How to Japanese Podcast – S01E09 – Shaun McKenna – JET Program, Journalism in Japan, The Art of the Pitch

Shaun McKenna is the Deputy Manager of the Life & Culture Division of the Japan Times. He came on the How to Japanese Podcast to talk about his experience studying Japanese while teaching on JET and the transition to journalism. He also has some great recommendations on how to pitch an editor at a publication like the JT:

  • How has it been to edit the Bilingual page?
  • Did you study Japanese before you visited? And was JET the first time you visited the country?
  • Did you have success with Japanese for Busy People?
  • After you finished the textbook, what self-study techniques were helpful?
  • Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
  • Are a lot of Japan Times writers come to Japan without much training in the language?
  • What language milestones were important for you?
  • How did you find your Japanese teacher?
  • Where did you find free Japanese lessons in Yokohama?
  • After you returned to Canada, did you start job hunting in Japan?
  • Was journalism a long-term goal for you coming out of college?
  • What was your job hunting process in Japan?
  • How is the workplace culture at the Japan Times?
  • What naming conventions are used in Japanese workplaces?
  • Are you able to write for the Japan Times now that you’ve transitioned to editor?
  • Are you taking pitches from new writers?
  • Have you found new writers on Twitter?
  • What’s an ideal pitch? And what kind of web presence do you need?
  • Are you able to follow the music scene as much now that you’re not Music Editor?
  • Are there any venues you’d recommend in Japan?

At the top, I tell the story of crashing a car in Japan and discuss facing setbacks during language study.

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