Greetings for 6th anniversary of THE ASIAN from AJA family

ANNIVERSARY GREETINGS FROM NEELIMA MATHUR

I joined AJA only in 2016 but it seems I have known the AJA family since forever. Such is the character of AJA pioneered by Sang-ki Lee, who carries its warmth with him continuously and tenaciously.

Within a few years, the vision for an Asian identity in journalism is reflecting all around with the escalated political and nuclear scenario on the Korean peninsula. The new tagline of AJA, “New Asia, New Dynamics’ fully represents this relevance.

The pull of USA, China, Russia, towards Asia is resounding on a daily basis. Countries like India and Australia join this power block to balance matters related to North Korea and the South and East China Seas. The voice of Asian journalism will surely be sought after for understanding the dynamics of a changing Asia.

Regarding Magazine N and AsiaN: The layout of Magazine N should be clearly demarcated into Korean and English sections. AsiaN needs a lot of reworking to make it more ‘user-friendly’. Also, if we type AJA+AsiaN in Google, the web link does not show up in the top. This matter, with the right tagged key words, must be attended to immediately.

Warm greetings to AJA on its sixth anniversary!

ANNIVERSARY GREETINGS FROM Ivan Lim

As an online publication of Asians, for Asians and by Asians, The Asian news portal has crossed the first three critical years of make or break. While it has yet to be money-making, the organ of Asia Journalist Association (AJA) is moving forward into its seventh year with confidence and clear vision.

The Asian has become a veritable voice of AJA and help established its bona fides as an international journalist fraternity. AJA members have made good use of the platform to tell their national stories, from politics and economics to social and cultural affairs. This has significantly increased coverage of Asian issues and improved our knowledge and understanding of Asian societies and peoples.

Readers have spoken of ’“insightful”, “perceptive” and “comprehensive” reports and information on different aspects ofAsian cultural renaissance.

In this respect, The Asian has lived up to expectations of AJA founders Sang-ki Lee and his team as well as of prominent Asian journalists in the 1960s such as Amitabha Chowdhury and Tarzie Vittachi. At the helm of the Press Foundation of Asia(PFA) they set up Presss institutes in Asian capitals to hone journalists’ skills in “Asia’s reluctant revolution of bringing the printed word to every literate Asian”.

More significantly, they launched project DEPTHnews viz Development, Economic and Population Theme news. Through this, Chowdhury(India) and Vittachi,( Sri Lanka) popularised a style of reporting called development journalism with a human touch.

They also advocated a brand of expose journalism that involved Investigations of corrupt practices and criminal activities.

Going forward The Asian may want to look at different models of journalistic practice to make itself more relevant to and resonate with readers’ interests and needs. For example, some readers have asked for reports on sports.

Is The Asian going to be a general publication for topical issues or is it going to be more specialised and distinctive? Say, in terms use of outstanding pictures like the National Geographic. Or shall we focused more on peoples than on politics?

In August, the SPH’s free-access website Asia which features breaking stories, stock market and financial news, underwent an editorial revamp. It switched to focusing on social issues and popular content following a survey of views from advertisers, readers and viewers. Despite the content change, the newsportal that used story files and photos from the SPH stable of newspapers like The Straits Times and Business Times has just been shut down in the latest major restructuring of the SPH business portfolios.

Under publisher Lee Sang-ki, revisions and improvements have been made to The Asian, and its sister Magazine N publication. Already our online and print media products are unique in being multi-lingual in English, Korean, Arabic and earlier, Chinese. Few regional publications share this distinctive feature.

Letters to the Editor show that the vernacular pages are appreciated by members and readers in non-English speaking communities in Asia.

For the record, publisher Sang-ki Lee and his team at Seoul head office, backed by our network of regional correspondents and analysts, have done a great job—against great odds– to keep The Asian website and Magazine N going for six years and more. It symbolises the Korean fighting spirit underpinning our collective labour of love for AJA and for our profession.

That a newsorgan of a membership-based organisation like AJA has been sustainable should inspire our national chapters to look at the option of creating complementary web sites that are linked to the Asian news platform or piggybacked on it. With national chapter leaders and members doubling up, our aspiring Asia-wide news networking and coverage will be realised.

ANNIVERSARY GREETINGS FROM Nasir Aijaz

I am delighted to note that The AsiaN has completed six years of its life. I remember the day when our friend Mr. Lee Sang-ki had called me from Seoul informing about the launch of online news portal in a different way, and had suggested contributing reports from Pakistan. Mr. Ryong Oh, former Secretary of AJA, was the first editor of The AsiaN.

The AsiaN proved to a bridge not only between the nations from Far East to Middle East but it also cemented further the brotherly relations of AJA members sitting thousands of kilometers away from each other.

Before the launch of The Asian, we used to meet once a year or sometimes after few years when the AJA General Meeting was called but The AsiaN turned all of us into members of one family. It so inspired us that we regularly contributed reports and articles despite heavily preoccupied in our respective countries.

The AsiaN had started with English and Korean service but later Chinese and Arabic versions were also added to it. This way it became a unique portal that was in four languages connecting us to the readers of four nations. It would be unfair if I do not mention our dear brother Ashraf Dali, who took the responsibility of Arabic service and he and his daughter Radwa used to translate our reports in Arabic language. His mission still continues.

I feel more attached to The AsiaN, as my son Rahul Aijaz too used to contribute photographs and reports during his student life, and when he did his graduation in media sciences, he was called by Mr. Lee Sang-ki to Seoul to work for The AsiaN and Magazine N. It’s great honour for my son having worked there for one and half a year.

The AsiaN has grown further bringing many other writers and contributors to its ranks and I wish more success for it with passage of time.

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