Sara Khojoyan

Reporter

Reporter

Sara Khojoyan

I was born on April, 16, 1983 in Khanlar, which is in Azerbaijan, where my grandmother was an obstetrician at a maternity hospital. I spent my childhood in Yerevan, but when I went to school at seven my family moved to a village called Hayanist about seven kilometres away.

My parents’ roots are in Azerbaijan. All my grandparents as well as my mother were born in Zaglig, a 100 per cent Armenian populated village in the northwest of Soviet Azerbaijan. My father was born in Khanlar but when I am asked about my origins I always say that I am from Zaglig, a village which has been populated by Armenians for ages.

I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and am now studying for a PhD at Yerevan state university in the faculty of journalism. I started working as a staff reporter for a magazine called City right after I graduated in 2005 and after six months I joined a magazine of the Armenian ministry of finance.

Since October 2006, I have been a part-time staff reporter for ArmeniaNow.com, an online news publication. I have contributed to several international media organisations as well as IWPR.

I believe that I can help bring change for the better through my work. I can focus the attention of official bodies onto particular problems or sometimes encourage them to do their job better.

My work with IWPR in Armenia started in autumn 2008, when I wrote my first article for the Caucasus Reporting Service. Later, Seda Muradyan, the head of the office in Yerevan, asked me to help organise a round table on the topic of one of my articles.

Since then I have written a number of reports for CRS and helped organise round tables, training courses and workshops. In July-August of 2009, I replaced Seda while she was out of Armenia.

I enjoy working with IWPR, because it gives an international focus to my work and lets me report on the problems of my country to a wider audience. Taking part in IWPR training courses has given me additional background understanding of conflict and minority reporting as well as improving my journalistic skills.

I also gained a lot out of exchanging experiences and making new relationships with journalists from other former Soviet countries, especially from the Caucasus. Helping in organising IWPR activities in Armenia allows me to develop my skills in public relations and organisation.

One of the stories that I wrote early in my career makes me especially proud. I carried out a major investigation into misuse of state budget funds that had been designated for things like road-building in Yerevan.

Such reporting is necessary to fight corruption and establish democracy in Armenia and I am really proud that I have contributed in this field. I am also very proud of stories that I have written for an Armenian project that helps poor families in great need.

Writing about them earns money to help the families and it is a great satisfaction that the stories that I wrote have improved the lives of two poor Armenian families.

Being a journalist is now embedded in my life; every morning I wake up thinking about what news there might be in my neighbourhood and that continues for the whole day. For me to be a journalist means to be involved in society, to try to help people, to seek answers to questions for yourself and others.

It is always fresh and lively. Sometimes it is sad and sometimes it is funny to be at the centre of the news, to be involved in interesting events and surrounded by interesting people.

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