So much bad news poured down on us lately. I thought the economy has not recovered, though economists have said it has since last quarter.
Big advertisers e-mailed us to cancel advertisements because their businesses have tumbled since the recession. Withdrawing their support would instantly cripple the Asian Weekly.
What should we do to survive?
First, we try our best to change the outcome of events. To our surprise, we succeeded in influencing the minds of our advertisers that it is important for them to support a voice in the community.
Second, if we can’t make money ourselves, we seize every opportunity to give back and lead the way for others to give. Hence, to celebrate Tama Murotani-Inaba’s 90th birthday, we donated a full-page color ad for her friends to honor her birthday by writing checks to Nikkei Concerns. It was not only a meaningful gift, it gave us and all those people involved great joy to participate.
Third, we played the role of a mediator to solve conflicts. While Mother’s Day was supposed to bring good business, three restaurant owners begged us to tell their story because their restaurants had to be shut down on their busiest day of the year. Should we or should we not? A villain, though not intentional, makes for an exciting story. If we were to write the story, it would mean the issue had not been resolved, and the animosity among the parties would magnify.
We decided not to do the story, but instead we brought the parties together so they could work out the problem. They did. Everyone was happy. By “killing” the story, we actually helped the community more.
This would be a “no no” for mainstream journalists who view every controversy as an opportunity to enhance readership and attention from other media. Even when there’s no conflict, they try to find one. I actually believe that if we had done the story, it would have been unethical. There are times when people just fall through the cracks unintentionally. We just have to present them with an opportunity to correct their mistake. The Asian Weekly should not be used as a weapon, but as a tool.
As the publisher, my job is not only to make sure the Asian Weekly runs every week, but also to make a difference in people’s lives. What we do is keep the big picture of the community in mind. ♦