A chat with Karuna Shinsho
Anchor of CNN This Morning, Asia edition
January 20, 2000
Shinsho joined CNNI from NHK Television in Japan, where she anchored the programs "Japan Weekly", "Today's Japan Weekly" and "Japanscope". Prior to that, she was CNN's acting Tokyo bureau chief and correspondent in June 1997.
Shinsho participated in the chat from the CNN bureau in Hong Kong. The following is an edited transcript of the chat.
Chat Moderator: Welcome Karuna Shinsho!
Karuna Shinsho: Hi everyone, thanks for logging on! Well, as you saw today, it was a pretty hectic day... with breaking news out of Kosovo today!
Question from Torrence: How did she find the transition from Japanese Television to a worldwide channel like CNN international?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi Torrence. Well, it was a pretty big change. I worked at the national broadcaster and a lot of what we reported on was controlled. It was a great experience, and it has brought me to CNN in the end.
Question from ajm: Ms. Shinsho...what dramatic changes have you seen in Hong Kong since the Chinese took over the island?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi ajm. I have to be honest. I just moved here to Hong Kong to help launch the morning shows in April of last year. So I cannot profess to be an expert on China. But it does seem to be as lively economically and culturally as everBut of course, as you see in the news... still a lot of challenges for Hong Kong in terms of being under Beijing rule now.
Question from Lars: How about freedom of speech at CNN: Is there anyone who screens what goes online and what not?
Karuna Shinsho: Lars hi. Not "controlled" in the big brother sense... but is moderated by our colleague in Atlanta to keep things running smoothly.
Question from Kato-chan: What did you mean "controlled" in Japan?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi kato-chan. What I meant by "controlled" was that we had to report on whatever NHK (the national broadcaster) wanted to. Which is fine... but it was a challenging position to be in because they were hiring outside journalists to help them launch a new set of programs (in English) for viewers overseas. So the content of our news was very regulated and confined.
Question from Torrence: Karuna, you speak exceptionally well in English. I understand that many Japanese do not speak fluently in English. Were you educated internationally when you were young?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi again Torrence. Yes, I have Japanese parents and I was born and raised in the US. But I lived in Japan later. So I speak both Japanese and English.
Question from Obuchi: Are relations between Japan and China becoming better?
Karuna Shinsho: Obuchi? Are you the Prime Minister? or just a fill in?
Obuchi: No, but it is my name.
Karuna Shinsho: We have been covering some of the challenges between Japan and China despite the fact that the war has been over for many years. But I hope that we can contribute in some way so that the younger generation of both countries will get along better than their parents' generation.
Question from JimB: Karuna, how much pressure is Beijing putting on Taiwan not to drop their position on independence?
Karuna Shinsho: Jim b hi. I am not a spokesperson for Beijing ... but we have been reporting that Beijing is still reserving the right to use force if Taiwan does indeed declare independence. But of course, everyone is waiting to see what happens in the upcoming presidential elections in Taiwan in March for signs on Taiwan's future position on China-Taiwan ties.
Question from Jim: Karuna How old are you?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi Jim. I am 31 going on 13.
Question from BJ: Can you read and write Japanese?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi BJ. Yes, I can read Japanese. Writing, I can with the help of a dictionary. But I would say my writing in English is much stronger.
Question from BJ: Is the news on CNN this morning and other Asian based programs written by the controllers in Atlanta?
Karuna Shinsho: BJ, the news here at CNN, as well as in Hong Kong, is written by a team of journalists that are familiar with the content and CNN's format. Atlanta does not control the news. Staff there may step in to help with breaking news, but we operate fairly independently.
Question from Lars: Everything on CNN runs very smoothly. Are the news shows really live or do you record them to look that perfect?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi Lars. We are live throughout all our shows... from 6 in the morning Hong Kong time to 9:30.
Question from Candyce: Does CNN This Morning have any plans for upcoming specials?
Karuna Shinsho: Candyce, we are going to be covering the Taiwan elections in March extensively. And other ambitious projects are being planned so stay tuned!
Question from David: All of the CNN viewers I know in Japan are very dissatisfied with the balance of coverage on your show. You seem to ignore or downplay important stories from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in favor of stories of very limited local interest. How can we register our complaints?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi David. Everyone feel free to e-mail your comments and criticisms on our shows at CNNthismorning@CNN.com. We'll be watching out for them! That is something CNN has been working on since we have started the "regionalization" of our operations. The challenge of covering everything from everywhere is enormous. And we do try to bring in news from all over the region. Within Asia, we try to cover all the big stories without compromising our strength of covering global events. Use the e-mail address above to give us more of your feedback. Thanks.
