WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America's GivingTuesday media panel, "Breaking Through the Noise: How to Amplify Armenia and Artsakh Through Mainstream and Social Media," featured Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Kurkjian, communications strategist Stephan Pechdimaldji, and social media manager Vivian Zohrabian. The special event, which took place virtually on Tuesday evening, November 30, 2021, was moderated by Assembly Communications Director Taleen Babayan, and analyzed press coverage during last Fall's 44-day Artsakh War, while providing recommendations for the post-war period.
A point of consensus was that the Armenian diaspora should be better prepared in the future regarding the press and the media, as much of the response from the community was reactionary towards journalists and editors. It was recommended that organizations and activists take time now to develop relationships with editorial boards to inform and educate them about the situation in Artsakh. While longtime efforts have been aimed towards shaping public policy, emphasizing media presence and placement should also be a priority for the Armenian community.
The effectiveness of social media as a useful tool to elevate educational, meaningful and authentic content was also discussed. Twitter in particular drives direct communication between decision-makers and the public, and is a space where politicians and celebrities can be tagged to bring more awareness to an issue. The importance of not engaging with bots and reporting them as spam was also noted, as countless Azeri-controlled bots were active on social media, spinning false narratives about the Artsakh War. Nevertheless, social media became an important news source last Fall - as people received on-the-ground updates from Armenia and Artsakh - and also as a direct source of activism, prompting the public to donate, sign petitions, and participate in action alerts.
Overall, the panelists highlighted focusing on more positive stories that are emerging from Armenia and Artsakh. The critical goal, whether via mainstream media or social media, is to strategize ways to tie interesting stories into Armenia and Artsakh, whether it's in relation to topics such as the tech sector, cultural heritage, or the burgeoning wine industry, while continuously posting content to help solidify branding and messaging.
"We value and appreciate the professional insights and knowledge that Stephen, Stephan, and Vivian shared with us during the Assembly's virtual media panel event on GivingTuesday," said Assembly Communications Director Taleen Babayan. "Organizations and individual activists can utilize these key strategies, techniques, and approaches to become well-prepared as a community when engaging with the media and building stronger relationships that will allow us to carve out more of a presence in the future."
It's not too late for a GivingTuesday impact gift! The Armenian Assembly of America is participating in the global GivingTuesday movement with a special Board initiative. Your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar - up to $15,000 - that will help fuel Armenian American advocacy.