Sunday, April 17, 2011

#Japan #Earthquake: They Published Handwritten Newspapers

Ishinomaki Hibi Shinbun is an old, local evening paper that circulates in Ishinomaki, Higashi Matsuyama, and Onagawa. After the March 11 earthquake, for 6 days to inform the earthquake/tsunami survivors of Ishinomaki and the surrounding areas, they literally "wrote" the newspaper. There was no power, and 6 reporters and 3 writers used the felt pens and newsreel that survived tsunami to write the stories using flashlights as a light source.

7 of these "newspapers" are going to Washington DC's Newseum as part of the permanent collection.

From Newseum announcement (4/12/2011):

When the worst earthquake in Japan's history and the subsequent tsunami knocked out all power in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, editors at the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun, the city's daily newspaper, printed news of the disaster the only way they could: by pen and paper.

For six consecutive days after the twin disasters, reporters used flashlights and marker pens to write their stories on poster-size paper and posted the "newspapers" at the entrances of relief centers around the city. Six staff members collected stories, while three spent an hour and a half each day writing the newspapers by hand.

The Newseum has acquired seven of the originals for its permanent collection of historic newspapers, some of which will be featured in a future exhibit in the Time Warner World News Gallery. The newspapers are a powerful testament to the timeless human need to know and to journalists' commitment to providing that information.

"Without the benefit of any of the 21st century conveniences or technological advancements, and in the face of significant personal hardships, these journalists were distinctly committed to providing their community with critical information, and they used simple pen and paper to do it," said Carrie Christoffersen, curator of collections.

And as usual, the first newspaper to break the news of this "handwritten" newapaper was not Japanese; it was The Washington Post.


Anonymous said...

Now that is dedication to your profession good for those people they should win an award of some sort. Hopefully media outlets around the world learn from this example in case of future disasters. This is a reason for papers to keep an old hand powered platen press in the corner.

This reminds me of the old jidaigeki movies where the town had a big message board with a little roof over it that displayed handwritten local news (mostly bandit posters or official decrees).

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