DW reference about Tavush media reporter Ester Zakaryan

Ester Zakaryan moved to Armenia’s remote Tavush region four years ago. She’s a young woman who had previously lived in the country’s capital city of Yerevan.
Usually, it’s the other way around: Armenian youth are drawn toward city life, leaving their small towns, villages and hamlets behind.

According to Ester, life in the village is no less interesting than in Yerevan and full of stories. She was disappointed by how the region is frequently portrayed in the media, she said, focusing exclusively on the fact that it is located close to the border with Azerbaijan but omitting almost every other aspect of living here.

This is what got her to start relating the stories herself, taking part in a journalism competition and eventually becoming a reporter for Tavush Media, a regional media that has formed a network of young reporters.

Tavush Media is a regional partner of DW Akademie in Armenia. It provides young reporters like Ester Zakaryan with a platform where they can publish articles, photo reports, and human-centered stories. The reporters are focusing on the lives of ordinary people in border villages, the challenges and the problems their communities are faced with.

In fact, Ester is doing all her reporting on her phone. Mobile journalism presents opportunities to create content on the go and in remote locations. Now, everyone can tell a story about an interesting person living in their village, about a neighbor who has returned from a work abroad, about a night spent in a bomb shelter or about a summer spent working in summer pastures.

This de-centralized community journalism is contributing to closing an information divide in the Armenian media system: Those living in Yerevan only have very little access to reporting from the remote and rural parts of the country. Unless they really dig for and find information, a person living in the capital might only ever hear of a village if a government official visits there. But life in the city and the small villages is fundamentally different; relaying both – multifaceted – realities is vital for dialogue.