The Dream Lives On

April 29, 2017

Dear Reader,

For the past three years the Keghart editorial board was engaged in a project to recruit, train and retain a younger editorial team to take the helm of the website. On three occasions a breakthrough seemed to be close (early 2014, mid-2015 and in October 2016) but for reasons beyond our control these attempts failed. More recently a fourth individual tentatively agreed to take over Keghart’s management but for personal reasons was unable to make a commitment for a start date.

After the remarkable effort of  the website’s readers—“Friends of Keghart”–to contribute to the financial security of the outlet, the board redoubled its efforts to meet the challenge of locating a new team. Concurrently, a not-for-profit entity was proposed. The latter’s primary function was to explore and implement measures that would generate revenues so that the new editorial board could concentrate on its mission and not be burdened and distracted by other functions. A legal process was initiated to register the entity. Technical concerns were also addressed.

April 29, 2017

Dear Reader,

For the past three years the Keghart editorial board was engaged in a project to recruit, train and retain a younger editorial team to take the helm of the website. On three occasions a breakthrough seemed to be close (early 2014, mid-2015 and in October 2016) but for reasons beyond our control these attempts failed. More recently a fourth individual tentatively agreed to take over Keghart’s management but for personal reasons was unable to make a commitment for a start date.

After the remarkable effort of  the website’s readers—“Friends of Keghart”–to contribute to the financial security of the outlet, the board redoubled its efforts to meet the challenge of locating a new team. Concurrently, a not-for-profit entity was proposed. The latter’s primary function was to explore and implement measures that would generate revenues so that the new editorial board could concentrate on its mission and not be burdened and distracted by other functions. A legal process was initiated to register the entity. Technical concerns were also addressed.

Despite these efforts and the sizeable amount of pledged donations there remain significant challenges. So far no individual or group has emerged to conjoin and lead the various elements for a smooth transition from a personal website to a publicly-supported media outlet. The septuagenarians of the present board deserve a break to pursue their personal and financial needs and interests.

The second challenge is even more daunting. We live in market economies which impose a responsibility on every adult to safeguard her/his financial well-being. Even in the best dedication and voluntarism scenario it’s not practical to expect individuals to devote, on a long term basis, a minimum of 50-60 hours per month for the noblest of missions. That’s the least amount of time it takes to edit and publish the bimonthly, not including correspondence with writers and “office work”. Without a broad public support it’s quixotic to engage in a publication and expose it to a perpetual process of fund-raising. It reminds us of Yervant Odian’s “kich muh pogh oughargek” (send a bit of money). Granted, the pledges amount to a respectable figure, but half of what has been pledged will take care of the legal and technical expenses while the remainder can cover eight to ten months of publication costs. What about next year and the year after? There is no guarantee that donations will continue and it’s not prudent or ethical to fall back on the same donors. Launching annual donor campaigns takes time which our skeleton staff does not have.

While the above-described situation is heart-rending, we are confident that there are a good number of individuals who realize the importance and necessity of an independent Armenian media defined as not dependent on personal interests or hostage to political parties, advertising agencies and on conditional hand-outs from foreign interests. We are hopeful that a person or a group will emerge to meet the challenge. We wish them all the best. Meanwhile all efforts by this board will cease. Our lawyer has been already instructed to discontinue the registration process. Regretfully, it’s time to say a final good-bye.

Thankfully,

Keghart Editorial Board

15 comments
  1. Try Armenia as your operations point

    You should look into Armenia as a solution.

    Manpower is there and expenses are much more attractive. I suggest you pick up this conversation with Tigran Harutunyan of Noyan Tapan. Keghart can be anywhere in the world being digital in nature. Contributors are from everywhere in the world.

    Maybe you have looked into this , but if you did not find the right partner , I suggest you try Tigran.

    Best regards,

    Razmik Gharakhanian
    Glendale, CA

  2. The Dream Lives ON
    The dream could turn to reality in Armenia…. Razmik's proposition for looking to Armenia to source a Keghart editor may prove worth considering.      

