[Interview] Shining behind the scenes of media: Interns with diverse backgrounds supporting J-Stories

Interview with student interns taking a new step in the media industry.

2023.12.01
BY EMI TAKAHATA
[Interview] Shining behind the scenes of media: Interns with diverse backgrounds supporting J-Stories
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Since the launch of Japan's first solution-focused media J-Stories in 2022, many student interns have joined as editorial assistants who support the daily editorial work, contact interviewees, report, write, and do other important tasks. We interviewed these student interns, who usually support J-Stories as behind-the-scenes helpers, about why they joined the internship program and how it was for them.
(The interviews were conducted in September 2023.)
Q: What was your reason for joining the J-stories as an intern in the first place?
Alisa Okawara: Born in Tokyo, she attended an international school from the age of 2 to 18 and majored in international relations at Waseda University. Her hobbies include playing the piano, learning other languages, and traveling the world. Interned from August 2022 to December 2023.     Photos by Giulia Righi
Alisa Okawara: Born in Tokyo, she attended an international school from the age of 2 to 18 and majored in international relations at Waseda University. Her hobbies include playing the piano, learning other languages, and traveling the world. Interned from August 2022 to December 2023.     Photos by Giulia Righi
Alisa: I was originally interested in the media industry, and when I was looking for an internship that I could do during my university summer vacation, I found out that J-STORIES was looking for a bilingual intern. I attended an international school, so it was perfect for me to be able to put my English skills to use. Furthermore, when I looked at the website, I found the work they did very interesting and decided that I would like to work here. I wasn't sure what I could do, but I was very eager to try something new in the media industry.
Sage Farrer: Born in Tokyo. After attending a public elementary school in Suginami Ward, went on to an American school in Tokyo and is currently enrolled at the University of Chicago in the United States. Participated as an intern at J-STORIES during the summer break from July to September 2023 while back in Japan. Mainly involved in translation and article creation tasks. Previously interned at NHK's international broadcasting as well.
Sage Farrer: Born in Tokyo. After attending a public elementary school in Suginami Ward, went on to an American school in Tokyo and is currently enrolled at the University of Chicago in the United States. Participated as an intern at J-STORIES during the summer break from July to September 2023 while back in Japan. Mainly involved in translation and article creation tasks. Previously interned at NHK's international broadcasting as well.
Sage: As a bilingual person, I joined J-STORIES with the expectation of being able to utilize my Japanese and English language skills while also being able to work and perform tasks that I have never experienced before in a Japanese company.
Milla Ikeda: Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, she specializes in international security at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Keio University. Currently, she is studying abroad for one year at King's College London in the UK. At J-STORIES, she was involved in finding topics, arranging interviews, and article creation. She worked as an intern from January 2023 to September 2023.
Milla Ikeda: Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, she specializes in international security at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Keio University. Currently, she is studying abroad for one year at King's College London in the UK. At J-STORIES, she was involved in finding topics, arranging interviews, and article creation. She worked as an intern from January 2023 to September 2023.
Milla: I was interested in journalism, so I joined as an intern. When I applied, I knew I wanted to write articles, but I didn't think that I would actually be able to write articles.
Riku Kobayashi: Born in Osaka, Riku developed an interest in startups and business during a short-term study abroad in Silicon Valley in high school. Currently majoring in management and politics at Keio University's Faculty of Policy Management. Outside of academics, he serves as the vice president of an entrepreneurship club and is involved in planning and managing a YouTube channel for a business media outlet. At J-STORIES, he is engaged in tasks such as suggesting news topics, writing articles, and managing social media. His hobby is reading. He started this internship in September 2023.<br>
Riku Kobayashi: Born in Osaka, Riku developed an interest in startups and business during a short-term study abroad in Silicon Valley in high school. Currently majoring in management and politics at Keio University's Faculty of Policy Management. Outside of academics, he serves as the vice president of an entrepreneurship club and is involved in planning and managing a YouTube channel for a business media outlet. At J-STORIES, he is engaged in tasks such as suggesting news topics, writing articles, and managing social media. His hobby is reading. He started this internship in September 2023.
Riku: There are two reasons why I decided to join J-STORIES as an intern reporter. First, is that you are able to experience media work all the way from story development to news gathering by yourself. I have been interested in economics and politics since I was a child, and I often watched economic media, so I had a strong interest in the media. After entering university, I worked as an intern at an economic media company, where I was in charge of planning and managing a Youtube channel. When I was offered the opportunity, I thought it would be a good chance to broaden my experience in the media industry.
Ridley Coyte: Born in the UK and raised there as well as the US. Developed an interest in film production during childhood, researching various aspects of visual production, including animation and VFX. Also interested in music, proficient in playing the piano and the guitar. Moved to Japan in June 2023, seeking a place to better utilize his skills and experiences. Currently involved in both production and J-STORIES tasks, working on camera operation and video editing. Started this internship in July 2023.<br>
Ridley Coyte: Born in the UK and raised there as well as the US. Developed an interest in film production during childhood, researching various aspects of visual production, including animation and VFX. Also interested in music, proficient in playing the piano and the guitar. Moved to Japan in June 2023, seeking a place to better utilize his skills and experiences. Currently involved in both production and J-STORIES tasks, working on camera operation and video editing. Started this internship in July 2023.
Q:Thank you. Since J-STORIES provides bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the main feature of this program is that students who want to make use of their language skills and are interested in media can directly experience journalism work, such as reporting and writing articles. What specific tasks have you experienced as an intern?
