This morning’s Asahi reports on a July 10 New York Times online report on the two near-identical photos of the Iranian missile launch; one from AFP showing four missiles in the air, the other from AP showing three in the air and another still on the ground.
Q: Why did it take a full day and-a-half to condense the fairly trivial NYT report—the Washington Post didn’t bother to run a mismatch story—when CNN had already reported later in the day (nearly a full day before Asahi posted its version on its website) a more significant story on the actual substance of the two-day missile launches*?
A: Asahi has a very slow connection on the Internets, and does not subscribe to cable TV.
I take note of this because it reminded me that an American asked me the other day why so much of the stateside news in the Japanese dailies is copied from the U.S. media and I didn’t have a good answer at the time. I see that the U.S. media also cites Japanese media reports from time to time. I also recognize that local reports are useful sources, not only for their content, but also as a social and political force in their own right. Meta-reporting has its own value. But Japanese media have, at least collectively, more resources on the ground in New York and Washington. My guesses:
1) Japanese reporters don’t have the foreign language skills to do interviews.
2) Their overseas assignments are too short to develop the personal contacts that enable them to generate
3) They miss the domestic kasha club system, where the political institutions, bureaucracies, business associations and other institutionalized news sources systematically feed their constituent media representatives. The English-language media, now much of their content conveniently online, are their virtual substitutes.
What do you think?
You know what? I think that the Japanese media can profitably move much of their overseas reporting home side, especially in OECD countries, and put some of the savings—my guesstimate is that a foreign correspondent takes at least two to three times as much corporate resources, financial and otherwise, to maintain and service than a domestic one—to good use by beefing up the original content generation activities in their foreign correspondence bureaus.
Incidentally, as of this morning Tokyo Time, Matt Drudge has a news flash item that I’ve copied below, after the footnote. If true, there’ll an even bigger NYT story later in the day that should have a downward impact on the oil market. Isn’t that the kind of information that online readers would appreciate?
* The CNN does mention the doctored photo, but it’s an appropriately minor point in the story.
** One of the reasons media people read Matt Drudge must be to get these leads so that they can avoid being scooped other media outlets. Then again, some of these leaks may be deliberate, to create a buzz so that their own reports attract more eyeballs and hopefully generate more revenue.
ADD. ...forgot to paste the following...
IRAN MISSILE TEST BLUFF: OLD ROCKETS, BOGUS VIDEO
Fri Jul 11 2008 15:18:02 ET
Many of Iran's claims related to missile tests during "Great Prophet III" war games -- appear to be smoke and mirrors!
The missiles tested DID NOT not have 2,000-kilometer range, the NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report on Saturday.
Iran DID NOT launch a Shahab-3 missile, able to reach Israel.
It was an older missile that was out of production, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE.
And a video showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired -- is actually one missile, filmed from different angles!
NYT's Bill Broad is planning to quote military insiders.