  3. Continuation of Keghart

    While I share the challenges and predicament you are facing I still believe that it would be a major loss if Keghart as an independent Armenian media ceases to exist. Consideration should be given to change the format and issue it as a quarterly magazine (four issues a year) without providing the possibility for comments etc. which is very time consuming for the editorial panel. We can still finance it. PEOPLE CAN STILL SEND YOU ARTICLES AND YOU DECIDE TO EDIT AND PUBLISH THEM. It is worth trying it.

    Souren Seraydarian

  4. Dzour nsdink shidag khosink

    Dzour nsdink shidak khosink:

    I took it upon myself to ask for the required sum from the Keghart readership, twice, and all that was pledged was a total of approximately $ 20,000, whilst ~$ 60,000 was needed.  Others made other efforts…

    We simply deserve what we (don't) get.

    Tshpakhtapar.

  5. Armenia Keghart Support

    I had raised the issue of manpower with Dikran for Keghart and in fact had also connected with a young mother of two, formerly from Aleppo but settled in Armenia for the past 3 years or so. She recently received her Masters degree in history. She is willing and was looking forward to assume the responsibility for posting the articles and doing such administrative work for a very reasonable fee with western standards. I had conveyed the same to Dikran. There is no shortage of such help in Armenia.

    For all indications there is also no lack of contributors.

    What Keghart needs is a publisher and editor/s. We cannot expect them to be from Armenia as well.

  6. Keghart’s continuation

    I would like to support you but  there are so many Armenian news on line that I'm wondering. Why don't you join  or meld with Armenian Weekly? Noyan Tapan?   I don't know where you are based. Also  it  would be very useful  to join ANCA and be their news publisher.  I receive no news from ANCA, the Armenian/American NGO somewhere in the US with  political commitments.

    I am at the UN in Geneva and  I write mostly in French. If in the States I would have helped you.

    All the best. You can always contact me on the same email address.
     

    Aline D. 

    1. Joining

      Dear Aline,

      The whole point of Keghart is that it is (was) one of the very few INDEPENDENT media.  You bring the example of ANCA.  The ARF is a partner of the mini-Putin regime in place in Armenia.  The ARF, and therefore ANCA, is NOT independent…  just like Armenia, herself.

      Best,

      Berge

  7. Independent Media

    As a wise person once said, "without independent media, you would never know when you were being lied to."

    Just today, it was reported that Turkey banned Wikipedia and Azerbajian banned independent media.

    Perhaps global Armenians need to see our adversaries in a revealing light in order to appreciate the value of independent media. 

    Maybe then, outlets like Keghart can garner the financial support they need and deserve.

    1. At a Loss

      I am at a loss envisioning the  claimed financial insurmountability of Keghart II when for the past nine years it was shouldered by a few.

      It appears that more than finances  has tied down Keghart.

      1. Misconception

        To my understanding Dr. Abrahamian, the publisher was financing all the expenses of Keghart so far. Yes, I wonder, how much should be allocated for a professional publisher/editor producing quality product and devoting 50-60 hrs per month? $2,000.00, 3,000.00 or 4,000.00? May be somebody should get in touch with some of the publishers and get a figure prior to wondering and speculating about real costs.

        As a community we face some misconceptions. Relevant to this mini-discussion is the notion that publishing and editorial work should be free of charge, or receive less than minimum wage.

        The last time I checked a novice with two-years college education who does only posting materials on websites got paid $ 25.00/hr, and that was two years ago.

        1. No Misconception

          Nareg

          There is no misconception but there is lack of clarity for interested readers like me.

          Those who met, would they please list the site maintenance and the administrative tasks and the anticipated costs so that those of us who were not present will formulate an informed opinion.

          Some of the figures that have been quoted will necessitate an accountant whose cost is not figured.

