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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Time to say goodbye to the Nichi Bei Times

It's hard to believe the Nichi Bei Times will stop publishing this month after 63 years of printing their newspaper.

The Nichi Bei Times board has decided to shutter its doors on September 30th, and the last printed newspaper will be published tomorrow (Thursday, September 10th).

The Nichi Bei Times has been a staple of the Japanese Americans around the nation by keeping them in touch from particular issues or concerns, local community sports teams, major events, and the local churches. A lot of the material they publish targets the Japantown community of San Francisco and it allows everyone to be connected, regardless if a person visits the community every day or just occasionally.

Personally, I am very thankful for the Nichi Bei Times. They have helped me in so many ways, from publishing every "letters to the editor" I've ever submitted, publishing an article about my important thesis research on mixed heritage Japanese Americans, covering my work on the "Save Japantown" movement in early 2006 when the malls and hotels were put for sale, and honoring my late grandmother known as the "Godmother of Japantown."

Without their effors to inform readers about important topics and issues, it would have been much more difficult to secure redress for all surviving Japanese Americans interned in the camps during WWII.

For the Nichi Bei Times, publishing newspapers is becoming a dying breed. The internet and our web based cell phones can get news quicker and faster for free; printed media is becoming much more expensive with this economy: people are cutting back on their subscriptions, printing costs have skyrocketed, and paying for postage to mail the newspapers is so expensive. Look at AsianWeek, in just a flash, a nationwide newspaper disappeared.


So, what is next for the Nichi Bei Times? The veteran staff are trying to start a foundation that will be a non-profit and supported by donations and grants, and they will face an uphill battle to get something in print. As I mentioned earlier, there are many cost factors going against printed news media. I hope they can raise enough money to keep this community newspaper going.

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