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We are ‘Kind of a Big Deal in Japan’

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An article in the Tokyo Shimbun prominently featured The Hernando Sun newspaper. The Tokyo Shimbun is a major Japanese newspaper with a circulation estimated to be around 3 million daily. They are part of a larger group the Chunichi Shimbun which has a circulation around 5 million.

The article dealt with so called news deserts, areas where the local news coverage was not well established. They were interested in speaking to The Hernando Sun after reading our articles online describing that we founded The Hernando Sun after the closing of Hernando Today, because we felt that Hernando County without a local newspaper would become a suburb of Tampa.

On Nov. 29, 2018, Alexander Hassanein, reporter for the Tokyo Shimbun, contacted us about doing a short phone interview. The founders of The Hernando Sun, Julie and Rocco Maglio, discussed the starting of the Hernando Sun with Mr. Hassanein, during the phone interview he mentioned that he and a correspondent might want to fly to Florida and interview us in person. On Dec. 6, we received an email informing us that the reporters were planning on flying to Florida from the Tokyo Shimbun New York Bureau to interview us in person. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Hassanein and correspondent Hajime Akagawa from the New York Bureau arrived at our home office and interviewed us for a couple of hours. Mr. Akagawa met Julie at the Post Office the following day and took pictures as she dropped off The Hernando Sun newspapers to have them delivered.

The phrase Big in Japan was usually used to describe musicians who succeed in Japan, but not necessarily in other parts of the world. Some examples of this were Neil Sedaka who had a hit in Japan with “One Way Ticket” and Jimmy Osmond (Typically known as one of the Osmond Brothers) who had several gold records. This led to claims that a musician was big in Japan as a means of promoting them in the United States.

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The article was published on Jan. 1, 2019 in Japanese in the Tokyo Shimbun. It is the beginning of their serialization on “Media and the World.” Now more people in Japan have heard of The Hernando Sun than people in the United States. We are kind of a Big Deal in Japan.


Below is the link to the online article.



Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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