Question from BJ: Other than Inside Asia, there are no other Asian programming on weekends - especially on business. Is there any in the pipeline?
Karuna Shinsho: BJ, CNN is continuing to strengthen our operations here in Asia. CNN.com will also be launching a new operation in Asia. So weekend programming is something that is being discussed.
Question from ajm: Ms. Shinsho...you speak of the Taiwanese elections coming up next month...can you tell us what interest Asians have taken so far in the upcoming US presidential elections?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi ajm. What do you think? Are Asians interested in seeing more coverage of the US presidential elections? Maybe others on-line could comment.
Question from Torrence: Karuna, How is the workload as a news anchor at CNN.. i.e. work hours per week? Exhausting?
Karuna Shinsho: Torrence, it's a tough schedule. Up at 3 and in at 4. Then I'm usually here till early afternoon.... if not later, depending on interviews I need to prep for the next day. Aside from the abnormal hours, I really enjoy this job.
Question from pslk116: Karuna, when do you find time to have breakfast?
Karuna Shinsho: pslk116 hi. I eat before the shows and sometimes if I can dash out of the studio into my office between shows, I eat something... to keep me going.
Question from David: AJM raises an important issue. All of the Japanese people I work with every day have a great interest in the U.S. election, but very little in that of Taiwan.
Karuna Shinsho: David, yes, I saw that trend at NHK as well. Given historical links, it's not surprising that Japan thirsts for so much us content.
Question from Fred: Is the media in Hong Kong more circumspect since China took over?
Karuna Shinsho: Fred, there are differing views on that. Some would say that things haven't changed that much. There have been some legal and freedom of speech challenges of late, but the media here have been reporting them. But others say that, though there isn't outright censorship, they do feel the need to self-censor the news.
Question from arthur: You were hosting "Your Money" while at ABN several years ago. But now you anchor general news program, what's the difference?
Karuna Shinsho: Hi Arthur. Yes, I was anchoring business/financial news at ABN. It was a great opportunity and challenge. But I enjoy general news(politics, culture, etc.) more.
Question from ShirtlessGuy: Are you planning coverage of the anniversary of the fall of Saigon in Vietnam?
Karuna Shinsho: Yes, we are planning to do that. It's a big milestone and we are going to cover that for you.
Question from David: Japanese people's preference for U.S. news over that of SE Asia certainly reflects some historical prejudice. But doesn't it also reflect a realistic recognition of the relative importance both regions really play in the world as a whole?
Karuna Shinsho: David, you make a good point. I don't think anyone would argue against the global importance of the U.S. and Japan. It's our hope to try to balance our news from all parts of the world, including Asia.
Question from arthur: I enjoy "CNN this morning and Business news" as well as "Moneyline & Moneyline Newshour". Money line will be replay in the afternoon, but Moneyline news hour does not. Can CNN Asia replay that program?
Karuna Shinsho: Arthur, send that comment to CNNthismorning@CNN.com, and the relevant people can address that issue.
Karuna Shinsho: Before we wrap, anything you viewers would like to see more of or less of? That is, on CNN this morning.
Guyin40s: Karuna it is really nice of you to spend so much time with us!
Karuna Shinsho: Guyin40s... thanks for that. It's really been a pleasure... I wasn't really expecting so many of you to log on to talk to me.
Question from BJ: How about profiles of Asian Newsmakers - politicians, entrepreneurs, etc.
Karuna Shinsho: BJ Asia business morning does a weekly segment called "Entrepreneurs." Only that highlights successful people in the biz world here in Asia. In terms of politicians, we have gotten many high-profile leaders for some exclusive interviews... and we'd like to continue to do that.
Robert: Karuna I'm from Jakarta, your coverage of Indonesian events is very good.
Karuna Shinsho: Robert, thank you. There has been a lot of news coming out of that region and that is still the case now. We will continue to cover Indonesia. Plus, we have an excellent bureau chief/correspondent Maria Ressa, who has been helping with our Indonesia coverage.
chris2000 : I hope that there will be more of this in future (with Karuna) as I did not get a chance to have my questions answered this time. Thanks all the same for the time.
Karuna Shinsho: I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of your questions. But I want to thank you all again for logging on. Perhaps, we can do this again so that I'll be able to answer more of your questions about the shows and CNN. Happy Lunar New Year everyone!
Chat Moderator: Thank you Karuna Shinsho for joining us today.
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