Monday, June 20, 2005

Shared Incompetence

Three stories in U.K. Sunday papers this weekend highlight the worst qualities of non-Japan-based journalists' ability to report on Japan: In his story in the Sunday Times, city-page editor Paul Durman doesn't seem to wander very far from the Foreign Correspondent's Club, but seemed to have trouble with his reading: He talks about 'Big Camera' and their displays of mobile phones, when what he actually means is 'Bic Camera', which is right across the street from the Foreign Correspondent's Club. A Business Telegraph story contains the same mistake, which makes one wonder if Mr. Durman is moonlighting, or perhaps he and the Telegraph reporter wrote their stories together?
A story in This is London (Financial Mail on Sunday) makes no such blatantly inaccurate mistakes, but contains several errors of fact:

The operation, which accounts for a fifth of Vodafone's profits, has been hit by a fumbled transition from 2G voice-only phones to 3G high-speed internet technology.

2G phones, from any carrier in Japan, have not been voice-only for around 5 years. The only recent example of a voice only phone is Tu-ka's Tu-ka S simple phone for old folks and kids, which was actually a big hit. His other inaccuracy is below:

Unlike 3G services from rivals like Vodafone, i-mode allows secure transactions for services such as buying train and plane tickets, share dealing and paying for goods and services.

If he had bothered to find out about this, he would realise that this payment functionality is not really related to i-mode, that it is hard-wired into the actual phone, whereas i-mode is an online service. Vodafone and au will also be releasing so-called 'wallet' handsets within this year.
Hey, guys, are reporters not supposed to ask questions? Verify facts? Dig a little deeper than simply stepping across the street to an electronics store whose name you can't even spell properly?


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