KR: We’re eager to find ways of incorporating audio and video into the digital publication, and we are using our newly redesigned website to do more immediate local stories, plus we have a new online gallery, our “Tokonoma,” on our top page. We are looking for people who could help us with website design and technical advice.
While KJ was in transition our Multimedia editor, Lucinda Cowing, built up a huge ongoing following on Facebook, maintaining a focus on the kind of pan-Asian stories that we and our readers are especially interested in. It’s a vastly different media landscape from our early days of literally cutting and pasting up typeset on production sheets.
With the ease of publishing on the rise today, do you think this increases or diminishes the relevance of independent media, both in Asia and the wider world? Further, what advice would you give to aspiring self-publishers of independent media in Asia today?Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
JE: Independent media is now more relevant than ever, as an antidote to the stereotypes often presented in regular mass media. What’s important is depth of coverage, quality of writing, and an ability to see the bigger picture. We see an important role for publications that are not too tightly specialized, that widen readers’ horizons and help show the inter-relatedness of different social or cultural phenomena, rather than narrowing down to focus only on specific issues or areas of interest.
KR: It’s hard to give advice when everyone’s situation is different. You need a business model — even publishing digitally incurs ongoing expenditure that has to be covered somehow — but quality of content is absolutely essential. Our new digital
KJ is still dependent on subscriptions (4,000 yen for four issues), which we think of not so much as sales, but as KJ community support, a kind of crowd-sourcing that enables us to keep on publishing, exploring aspects of Asia that don’t show up in mainstream media — and providing a forum for people with material that’s worth sharing, who might not otherwise reach an audience. We are deeply grateful to people who do support us in this way, by subscribing.
Are there any other big plans for KJ‘s future that you can mention or at least hint about? For that matter, what are some of the hot topics/issues in Asia today that you plan to give special focus to going forward?
JE: Our next issue will include a big feature section on pilgrimage in Asia, past and present. There’s a rather out-of-the-ordinary Food issue on the back-burner, and we have another long-term project underway, gathering in-depth interviews with long-term expats from a variety of countries and backgrounds who have made Japan their home.
We are looking for honest self-reflection on what this experience has meant to those who have created a life here. What have been the challenges, life-changing experiences, regrets, insights… We welcome both interviewers and interviewees to participate in this project.
Additional information, including a sampler of KJ 77, and a free sample issue (KJ 73), is available on KJ’s website. http://kyotojournal.org
See also, KJ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kyoto.journal
Contact: [email protected]