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2012年10月16日 (火)

新聞週間 期待に応える紙面を届けたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 16, 2012)
Delivering newspapers that meet readers' expectations
新聞週間 期待に応える紙面を届けたい(10月14日付・読売社説)

"Don't give in! A news article encouraged me." The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association selected this as the main slogan for Newspaper Week, which starts Monday.
 「負けないで 背中を押して くれた記事」。あすから始まる「新聞週間」で、日本新聞協会が選んだ代表標語だ。

Nineteen months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. The Yomiuri Shimbun is continuing to report on reconstruction efforts moving ahead in affected areas and the support extended from around the nation.

One Yomiuri article featured a senior executive of a spinning company in Osaka who regularly visits a farming community where land was blighted by seawater during the tsunami. He gives advice to farmers on how to grow cotton. Another story described a doctor who returned to his hometown following a 13-year absence and has been helping local medical services get back on their feet.

We will make further efforts to improve our news coverage, by reporting on the current situation in affected regions and writing articles that support areas still trying to recover.


Written records

In March this year, Iwate Nippo, a local daily in Iwate Prefecture, started a project featuring people who died in the March 11, 2011, disaster. These stories explore their lives and are accompanied by photos of the subject's faces. Sharing these messages will ensure victims of the disaster are not forgotten and underline the significance of each of their lives.

The Iwate Nippo project uses printed media's special trait of excelling in providing a tangible record.

We live in an era in which the Internet is a source of an immense amount of information. Nevertheless, 89 percent of respondents to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun before Newspaper Week said "newspapers will remain an important source of information and knowledge."

Japan's politicians must tackle mountains of domestic issues, such as dealing with post-disaster reconstruction and clearing up the Fukushima nuclear crisis. On the diplomatic front, this country faces many thorny issues, including soured ties with China over the Senkaku Islands and with South Korea over Takeshima islands.

Newspapers have important roles to fulfill. Are we providing readers with the accurate news reports and responsible editorials they expect? We aspire to provide readers with the best pages possible, while questioning ourselves every day about whether we are meeting this goal.


Getting back to basics

Another key mission for newspapers is to painstakingly expose facts that have been concealed and close in on the truth.

The Yomiuri Shimbun's series of exclusives on the retrial of the criminal case in connection with the 1997 murder of a female Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee won this year's newspaper association award in the editorial category.

The articles revealed that DNA test results showed a former Nepalese defendant who had been given a life sentence in this case had likely been falsely charged. The articles also reported that prosecutors had not shown the defense counsel evidence favorable to the former defendant and had failed to try every means of investigation to find the assailant.

We can say that these articles lifted the lid on the prosecutors' slipshod investigation in which they belittled physical evidence that did not fit their arguments.

However, the former defendant insisted he was innocent ever since his arrest in 1997. Why did we not get to the heart of the problems with the investigation more quickly? Looking back at our earlier coverage of this case leaves a lingering sense of shame.

To exhaustively check whether public authority is being exercised properly: We again confirm that this is the starting tenet of news reporting.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 14, 2012)
(2012年10月14日02時03分  読売新聞)


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