          I will refrain using  the term "independent media but rather say, an open forum in our Armenian reality can only function 'independently' on meager budget but with lots of support. 

          Vahe

  8. “Clarity”

    I would have liked not to take part in this dialogue between Nareg and Vahe. However, when a reader raises "clarity" issues regarding tasks and costs then there is a danger that some readers may think something dubious is afoot. With all due respect, I think Vahe did not contemplate about this possibility.

    Here are some facts.
    Around C$ 20,000.00 has been pledged.
    Most recent quote from a reputable company:
    – Setting up a website comparable to Keghart.com $3,000.00 (optional)
    – Maintenance & hosting of website $ 250.00/month ($3,000.00 / year)
    – Distribution by MailChimp $ 110-125/month ($1,320/year)
    – Registering the new entity $ 4,000.00
    Total:   C$ 11,320.00

    "Granted, the pledges amount to a respectable figure, but half of what has been pledged will take care of the legal and technical expenses while the remainder can cover eight to ten months of publication costs."

    I believe Vahe is suggesting a blog-type forum. He is right. The cost would be close to nothing.

    Respectfully,
    Dikran Abrahamian

    1. Clarifying the” Clarity”

      Dikran,

      Thank your for clarifying my "clarity" comment.

      The other day I let my contact in Armenia know that the expected launch of Keghart.com will not happen anytime soon. As I had noted the $200 Canadian would have gone long way for her in Armenia.

      The blog would be much cheaper of course, but it will not have the appeal and the distinction. Blogging should not be an option to consider for Keghart II.

      Once the Keghart II is set up and registered, its monthly  operating budget will then entail the following:

      _ Maintenance & hosting of website $ 250.00/month. (This expense is likely to increase over time because of the archiving, which has been a unique feature for Keghart.com.)

      _ Distribution by MailChimp $ 110-125/month.

      _ Administrative work (posting the articles with pictures, distributing etc, ) $250 (paid to someone in Armenia)

      _ Reserve for unforeseen expenses $200 

      These add up to $825 per month, say $1000. 

      If Keghart.com, as a grass root, open forum  cannot run at $1000 and less a month, then we might as well put a closure. To raise $1000 per month, we need 50 readers contributing $20 a month.  NY Times charges $15 per month.

      Dzarougian notes that he found once Nikol Aghpalian sending subscription fee to "Pazmaveb"in Venice. When quizzed why is he doing it when he is one of the major contributor to the journal? Aghpalian famously says "If the contributors do not also become its subscribers, this journal will not last".

      Such is the reality and in Keghart II's case, if its the contributors do not also support it financially, Keghart will also not last. Imagine the daunting task of keeping an Armenian printed journal going.

      Vahe

    2. How about registering keghart in Armenia

      Dikran

      At one time I had several domain names registered here in U.S. with the hope of 'cashing" it big! Some domain names were priced at a premium at one time. They all fizzled out and I gave up on them.

      I have no clue as to how does the cyber world works.  Will registering Keghart in Armenia and have it maintained there make it less costly? I dont think it makes any difference whether Keghart is registered and maintained in Canada or Armenia, but the cost may be contained.

      Vahe

      1. Registration

        Quoting from "The Dream Lives on"

        "Concurrently, a not-for-profit entity was proposed. The latter’s primary function was to explore and implement measures that would generate revenues so that the new editorial board could concentrate on its mission and not be burdened and distracted by other functions. A legal process was initiated to register the entity."

        Registration does not refer to the domain.

        Under present socio-political corrupt uninspiring environment, I would not even think about Armenia to register a not-for-profit entity whose function entails financial transactions to support an "independent", yes independent media outlet.

        I have heard that you may register such an organization for $ 500.00 in USA, but I have not explored that venue simply because I would prefer to deal with jurisdictions that I am familiar with. Incidentally, a retainer for $ 1,000.00 is already cashed.

        Dikran

Comments are closed.

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