Voices from the disaster area: local and regional media in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures after ‘3.11’
This article examines local and regional media reporting in Japan following the triple disaster in 2011. Unlike the national newspapers and TV stations whose reporting was accused of downplaying the nuclear disaster, the media of Tohoku took on a more open and grassroots-oriented approach of reporting. According to various reports, local and regional media played an important role in providing crucial information, while they also conveyed the voices of those struggling to overcome the aftermath of disaster. Building upon a series of narrative interviews with Japanese journalists, this study investigates their perceived role in disaster reporting. It reveals that the gap between national and regional media in Japan originates in the conflicts resulting from centralism, but also in the high impact of the journalists’ professional environment. Concerning the local and regional media, three main ‘orientations’ have been reconstructed from the interview data: (1) a supportive approach toward the people affected by the disaster, (2) a strong sense of belonging to the community covered, and (3) a critical distance toward Tokyo politics and media.
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