Media News - Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A group of journalists and volunteers are up against the challenge of developing a fledging news outlet into a sustainable business in a town where the devastation from last year's tsunami forced a decades-old local newspaper to cease publication. The group, based in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, is sending out news online via Facebook and Twitter, and printed 5,000 copies of the first issue of the free new monthly on Saturday. But the group, NewsLab Otsuchi, formed in July to publish the new Otsuchi Mirai Shimbun (Otsuchi Future Newspaper), hasn't been able to secure sufficient editing equipment and funds needed to operate. The Japan Center of Education for Journalist, which is leading the project, said NewsLab Otsuchi has secured more than ¥1.5 million in online donations but said it is uncertain whether that will be enough for it to afford the rent for its newsroom and pay salaries. Otsuchi, a town set along the Pacific Ocean in northeast Iwate, lost about 1,230 people, roughly 10 percent of its population, to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The tsunami also deprived the town of the Iwate Tokai Shimbun, which had served as the region's major newspaper since 1948. Two reporters died and its printing press was swept away by the massive waves. (Japan Times)
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