Ridley: I help proofread English articles. I have also helped manage the weekly newsletter and posts on social media, along with any other tasks that I am given.
Sage: I had a limited amount of time during the school summer break, but I was able to do so many things such as translating, transcribing interview transcripts, typing up news feeds, posting on social media, assisting with events, finding stories for articles, communicating with interviewers, interviewing and writing articles.
Milla: I was mainly in charge of finding material for articles and posting on social media. I was also in charge of contacting companies for interviews, and asking for permission for interviews. In addition to that, I had the opportunity to translate articles from Japanese to English, and I also had the experience of actually doing the interviews myself and writing the articles in English.
Alisa: Like Milla, I was involved in the entire process of working at J-STORIES, from searching for articles to contacting companies, conducting interviews, and writing articles. I also participated in social media strategy meetings to ensure that our content was seen by as many people as possible, and I was involved in administrative support for the media, such as proposing ideas for improvement. At times, I was also involved in supporting the PBMC (management company) operations. This included providing operational support for client corporate events and serving as an interpreter for the interview crews of foreign TV stations that came to Japan to film things.
The interns are involved in all parts of the process from contacting companies, conducting actual interviews, and writing manuscripts.&nbsp;
The interns are involved in all parts of the process from contacting companies, conducting actual interviews, and writing manuscripts. 
Q: I see. You are all involved in so many things, from finding material for articles to conducting interviews yourself. Since you are all students, writing articles must be a lot of work.
Sage: Preparing for the interviews, researching, and writing the articles was more fun than I expected. It was very interesting to think about what questions to ask and how to put the information I gathered in the interviews into the articles. By doing this, I was also able to learn a bit about how to think as a journalist because I was able to get a lot of advice.
Members working in the editorial department.&nbsp;
Members working in the editorial department. 
Alisa: There were many things I did not understand at first, such as what to keep in mind when conducting interviews and writing articles. However, I felt I did well when I wrote an article about gender equality through the Barbie exhibition. Gender equality was a genre of article that had never been published in J-STORIES before, so I felt that I was able to contribute in some small way by being able to publish such a topic due to my own initiative.
In the field of media, there is a constant demand to always keep our antennas tuned to new things, and I believe that can be very stimulating for those with a curious nature.- Riku Kobayashi
In the field of media, there is a constant demand to always keep our antennas tuned to new things, and I believe that can be very stimulating for those with a curious nature.- Riku Kobayashi
Milla: Writing a news article was more difficult than I had expected. Instead of writing about everything I covered, I had to focus on particularly important details, and to make the article easy for people to read, I had to make it easy to understand and catchy, even if the content was complex, which was a struggle. However, after all this work, I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment when the articles were published.
Q: A message for those who want to do an internship in the future?
Riku: Media work requires you to keep your antennae up for new things, and I think it is very exciting for those who are curious. Also, for those who want to work globally in the future, isn't this an ideal environment where you can communicate with multinational members while using English? I encourage everyone, from those who are still unsure of what they want to do, to those who have decided to pursue media as their sole career path, to participate in the internship program!
Alisa: I think that internships provide a wonderful opportunity to overcome limitations that you thought you could not overcome, and to discover your strengths and weaknesses in a new way. The things I was able to experience throughout the year and the things I learned from the people I met through my internship are countless, and I believe it will be a very meaningful experience for you as you think about your own future.
Milla: There are many kind people here, and you can learn a lot from the employees and other interns. In addition to that, I think that as you work as an intern, you will be challenged towards completing tasks on your own, which will help you grow in aspects that you never imagined.
Ridley: This is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the industry you want to explore. I highly recommend it!
Sage: Not only is it a great opportunity to try new things and develop your language skills, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to work with really great and kind people. Please join us!
-Toshimasa Hijikuro is also here, a production manager from the J-STORIES editorial team, who usually takes care of the interns-
Toshimasa: If you are interested in working using English, or interested in startups and entrepreneurship, journalism and media, etc., or motivated, please let us know! We'd love to work with you.
After reading this article, if you are interested in an internship, please contact the J-STORIES editorial department. Non-bilingual students are also welcome. Editorial Department e-mail: jstories@pacificbridge.jp
What I have experienced throughout the year and what I have learned from the people I have met through the internship are countless. I believe it will be a very meaningful experience when considering your own future.- Alisa Okawara
What I have experienced throughout the year and what I have learned from the people I have met through the internship are countless. I believe it will be a very meaningful experience when considering your own future.- Alisa Okawara
&nbsp;If you are interested in working using English, or interested in startups and entrepreneurship, journalism and media, etc., or motivated, please let us know! I'd love to work with you.- Toshimasa Hijikuro&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;
 If you are interested in working using English, or interested in startups and entrepreneurship, journalism and media, etc., or motivated, please let us know! I'd love to work with you.- Toshimasa Hijikuro    
From left to right: Milla Ikeda, Riku Kobayashi, Sage Farrer, Alisa Okawara and Ridley Coyte.&nbsp;&nbsp;
From left to right: Milla Ikeda, Riku Kobayashi, Sage Farrer, Alisa Okawara and Ridley Coyte.  
Writing by: Emi Takahata     Editing by: Takanori Isshiki
Photography by: Giulia Righi
For inquiries about this article, please contact jstories@pacficbridge.jp

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Click here for the Japanese version of the article.

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