Friday, November 04, 2011

The Latest On Olympus In The Japanese Media

For those who follow these kind of things, Peter Cave (whom I assume is the Dr. Peter Cave of the University of Manchester) and I have been going back and forth on NHK's treatment of the Olympus scandal.

Well, NHK recut its report of last night (ja - warning: time sensitive) for rebroadcast as a part of this morning's telecast, coming this time as close as it has to calling out Olympus for having engaged in multiple instances of questionable M&A practices and covering the matter up with cursory reports on the company's actions.

This is a huge improvement over the silence that has reigned on what looks more and more like a criminal enterprise masquerading as an internationally recognized camera and endoscope brand.

Still, the mainline non-economic Japanese news media should be ashamed that it is wading into this mud puddle a week and a half after non-Japan media blew the story wide open, complete with the names of the likely perpetrators.

The Shukan Daiyamondo's online version agrees (ja) with my initial assessment on the Japanese news media's coverage of the Olympus scandal, asking whether or not the domestic news media can be accused of just staring up at the sky.

5 comments:

Janne Morén said...

Um, non-economic media should care about economic news why, exactly? Until or unless it becomes a criminal case there's really no reason for much media to write about this, any more than non-science sections would have much reason to write about the recent Stapel case. And why should they?

As a point of reference, Swedens Dagens Nyheter — largest paper, firmly centrist and quite good at covering world news — has exactly one piece on Olympus so far. It's exactly the same kind of coverage most mainstream papers have had so far, with the new CEO getting sacked after alleging irregular business practices.

Until there is something definite other than sloppy business practices this simply isn't mainstream news.

Janne Morén said...

Edit: There's a total of three notices in DN. All three short — "Sacked CEO claims irregular business practices. Olympus chairman refutes accusation" — all three sourced by a wire service and all three published in the economy section.

MTC said...

Herr Morén -

The reason the non-economic news media should have been all over the Olympus story is that they went bananas over the much smaller and banal Daio Paper scandal. The coverage was simply not commensurate.

Janne Morén said...

It wasn't commensurate if you consider the economic and business factors. But as you elued to in an earlier comment, it's a very telegenic affair, with good guys and bad, rockstar looks, wine, women and song, life in the fast lane-style elements aplenty.

You can — and should — say the same for any kind of celebrity-connected or sensationalist news events, but at the same time, it _is_ news that fascinates a lot of people. Out-of-work layabout overdoses on pain medication is not news. Michael Jackson dies, is.

Was it right to blow up that case so much? Depends of if you file it under "business" or "human interest"; and of course, on what public profile each and every news organization wants to have. And the one profile they want more than any other is "Newspaper/station with enough of a paying audience that we'll survive another year".

We, collectively, get the news we deserve.

Anonymous said...

"Still, the mainline non-economic Japanese news media should be ashamed that it is wading into this mud puddle a week and a half after non-Japan media blew the story wide open, complete with the names of the likely perpetrators."

Why?We got all the concrete back up just today.

"they went bananas over the much smaller and banal Daio Paper scandal."

First of all,Daio paper scandal isn't banal.It's fourth largest paper company in the country and also supplier of the paper to the newspaper industries.
Secondly,the case was far more legitimate scandal for the company had sued the former chairman.

As for Olympus,all we had were series of suspicious activities and allegations from runaway gaijin ex-CEO who wouldn't show up infront of Japanese.
The so-called non-Japan medias probably won't write off these sensationalist stories without back up if Olympus wasn't a Japanese company.

Ofcourse,the story is different had the ex-CEO left the company with confidential documents that prove his point.(FT reporter might have seen that before that extensive coverage)That may explain his rather early departure without contacting Japanese authority(or media).

FYI,NHK has been covering this story since the day one just as any other major Japanese media outlet.Check the NHK online or Nikkei Telecon if you doubt.