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Japan Media Review   printer-friendly-version
Program: Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access
Award Number: P337A020007
Grant Period: 10/01/2002 - 09/30/2006
World Area: East Asia
2002:  $195,000
2003:  $195,000
2004:  $195,000
Total:  $585,000
Institution: University of Southern California
Project Director: Stanley Rosen
Annenberg School for Communication, 3502 Watt Way
Los Angeles, California 90089-0281
Tel: 2137409083
Fax: 2127403772
Email: rosen@usc.edu
The University of Southern California's (USC) Online Journalism Program (OJR), in partnership with USC's East Asian Studies Center and the Center for Global Communication at the International University of Japan, has developed and launched an English-language Website that examines developments in Japan in Online Journalism and Information/ Communications technologies.

Japan Media Review (www.japanmediareview.com) monitors and collects relevant data from Japan relating to electronic media and broadband, wireless and Internet communications technology. This site's most unique feature is its ongoing publication of up-to-date, in-depth articles written by freelance writers -- both Japanese journalists and Western journalists who cover these topics. Japan Media Review also provides a regularly updated Web Log linking to publications on the Internet; serves as a venue for scholars to publish or republish articles about Japan's media; and includes online discussion forums, archives, and collections of data and background material on the subject matter. Japan Media Review builds on and extends the Online Journalism Review (www.ojr.org), which was started by USC's Annenberg School for Communication in March, 1998. Since then, OJR, with the help of the Ford Foundation, has grown steadily as a specialized Web site with a global focus on online journalism and electronic publishing. It now has about 50,000 unique visitors per week, as well as an e-mail list of more than 5,000 subscribers. Japan Media Review is closely linked to OJR, and OJR readers -- including journalism students, educators, and communications scholars have provided and enthusiastic base of readers for the new Web site. The Center for Global Communications also runs a substantial Web site in Japan, the Global Communications (GLOCOM) Platform for Japan (www.glocom.org), which provides a forum for Japan's opinion leaders to communicate in English with their counterparts in the international community. Japan Media Review is also prominently tied to the GLOCOM Platform.

Need and Significance: Many factors once worked against the growth of online infrastructure and services in Japan. But starting in the mid-1990s, the Japanese government and communications industry tore down regulatory barriers and promoted the growth of fiber, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Community Antenna Television (CATV), wireless, next-generation mobile networks, satellites and other delivery paths. As a result, personal computer sales soared. By 2000, Japan had become a digitized nation with Internet penetration rates equivalent to the United Kingdom and greater than Europe. This surge in Internet traffic, both online and wireless, led to rapid changes in the media environment in Japan. All of the major media outlets now produce some form of electronic information, news and services, and many of these products are also in English. Much of this rapid development has occurred with relatively little scrutiny by Western scholars and journalists. Filling that void is the goal of Japan Media Review. Understanding the media in Japan leads to understanding an important part of Japanese society. This Web site is setting out to help build a body of content on this topic from which scholars, students, media analysts and others can draw. Globalization makes it imperative that areas of rapid economic growth and innovation, such as the information/communications scene in Japan, receive close attention. What happens in the Japanese media environment could affect U.S. technology and the U.S. domestic economy, as well as the future of news and information delivery systems worldwide. The experience in Japan could lead to great innovation; it could also introduce intense competition. Similarly, Japanese information technology and media markets represent a great opportunity for U.S. trade.

Audience: More information on this topic needs to be shared between the two countries. The U.S. audience needs greater access to information/communications developments in Japan. Much of the information that now exists is in Japanese or is not widely published at all. Western and Japanese publications cover the media environment and electronic publishing developments in Japan, as do several Web sites, but much of this coverage is delayed and written for U.S. or U.K. business readers. It can also be expensive to acquire. Japan Media Review addresses this problem with immediately accessible and constantly updated material that is also authoritative and comprehensive; it thus functions as a niche Web site with significant depth in coverage of its subject. Moreover, it is freely accessible to its users with no fees, subscription or other charges. The content developed for Japan Media Review is designed to serve a broad audience within the United States. Not only professionals in the information technology industry, electronic publishers, and journalists, but also educators and researchers who study East Asia and Japan, Communications and Computer Science scholars, and the academic community in general. Japan Media Review will be valuable to anyone who follows the latest developments in Japan, including economists, people in government and members of professional and trade organizations.

Project Design: The three-year Japan Media Review project is led by USC faculty Lawrence Pryor (director of the Online Journalism Program and assistant professor of journalism in the Annenberg School) and Gordon M. Berger (director of the East Asian Studies Center and professor of Japanese History in USC College), joined by Takahiro Miyao in Japan (senior research fellow at the Center for Global Communications with faculty appointments at both the International University of Japan and USC). The editor of Japan Media Review is USC lecturer and veteran journalist Michelle Nicolosi.
Japan Media Review also draws from a pool of Japanese-speaking graduate students in the Annenberg School and from across the university, who work as Web log writers and sub-editors. Two student editor/writers have been trained to survey the Japanese media, professional literature, and government materials to write the Web logs and make relevant links.

In addition to providing day-to-day supervision of Japan Media Review operations, Annenberg's Online Journalism Program staff, in consultation with the East Asian Studies Center and the Center for Global Communications, contribute story ideas and review proposals for original articles, with the aim of publishing at least one substantive story each week. Japan Media Review editor Michelle Nicolosi and lead project director Larry Pryor, together with the other senior editors of the Annenberg School's Online Journalism Program, are responsible for day-to-day editorial content. But as project partners, USC's East Asian Studies Center and the Center for Global Communications in Japan contribute to oversight, evaluation, and by providing feedback to Japan Media Review editorial staff.

As traffic expands and interest grows, other sources of revenue from foundations and other non-profit organizations will be found to expand the site. T he Annenberg development staff will assist in finding these sources. The goal is to make the site financially self-sufficient after the third year.

Conclusion: Japan Media Review provides a valuable source of information that cannot be found elsewhere and benefits many constituencies in the United States and elsewhere. Japan is a major source of innovation in electronic journalism and information/communications technology. The body of knowledge on this topic deserves to be expanded and made widely available in English.
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