Hi Blog. Weekend Tangent. It’s the end of an era: the demise of the Asahi Evening News. This means one less daily media outlet covering domestic Japanese news in English. And one less voice coming from and covering the NJ community in Japan.
Consider what happened to the alternatives this past decade: the Mainichi Daily News went the way of the dodo some time ago. The Daily Yomiuri still exists, but essentially offers translations of its articles of right-wing bent, mostly avoiding criticism of Japan — and they have severely cut back on their full-time NJ staff anyway (they have more translators than actual NJ reporters, and they are being steadily replaced by mere proofreaders).
Now it’s the Asahi’s turn. You might say that this is the natural outcome of the drop in print media revenues. But I think the Asahi had this in mind all along. Not only did they engage in union-busting activities this past decade (successfully — they axed lots of full-time NJ journalists), but they also isolated (I tried more than once to contact a few NJ reporters who had bylines in the paper through the Asahi switchboard; switchboard said they had no actual AEN division to connect to) and bled their English division so dry that someday there would be no other alternative but to get rid of it. And next month that’s what they’ll be doing.
Last man standing (in English) is the Japan Times. And Kyodo News (as if there’s any comparison, as they also have few, if any, full-time NJ reporters). Long may they run.
Japan Times, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Asahi to end English insert in IHT on Feb. 28
By MINORU MATSUTANI, Staff writer
The Asahi Shimbun Co. will stop printing on Feb. 28 its English section that currently occupies the last four pages of the International Herald Tribune’s Japan edition.
The Asahi Shimbun’s English news will only be available on its website as well as on Apple Inc.’s iPad and Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle services, the company said Tuesday. The IHT will be distributed without the Asahi section starting March 1…
The Asahi went on to say it doesn’t plan to stop providing news in English, but made the strategic decision to end the printed version to strengthen operations in delivering news to international readers.
Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101208a6.html