Sara Khojoyan | Institute for War and Peace Reporting

About

Sara Khojoyan

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.

Stories by the author

Lawmaker Lena Nazaryan and Pashinyan's Civil Contract party members on stage in Yerevan's Republic Square. (Photo: Inna Mkhitaryan/4plus)
Sara Khojoyan
17 May 18
Female participation in the protests has not translated into political power.
Sara Khojoyan
29 Oct 12
Public opinion sharply divided, but at least issues are now being talked about openly.
Armenia's health ministry is concerned at the high level of smoking-related disease. (Photo: Inna Mkhitaryan)
Sara Khojoyan
16 Aug 12
Health ministry says it is making inroads, but stronger laws would help.
Renovated airport in Stepanakert. (Photo: Marut Vanyan)
Sara Khojoyan
8 Jun 12
Azerbaijani officials insist Armenian-held entity must not reopen airport, and suggest passenger planes flying on “illegal” route might be shot down.
Volodya Petrosyan shows the damage done by bullets that struck his house in the village of Nerkin Karmiraghbyur. (Photo: Gohar Abrahamyan)
Gayane Mkrtchyan, Sara Khojoyan
18 May 12
Border villagers say life feels like the war never ended.
Giorgy Vanyan of the Caucasus Centre of Peacemaking Initiatives. (Photo: Photolur)
Sara Khojoyan
28 Apr 12
Attempt to build cultural bridges sparks anger, though it’s unclear whether protests were genuine or stage-managed.
This hostel, where Gayane, her husband and eight children live, is typical of the substandard accommodation that many impoverished Armenians have to make do with. (Photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
Sara Khojoyan
5 Apr 12
Benefits fail to provide safety-net for all vulnerable families, UN officer says.
Armenian prime minister Tigran Sargsyan has promised to crack down on tax evasion. (Photo: Armenian government press service)
Sara Khojoyan
11 Nov 11
Sceptics question administration’s will to take on big fish who don’t pay all their taxes.
Sara Khojoyan
10 Jul 11
Corruption and tax evasion have increased inequality.
Protests in Yerevan against proposed changes to maternity pay, December 2010. (Photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
Arpi Makhsudyan, Sara Khojoyan
27 May 11
Many believe NGOs are the real area where lobbying for policy changes is effective.

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