DigiStory Media Conference Becomes a Tradition

DigiStory Media Conference in Yerevan
Lyla Andrews Bashan, USAID/Armenia's Sustainable Development Office Director, addresses the participants of the DigiStory Conference in Yerevan.
Armine Karabekyan, USAID/Armenia

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 23, 2016

On September 23, the Media Initiatives Center launched “Tvapatum 2016” (DigiStory) series of media events, featuring a conference and a contest that highlights journalistic stories produced in the digital environment.

The Tvapatum series is organized by the Media Initiatives Center with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Office in Yerevan. The general sponsor of the event is Beeline Armenia. 

Held for the second consecutive year, Tvapatum Conference allows media professionals and practitioners to meet and speak about the current experience of media content production, new formats and tools, trends and achievements in the international and local arena.

Investigative journalism, conflict coverage, new tools and trends in the media are among the key topics international and local experts will unwrap at Tvapatum 2016 in the Manuscript Museum in Yerevan. Welcoming the participants of the event, Nouneh Sarkissian, Managing Director of Media Initiatives Center, stated: “It is important for the Armenian media sector to feel the pulse of international developments. Even in the digital era, real-life encounters, learning and analyzing the practice of experts from various corners of the world are greatly beneficial.”    

Tvapatum events, which are turning into a local tradition, are held within the framework of the Media for Informed Civic Engagement project, implemented through the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Lyla Andrews Bashan, Director of USAID/Armenia’s Sustainable Development Office, highlighted the support to media development in her opening remarks: “USAID is happy to support this conference because it explores various tools and trends for media, the core purpose of which is to empower citizens with quality content in order to make informed choices,” she said. 

Tvapatum 2016 is also made possible with the support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office in Yerevan, which in close co-operation with the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media, works to promote freedom of expression and media pluralism in Armenia. Barbara Davis, Deputy Head of the Office, noted during the event: “Rapidly developing media technologies have reshaped the ways in which we all are able to express ideas. Regardless of technology, the underlying principles of free media, which include respecting democratic values and professional ethics, remain. Digital storytelling brings all these together, in a new form of journalism.”

In addition to new topics and speakers, Tvapatum 2016 proudly features Beeline Telecommunications Company as the general sponsor of this year’s events.

“Beeline closely follows digital innovation trends and supports the implementation of innovative programs in the country. Times and again I have been convinced that events like these allow participants to advance their knowledge and serve as a unique platform for exchanging experiences. I am sure that the Tvapatum Conference will contribute to the introduction of current best practices, trends and achievements of the international and local media here in Armenia. I am certain that thanks to our, USAID’s and OSCE Yerevan Office’s support the event will turn out to be even more productive,” said Andrey Pyatakhin, Beeline General Director, in his speech. 

The 2016 conference offers a rich agenda to participants thanks to Beeline and the Media Initiatives Center’s long-time partners. Guest speakers this year include: Victoria Romanyuk from StopFake.org (Ukraine); Daniel Turovski from the prominent Meduza.io (Latvia); Dmitri Velikovski, investigative journalist and a contributor to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP); Vasily Gatov, Media Analyst with the University of Southern California; Artyom Galustyan, multimedia producer (Russia); and Oliver Carroll representing The Moscow Times in Great Britain. Along with presentations, international experts will also conduct workshops. Armenian specialists will deliver presentations on noteworthy and current projects based on new technologies.    

The conference will be followed by an award ceremony that will wrap up the “Tvapatum 2016: Stories of Change” media contest. The initiative aims to raise public awareness on decentralization, transparency and accountability, and social-sector policy reforms through recognizing high quality journalism.

The winners will be announced during the award ceremony, which will be held on September 24, 5:00PM, at the Loft Self-Development Center.