Monday, 18 April 2011

Earthquake issue

Wraparound cover for the special issue, with Rob Gilhooly's photo

Finally sent the special edition of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in-house magazine, Number 1 Shimbun, to print. It's usually a monthly magazine-cum-newsletter put together without a budget to speak of, and my design work is usually minimal. But, as we say in the introduction to this special edition: "After years of being on the media back burner, Japan suddenly and terribly became the biggest story in the world on March 11."

The Club needed to make an edition that reflected something of the enormity of the events. There are contributions from writers working for The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and Irish Times, The Guardian, Reuters and The Economist, and photographs from freelance photographers who are members or associated with the Club.

The first section concentrates on the quake and tsunami itself, and leads with Telegraph correspondent Julian Ryall's honest and moving piece about the disaster and his reaction to being in the affected zone. It's accompanied by Rob Gilhooly's photos taken as he and Julian worked together. It moved me near to tears to read the meeting with a bereaved 16-year-old. On top of that, the honesty about the journalistic response is devastating, as Julian wrote: "I can't stand it anymore, and — to my shame — I turn away".

Two other sections look at what happened in Tokyo and what the economic/rebuilt future might hold.

At only 24 pages (up from the usual 20) we had enough stories to overflow into next month's regular issue. I hope we've done justice to it all in what is essentially a text-based magazine. The photos, meanwhile, of the devastation are almost "familiar", so we've concentrated on more personal ones, but have made a wraparound cover from one shot of a town after the deluge, and open the magazine with a double-page shot of Self Defence Forces doing recovery work in a destroyed town, also by Rob Gilhooly. Hopefully, the pictures reflect the thought that went into choosing them, thoughts of what the people witnessed, thoughts of conveying the impact without recourse to anything sensational. (After all, we can afford to reflect, coming out more than a month after the events, and being in part a report on reporters, so to speak.)

The online version (designed elsewhere) is available with a PDF of the issue here.

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