Korean Citizen Journalism Network Starts in Japan Today
Monday, August 28, 2006 Posted: 02:25 PM JST
The Korean citizen journalism news site OhmyNews –part blog, part professional news agency– launches OhmyNews Japan today. Close to three quarters of the articles on the Korean site are produced by some 40,000 "citizen reporters".
OhmyNews Japan has been recruiting citizen reporters since last month. According to the company, about 1,000 citizen reporters have already joined OhmyNews Japan. It plans to recruit 5,000 citizen reporters by the end of this year and 40,000 within two years.
Well known journalist Shuntaro Torigoe (66), an award-winning journalist at TV Asahi and other stations, is the chief editor of OhmyNews Japan.
Started in South Korea in 2000 with the slogan "every citizen is a reporter", OhmyNews is credited with several major scoops in South Korea. However, the mainstream press has criticized it for bias in some of its reporting.
Although Korea and Japan share some cultural aspects, it will be the differences that will decide if OhmyNews Japan can be successful. According to Japundit, chief editor Torigoe sees 3 barriers:
1) Attitude to Politics
In Korea, many citizens are very involved in politics often voicing their opinions and protests.
In Japan politics is often seen as a horse race. Many people are content with current Prime Minister Koizumi. Those who are not are not very vocal.
2) Perception Towards Mainstream Media
Many Koreans mistrust the mainstream media whereas many Japanese regard the Japanese mainstream media quite highly.
3) Cultural Differences
Many Japanese are not comfortable expressing themselves or getting into heated confrontational discussions.
OhmyNews received investment funds of USD10 million from Softbank, led by CEO Masayoshi Son, last February. It established a branch in Tokyo and launched OhmyNews Japan with USD 5 million of these funds. The site currently has 22 employees, including 10 staff reporters. The first issue of OhmyNews Japan published about 20 articles written by citizen reporters.
Keywords: national_news internet_news
* * *