Collaborative journalism is on the rise. Collaboration, or partnership, rather than competition, is increasingly seen as a viable way to enhance media’s news gathering and dissemination capabilities in the U.S. and around the world. This paper looks at recent works and achievements of collaboration among the local news media in the U.S., together with their potential and challenges.The backdrop is the growth of digital platforms that has taken away media’s gatekeeper role, weakened its power of dissemination, eroded their capabilities and trust. This has created what a Lenfest Institute report called ‘the News Jungle’ where people feel they are flooded with information. Malicious actors are taking advantage of this situation, spreading disinformation and misinformation, to sow social confusion and divisions. In this environment, many are finding it difficult to differentiate facts from fake, not knowing what to believe, and some are opting to believe what they want to believe. The society as a whole is losing its ability to agree on shared facts, the starting point for all discussions to address social issues.Against this backdrop, collaborative journalism can be seen as a part of ongoing efforts to overcome the crisis confronting not only the media but also democracy itself. This paper will present the characteristics of various local media collaboration ventures in the U.S. — how diverse news media sharing values and standards, are working for public interests such as accountability reporting, solution journalism, giving voice to the community, and bridging social divides. The report is based on the author’s field research conducted in the U.S. in 2018 as well as a presentation made at the NHK BUNKEN FORUM in March 2019.
The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute has been studying the potential of the survey method“ postal-request and web-collection method (hereinafter called “web method”) that sends survey request by mail to respondents randomly selected from the Basic Resident Registers and asks them to respond online via website or app. In 2016, the web method was experimentally incorporated in “The Rating Survey on Young Children’s TV Viewing” that had been conducted annually since 1996 (except for 2004) only by mail survey method. The 2018 survey was the third survey using web method, whose response rate was 56.1%, which turned out to be higher than that of the mail method (53.1%). Our research team held a workshop at the NHK BUNKEN FORUM 2019 and reported the web survey project of “The Rating Survey on Young Children’s TV Viewing”, which was followed by a roundtable discussion on measures to sustain and improve response rates and the potential of public opinion surveys that collect responses via web browser or survey app. The floor showed a keen interest in field research of web method and the tendencies of survey data. The guest speaker, Yasushi Sato (Nikkei Research Inc.) said it was significant that the web method could access people whose responses had not been collected by conventional mail method and pointed out it would be imperative to further analyze the factors contributing to the difference in survey results of web and mail methods.
This paper reports the results of the November 2018 Survey on Media Use (nationwide survey of men and women aged 16 and over, responses from 2,264 persons) conducted by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute. Major findings are as follows.(1) 4K/8K broadcasts: The recognition rates have increased from the previous year; from 76% to 83% for 4K and 55% to 70% for 8K. Meanwhile, those who possess devices compatible with new 4K satellite broadcasting remained at 2%. Seventy percent of people not possessing such devices resounded that were unwilling to do so, and the most-cited reason for that was “conventional terrestrial or satellite broadcasts are enough.” (2) Simultaneous online distribution of broadcast programs: both the recognition rate and the proportion of those willing to use the services were around 40%, and, for all age groups of men in their 50s and under as well as women aged 29 and under, the figures reached almost 50%. Among those willing to use the services, a large proportion of people aged 59 and under watch television for a short time, which suggests that the simultaneous online distribution of broadcast programs will be well-accepted by light TV users. (3) Video streaming services: while YouTube users accounted for more than 50%, largely outstripping others, some other services such as Amazon Prime Video (8%) and TVer (5%) have increased the figures from the previous year. Likewise, fee-based streaming services have gained more subscribers (7% to 14%), and those who are “considering subscribing” or “taking a wait-and-see attitude” have also grown. Meanwhile, around 50% had “no intention to subscribe,” showing no change from the previous year. The report also includes “television connected to the internet” and “trust in the media and usage of news site apps.”
The “Research on TV Producers” series that started seven years ago focused on individuals involved in TV productions and explored their internal process of making a string of distinct programs. This fiscal year, the series re-opens with a new title “Research on TV Producers NEO,” targeting working TV personnel to delve into their ways of life in a more organic manner, taking a closer look at their actual production sites, and through livery conversations with them, which we aim to make as candid as possible, and involving their senior colleagues or staff members who helped their productions, while conducting analysis of the programs just as we did in the former series. This fiscal year will be dedicated to producers who have their focuses fixed on a locality and have been weaving programs within the climate and the history of each area. Part I of the series features Takeshi Yoshizaki in two installments. Yoshizaki, Chief Director of NHK, aged 58, has been making programs on Minamata over 28 years. The first chapter for the July issue follows how Yoshizaki, who started his carrier at NHK in 1989 and assigned to Kumamoto—his hometown, rapidly became obsessed with Minamata, triggered by a coincidental encounter with fetal Minamata disease patients through work. Yoshizaki recalls that he had no interest in Minamata back then, which was mere history for him, but he realized as he stepped deeper in the area that a bunch of problems were yet to be solved. Since then, Yoshizaki has long been committed to Minamata. Twenty-five-year-old Yoshizaki got hooked on Minamata three years after he joined NHK. How was it started? Why? Who encouraged him to go forward? To unravel the mystery, the author deciphers three programs made by a young Yoshizaki, including Shashin no naka no Minamata (Minamata in photos) that follows the process of holding an exhibition of photos taken by a fetal Minamoto disease patient.
The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute is a member of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), which carried out the “2016 Role of Government” survey. This paper compares survey results from 35 countries/regions and reports the positioning of the Japanese expectations on the government roles in comparison with other places of the world. The survey asks respondents about government’s responsibility in various areas. 53% of the Japanese said it is the “government’s responsibility” to “provide a decent standard of living for the unemployed,” and 67% said so for “give financial help to university students from low-income families.” Both figures are relatively low among surveyed countries. Meanwhile, those who said so for “keep price under control” account for nearly 90%, which is in the top one third of the surveyed nations. Compared to other nations, the Japanese tend to place higher expectations for the government on economic matters than in other fields. Regarding the attitudes towards government spending, 46% of the Japanese said that the government should spend more on “old age pensions,” which is lower than in other countries. People who would like to see more government spending on “the military and defense” increased in many countries including Japan. With the world experiencing frequent terror attacks that shake social security, tolerance for tapping of telephone conversations by the police was surveyed on the supposition that the government suspected that a terrorist act was about to happen. In Japan those who think the authorities should “have the right to do so” increased from 47% in 2006 to 59% while in France, which had suffered a series of terror attacks by Islamic extremists, the figure rose from 77% to 91%.
This paper discusses prospects for wider use of broadcast archives (audio and visual materials of past programs and news reports stored by broadcasters), taking the “NHK Reminiscence Therapy Library” (hereinafter “the Library”) as an example. The first chapter outlines reminiscence therapy, which is a type of psychological treatment for dementia patients, and the Library that houses archived television footage from the past as a tool for recalling memories. The second chapter reports how people with dementia view the videos from the Library and talk about their memories together at elderly care facilities and an example of how the Library is used in courses at a nursing faculties of universities, which shows the Library served as an instrument for raising QOL of people with dementia and an learning tool for care workers at facilities and nursing students. The third chapter tracks the development of the Library footage production and extracts key points and issues, such as “reduce narrations to make the most out of real sounds in the footage,” so that archived footage will become easier to use. The forth chapter concludes the paper by underlining the significance of human resources development and collaboration with experts from other fields than broadcasting.