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Thursday, July 28, 2011

U.S. JETS Want To Help Japan

Or... perhaps I should call it: Less Filler - More Thriller!

Here's a story that appeared in the July 27, 2011 edition of The Japan Times (I saw it on-line), followed by my comments: 

Young Americans who will teach English at schools here on an international exchange and teaching program said Tuesday they want to help Japan recover from the March catastrophe. According to the U.S. Embassy and an organizer of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, around 700 are coming from the U.S. this summer. About 400 of them arrived Sunday. In total, some 1,600 JETs from 27 nations will come to Japan this summer. 
Wow... I am sure glad that the U.S. JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme teachers are interested in helping Japan out after the fallout from the twin disasters on March 11, 2011 - namely the  9.0 Magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami. I was initially worried they might not want to be involved at all!

Okay... that was sarcasm. It's a great story. I hope they do as they say they will do.

But... what about the rest of the people soon to be arriving in Japan? There are 26 other countries involved in the JET Programme! Are they not interested in doing something to help Japan out? 

Apparently not. It's only the U.S. At least that's what the story implies. Or is it inferring? Whatever.

As a former newspaper journalist with the Brampton Times, Aurora Banner, Newmarket Era and Toronto Star here in Canada - as well as being a three-year veteran of the JET Programme - I'm slightly offended by this innocuous little story.

It's cool that JET USA wrote that little press release to make their Programme look good. But did no one else think to do that?

Let's suppose that some did - could they not get a mention?

Let's suppose no one else mentioned it at all - the Japan Times is a communications giant. Could they not have made a few calls to various JET airbases - or whatever their headquarters are called and asked if they too are sending over people to Japan who are interested in helping out the country? 

Just think... if you had called up any other country's JET Programme and got a positive answer - that they too are interested in helping out Japan... well, then I guess you have a non-story.

But imagine if one of those countries said, "No, we're not interested in helping Japan" the media could have had a field day!

Sorry... that was lazy journalism by the Japan Times. But what's worse is that it's also not that compelling a story.

How about just stating that new JETS are coming in from 27 countries (list them), telling us how many are coming, and how many in total JET people will that make for 2011... or how many people have on the programme in total since inception? 

Geez... if you want to make a big deal about it... tell us the story of the JET Programme. Who's brainchild? When did it start? How was the initial reaction to having a gaijin (foreigner) stand up and team-teach with a Japanese teacher of English in the classroom? 

Tell a story. 

Don't use JET propaganda as newspaper filler. The JET Programme and all in it are proud of what we did and continue to do. 

We are not filler... and despite what the Japan Times filler piece says, I'm pretty sure we (the newcomers) are all eager to do something to help out the country.

Hell... I do that pretty much everyday in this blog.

Somewhere looking for a filler piece,
Andrew Joseph  

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