Saturday, October 25, 2008

Japanese Newspapers Follow Demographics

In Japan's Papers, Doomed but Going Strong, Washington Post's Blaine Harden does a competent job of describing how closely the state and fate of the five major dailies in Japan are tied to demographics. The gist of his article is that Japanese dailies are doing better than their U.S. counterparts because they benefit from the growing number of older people, who prefer to get their news from the print versions, in contrast to younger generations, who tend to rely on the Internet. A couple of elements that help maintain their grip on their readership are their highly developed home-delivery networks and their refusal (with the notable exception of fifth-place Sankei, now affiliated with MSN) to put anything more than a fraction of their material online.

Even more enviable for Mr. Blaine must be the following:
A national survey this month by the Yomiuri newspaper found that 85 percent of those questioned said they trust newspaper reporting.

About 20 percent of U.S. readers believe all or most of what they read in daily papers, according to a 2007 "State of the News Media" report issued by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
There’s obviously more to the print media than the five major dailies. (For starters, the Tokyo Shinbun group and other local newspaper groups, and the sports/entertainment and/or general purpose tabloids.) But this article is a good place for starters. It probably helps to write about something you know and understand.

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