What's Going on at Rafu?
America’s recession eight years ago not only impacted businesses nationwide, it plunged the newspaper industry into a tailspin. Publications large and small were faced with new economic challenges brought on, in large part, by the growth of the Internet combined with shrinking advertising dollars.
The Rafu Shimpo survived that crisis, but the lifeblood of the newspaper, the Nisei generation, continues to age and pass on. In publicly announcing our predicament on March 22, we turned to the Sansei and younger generations for help. The overwhelmingly positive response reminded us that The Rafu Shimpo is more than an ethnic newspaper. It is an iconic brand that has endured as a unifying voice for the Japanese American community.
We thank everyone for their subscriptions, advertisements, monetary gifts, and offers of professional expertise. We are delighted to report that to date we have received over 1,200 new online subscribers for the e-newspaper. In addition, we added 230 new print subscribers—the first time print subscriptions have increased in more than two decades.
The Rafu Shimpo staff and management, in collaboration with an independent strategic team, will soon be instituting a series of progressive steps aimed at fulfilling our mission to provide news and information to our readers while striving to adhere to the highest journalistic standards. These steps include but are not limited to:
Development of a business plan designed to enable The Rafu Shimpo to achieve its operating objectives and fulfill its mission over the long term.
Restructuring of resources to support dual platforms —print and digital—to meet current and future subscriber needs, including the addition of interactive, user-friendly features that facilitate customer access to subscription orders, ad placement, and editorial submissions.
Formation of a new nonprofit foundation that preserves, promotes and shares Japanese and Japanese American culture through educational programs and community engagement. A governing board of directors comprised of individuals with media and business expertise will oversee operation of the new foundation.
As outreach efforts continue, look for our team members at community events, gatherings, obon and other festivals throughout the summer. Please stop by to sign up for an online or print subscription or place a classified or display ad. Every bit helps.
In this, our newspaper’s 113th year, the support and encouragement of our readers means more than ever. This is your Rafu Shimpo.
We pledge never to forget that.