000 views, including over half a million views alone of just Doug Bowser’s photograph, is making this an industry defining news release.

Nintendo Bowser Infographic

Especially significant is that 60% of the traffic is stemming from social media. People are actively sharing this content, driving awareness through the roof. Doug Bowser is now a star and Nintendo can be seen almost everywhere online. The press release is having a moment right now, but why?

Journalists, media professionals, news consumers, they are all eager for interesting and relevant content. Golin found a way to satisfy their target market’s needs by understanding the basic elements of a release. What could have been a regular announcement about a new hire was instead turned into a story. The story was about the irony of a company hiring a man who shares his name with a notorious character the company is known for. The headline didn’t read Doug Bowser as New VP of Sales.

Doug Bowser, VP Sales, Nintendo of America

Doug Bowser, VP of Sales, Nintendo of America

The decision to omit Doug was a conscious one aimed at waking the reader up by tapping into their sense of humor. The announcement was professionally written but maintained a lightness, playing on the intended readers’ nostalgia and lingering interest. The release included multimedia, both Nintendo’s logo as well as a crisp headshot of Doug Bowser. Readers could see what a real life Bowser looks like, and they did, over half a million times.

Nintendo set a precedent with this release but it doesn’t mean other companies need to start developing video game characters then hiring employees with the same names. The lesson learned here is that every release has a story and the process of writing an announcement needs to start with identifying a story that can grab the reader’s attention. That story is your company’s story and if it connects with readers, it will be shared and reshared all over the internet.

If Bowser can be VP of sales at Nintendo, maybe Coca Cola can find a Draper to run creative.

The Nintendo release had significant coverage on mainstream media. Some examples include:

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PR Tip: How to Keep Track of the Universe of Tech Events

March 31, 2015

by Travis Van, Founder, ITDatabase and Vilan Trub, Business Wire

It’s getting hard to even think of tech as an “industry” anymore.

Tech is much bigger than any one vertical (like automotive or financial services). Tech’s more like a galaxy or universe. And keeping track of the tech industry’s tens of thousands of events is like trying to count stars in the sky.

As technology has become “horizontal” and deeply impacts every single industry, Business Wire’s Trade Show Group has seen an explosion of events. Mega-shows like CES, Mobile World Congress and a handful of others are hugely important – but today, most important tech companies are also event organizers, and every technology that has any sort of inertia has its own dedicated user groups and regional workshops.

TradeShow Calendar 2

For the modern marketing and PR pro, promoting technology requires knowing the most important events that matter to the audience(s) you’re targeting – and this task has truly become a nightmare. You have to discover events, you have to qualify their importance and relevance, and you have to stay on top of dates and deadlines.

Everyone knows about CES, but how do you discover the new wearables conferences that are being hosted by top tier vendors and investors? Everyone knows about OSCON, but how do you find all of the influential hackathons that attract open source developers at regional levels?  Each industry has its well-known behemoths, but then at the next-level the important (but smaller) and new (but hot) events are the needles in the haystack….

To address this obvious pain point for tech companies, Business Wire has co-created TechCalendar – a new directory of tech events that is much more comprehensive and easy to use than any other available method. We’ve isolated the hardest parts of discovering and tracking tech events and boiled it down into a much simpler workflow. With this tool, you can find all the tech events or awards relevant to you by simply searching keywords, topics, in the tech industry’s most comprehensive database (12,000 events and growing every day).

TechCalendar 2015 Example

In addition to keeping track of industry events, TechCalendar allows you to also follow organizers and topics that match your interests so that all opportunities are accessible with a single click. And you can integrate your TechCalendar with your calendar client (Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.) and share calendars with everyone on your team (or export to .CSV / Excel).

For tech companies, the pain of tracking tech events is universal. No one has time these days to try to track all of this manually, in spreadsheets. If you’ve found yourself struggling to find your way in the universe of tech events, give TechCalendar a look.

Click here to tell your colleagues about TechCalendar: http://ctt.ec/kUiCU

Learn everything you need to know about increasing visibility and impact while at trade shows by downloading our guide at: http://go.businesswire.com/Tradeshow-Publicity-Guide 


5 Tips for Building Brand Believers

March 20, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Bernadette Morris, CEO and President of Black PR Wire, and Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations at Business Wire, cohosted a conference spotlighting the best practices in multicultural marketing. Hall explained that it was important to understand how to tap into the Black market because “according to Target Market News, the Black American economy already represents the 20th largest market in the world.” The event was initially described as a webinar on how to best reach the Black market, however, what resulted was a fantastic discussion that applied to all developing campaigns, reflecting how connected society has become in a digital world.

  1. Multicultural Markets are more Connected than Ever Before

Communications professional Danyele L.C. Davis, Vice President of Flowers Communications Group, explained that multicultural markets are more connected than ever before.

“The one thing I really want to dispel is that total market is not general market.”

Flowers Communication Group has successfully implemented the Cultural Fusion Model: Assess, Embrace, and Customize. Targeting minority markets the way they were targeted in the past is outdated and destined to alienate your target audience. Millennials see themselves completely differently and the best way to reach them is to assess cultural nuances.

  1. Who Influences Your Target Market?

Courtney Cunningham, Esq., Co-Founder and Managing Director of Commonground/MGS, explained that minorities, like all people, are influenced by region, religion, and upbringing. He referenced a series of commercials in which a Black male is shown failing at many attempts to use household products to do some basic cleaning. This example showcases how a target market is not being effectively reached because the people behind the advertising campaign have a misconception that minority males do not know how to take care of a household. He compared his reaction when watching the commercials to that of a professional lawyer watching a highly dramatized courtroom drama. The result is that you know what you are watching is fake, a stereotype.

  1. Don’t Just Target Your Market, Go to Them!

Danyele L.C. Davis brings up the example of technology and faith. The accepted idea was that cell phones had no place in church. It was considered a big “no-no.” That notion has since changed and the only way to know that is to be immersed in the community. The result was a newfound knowledge that Bible apps and selfies are regularly being used as a mode to connect in church and are quickly becoming integral to the faith community. It was the authenticity behind her attempts to understand this community that led her to identify current trends and make an impact with the #inspiredmobility campaign.

  1. Employees Must Be Brand Ambassadors

Alicia R. Alston, Vice President of Global Communications at Prudential Financial, Inc., stressed the importance of authenticity when attempting to build a connection with a market. She expressed that creating a legitimate and lasting connection with a market can only occur when the people responsible for implementing a campaign have a clear understanding of both the target market and their respective community. Alston makes the point that “employees be brand ambassadors for us” in regards to how employees should represent their respective companies.

  1. There’s More Than One Type of Marketing

Amber Bullock, Executive VP, Community & Youth Engagement for American Legacy Foundation, has been engaged in what is called counter marketing. American Legacy Foundation has been behind the easily recognized Truth anti-tobacco campaign, aimed at educating and influencing the public by exposing the dangers of using tobacco products. Bullock believes that to be successful in today’s world of communication, the emphasis must be placed on people and not the product.

The hour-long conference was followed by half an hour of question and answer. There was a clear consent amongst the group that the communication landscape is changing and it is important to understand what those changes are in order to connect with any target market. The millennial generation is not only forcing the industry to rethink the concept of multicultural marketing, but marketing in a much broader sense. Ultimately, all marketing is target marketing because the idea of a general market is one that is at best misconceived.

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