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Journalism during National Crisis: Reporting on the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
- Martin Fackler (Tokyo Bureau Chief, The New York Times)
- Richard Lloyd Parry (Asia Editor, The Times of London, Tokyo)
In the immediate aftermath of the 3.11 Great East Japan earthquake, the world turned its attention to Japan, as the coastline of Tohoku lay in ruins from a massive tsunami, which was soon followed by an unprecedented nuclear crisis in Fukushima. While attention first focused on the devastating effects of the tsunami, the nuclear crisis soon brought the scrutiny of the foreign media, displacing the tsunami as a focus of international concern. In the mainsteam Japanese media the nuclear crisis was initially downplayed, echoing the platitudes of assurance proffered by TEPCO, while emerging social media, the international tabloid press and the blogosphere characterized the crisis in the most dramatic of terms.
In contrast to these divergent views, Martin Fackler, the Tokyo Bureau Chief of The New York Times and Richard Lloyd Parry, the Asia Editor of The Times (of London) utilized their considerable experience in Japan as senior reporters for the “papers of record” for their respective countries to provide analysis of these events with a nuanced understanding of the cultural context in which they developed. From the first day of the 3.11 disasters these reporters provided analysis of the profound impact of the tsunami on Japan and, as the nuclear crisis unfolded, their reporting uncovered the institutional interests that contributed to the nuclear disaster, providing a counterpoint to the more conservative Japanese press.
This event will feature these distinguished reporters, who will discuss their views of media coverage of these conjoined disasters, and relate their experiences as reporters at the center of these historic series of events.
Tokyo Bureau Chief, The New York Times
Martin Fackler is the Tokyo bureau chief for the New York Times, covering Japan and the Korean peninsula. A native of Iowa who grew up in Georgia, he was first captivated by Asia more than 20 years ago when he spent his sophomore year in college studying Mandarin and classical Chinese at Taiwan’s Tunghai University. A chance to study Japanese at Keio University in Tokyo led him to Japan, where he later did graduate work in economics at the University of Tokyo. He has Masters degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana and in East Asian history from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to the New York Times, he has also worked in Tokyo for the Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Associated Press and Bloomberg News. He has also worked for the AP in New York, Beijing and Shanghai. He joined The New York Times in 2005, working first as Tokyo business correspondent before assuming his current position in 2009. In 2012, Martin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for his and his colleagues’ investigative stories on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that the prize committee said offered a “powerful exploration of serious mistakes concealed by authorities in Japan.” He is the author (in Japanese) of “Credibility Lost: The Crisis in Japanese Newspaper Journalism after Fukushima,” a critical look at Japanese media coverage of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Richard Lloyd Parry
Asia Editor, The Times of London, Tokyo
Richard Lloyd Parry was born in Southport, Merseyside in 1969, and educated at Oxford University. After graduation, he worked for five years as a freelance journalist, and since 1995 has lived in Tokyo as a foreign correspondent, first for The Independent and now The Times. He has reported from twenty-seven countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Macedonia. In recent years, he has covered the war in Iraq, the crisis in North Korea, and the Japanese tsunami and nuclear crisis. In 2005, he was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year in the UK’s What The Papers Say Awards.
He has also contributed to the London Review of Books, Granta and the New York Times Magazine. His books include In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos (Cape 2005), an account of the violence in Indonesia in the late 1990s.