BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
This week we say goodbye to Asbarez English Assistant Editor Allen Yekikian, who is ending his more than three-year tenure at Asbarez. Allen will be moving on to become the social media director at Operation HOPE, the nation’s leading nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization with a mission to eradicate poverty.
Allen joined Asbarez as an intern and soon was brought on as a full-time member of the English Section at a time when that department was on the cusp of changing the way we look at the Armenian press.
Soon, in addition to his daily editorial duties, Allen took on the responsibility to upgrade and enhance our online presence and to take advantage of emerging technologies and social media to promote Armenian news not just to an audience in Southern California, but also throughout the world.
After all, Asbarez was the first Armenian publication to become a presence online by introducing its Web site in 1997. Ten years later when Allen joined the staff, Asbarez had a lot of catching up to do and he was ready for the task.
Through hard work, dedication, trial and error, but most important an unwavering commitment, Allen helped transform our online assets into a coveted destination for Armenian news, views and opinion on the Web. During this time and despite often insurmountable obstacles in lack of resources—human, financial and technological—we launched our Asbarez Post newsletter, which now reaches thousands of readers on a daily basis with up-to-the-minute news and fresh perspectives on events shaping our history. Our revamped Web site also engages our readers to become part of the process. This effort also brought Asbarez into the world of social media, where regular updates on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube connected our readers to the world of Armenian news. In the coming weeks, Asbarez will unveil its mobile application, “app,” providing yet another avenue through which readers can stay connected to Asbarez.
Allen’s role in these advancements is unmistakable and it comes from his personal vision and understanding of Asbarez’s 102-year-old legacy of continuously reinventing itself to cater to its most important facet—the readers.
Allen’s parting words were encouraging. He said that his experience at Asbarez and his activism within the Armenian Youth Federation have shaped him as a person and provided him a stepping stone for professional advancement and success. His message to young Armenian-Americans is that working within our Armenian institutions is truly an unmatched experience that prepares one for the challenges of the world.
On a personal note, Allen has challenged me to stay informed about the constantly-evolving world of technology and social media and to perform better, as an editor, who is tasked with shaping opinion and informing readers as we shepherd our newspaper into the future and forefront of Armenian history.
We wish him good luck in his future endeavors and are confident that his ties with Asbarez will continue to enhance our publication. Goodbye and Good Luck!