Mainichi will ‘severely punish’ employees who contributed to WaiWai column

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    The first notice about the shutdown of Mainichi’s WaiWai column has been updated with a lot more information and an apology to readers. Here is an excerpt about the measures Mainichi is now taking:

    Following criticism of WaiWai in late May, we decided there was a problem with listing the stories on the Mainichi Daily News site, even though they were transcriptions of articles that had appeared in magazines published in Japan. Stories were withdrawn from the site and we halted access to problematic archived stories. We also asked search engines to prevent past WaiWai stories from being displayed.

    We then changed WaiWai’s editorial policy and drastically altered the standards used in story selection. However, there were problems with how past stories had been presented, so to avoid similar criticism from arising, we decided that we needed to come up with a sound editorial structure. This led to a fundamental re-think about WaiWai and on June 21, the decision was made to cease publishing the corner. On the Mainichi Daily News site, we listed the following notice: Some readers pointed out that various articles published in the WaiWai column were inappropriate content for the Mainichi Daily News. We respond to this criticism by halting publication of this column.

    While explaining the process in both Japanese and English and apologizing, the Mainichi is poised to severely punish the head of the Digital Media Division, which is responsible for overseeing the site, the manager responsible for the corner and the editor involved with the stories.

    Mainichi Daily News, and its publisher the Mainichi Newspapers Co., sincerely accepts readers criticism and will work to provide, edit and publish reliable information.

    The longer statement was probably a response to 2-channelers and Japanese bloggers that were unsatisfied with Mainichi’s decision to pull the column without an apology. They had been specifically targeting editor Ryan Connell for some time, and many of them wanted him to apologize and face punishment. I suppose it’s okay for Mainichi to apologize after offending so many of its Japanese readers, but is it really necessary for Mainichi to severely punish the three individuals directly responsible for the WaiWai column?

    Are we to believe that the rest of Mainichi’s management was unaware of the popular English language column, which had been appearing for years on Mainichi’s English site? Will the punishments actually lead to improvements in Mainichi’s journalism? Or are they just aiming to satisfy the internet mob by throwing a few employees under the bus?


    note: Several hours ago, close to 80% of readers opposed severe punishment. We’ve since been linked by 2-channel, and the results have predictably changed.

    [hat tip to Julián Ortega Martínez]

    Update 2: Kyodo news has details on the punishments. An unnamed reporter has been suspended for 3 months and four executives have been reprimanded.

    Update 3: Yet another update of the waiwai page!

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