The Business Year

Sevil Mikayilova


Hot Off the Presses

Editor-in-Chief, AzerNews


Sevil Mikayilova graduated from the Azerbaijan University of Languages. She worked in the country’s media outlets for 15 years, and held the position of Editor at the Azerbaijan State Radio and Television Broadcasting Company. She was Deputy General Director for International Broadcasting at the Trend News Agency before becoming the Editor-in-Chief at AzerNews.

In our last interview, you said that you were trying to turn AzerNews into a leading source of information in the South Caucasus and even the Middle East. What achievements […]

In our last interview, you said that you were trying to turn AzerNews into a leading source of information in the South Caucasus and even the Middle East. What achievements has the newspaper made in this regard?

It was a challenge for me as an editor, and I am very pleased to have made huge progress in this regard. As a first step, I redesigned the print and online versions, making them more aesthetically pleasing. We have added more relevant content, exciting stories, and analytical articles about the ongoing economic and political developments in the region, as well as exclusive interviews and opinions. I would like in particular to emphasize the new columns, which have more exciting stories. We have also created travel and event sections, taking into account the interests of our readers and business partners. Now, we are receiving a number of letters from around the world about the touristic potential of Azerbaijan. We are partnering with dozens of international companies to render media support to world-scale events. And that does not only cover the South Caucasus and Middle East, but also Europe and Central Asia.

What are you doing to expand your online activity?

Expanding our online activity and strengthening social media connections still remains at the top of our development agenda. The replies, sharing, retweets, and likes that our content receives on popular social networks allow us to say that we are becoming more popular on social networks. That also helps us to get to know and meet the needs of our readers. For example, we know very well that photos of interesting places in Azerbaijan, and in particular the capital Baku, attract much attention. Our articles enjoy popularity not only among our Azerbaijani audience, but we have regular visits from users in different countries, with the top 10 including the US, the UK, Canada, Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France. This is a very important indicator for us. It means that we reach an audience of people around the globe that attach importance to, and are interested in, news and analytical articles from reliable sources on the ongoing developments in the Caspian, Caucasus, and Central Asia. It is no secret that mobile devices are leaving PCs behind in terms of their popularity. People who possess smartphones and tablet computers read news articles online. Over the past few months, we have observed a rise in incoming visits to our website from mobile devices. We will continue working hard on the usability of our website and its mobile version to make it more convenient for our readers to access our articles.

The regions of Azerbaijan are fast gaining an international profile. For example, Gabala was the Capital of Culture for the CIS in 2013. How important are the regions in your news coverage?

Azerbaijan possesses nine out of the 11 climatic zones, which makes it attractive to tourists all year round. Coverage of regional news and places of interest will definitely raise the interest of our foreign readers in the regions. We can see this in the number of e-mails that we are receiving from people desiring to visit the country. Moreover, we have recently begun a travel column, which is designed to guide tourists visiting Azerbaijan. Many Azerbaijani cities are now developing and becoming international centers. You mentioned Gabala, but I would also like to note here another ancient city, Nakhichevan, the central city of Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, which will become the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2018. Our newspaper covers regional events on the national and international stage in the political, business, cultural, sport, and environmental fields, and more. The development of ICT in Azerbaijan has also enabled us to considerably increase the number of our online readers in the regions. Alongside that, the printed version of the AzerNews newspaper has subscribers around the country—it is distributed in Baku and regions by a local company. That is why we have good reason to cover all the regions of the country.



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