Accepting and overcoming anxiety about the future is a lesson Eiko Endo learned as a journalist at The Oriental Times.
After graduating from Keio University, Eiko pursued further studies in Beijing. Upon her return to Japan, she looked for a job that required her to use Chinese. That was how she joined The Oriental Times, a Chinese language newspaper that covers Sino-Japan relations.
Before becoming a correspondent, Eiko said she felt “anxious about not being able to see the future” but working in journalism has developed a mindset in her that “life is interesting precisely because the future is uncertain”. Eiko never thought she would have the chance to meet Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah and Chinese film director Xie Jin, citing the two interviews as the most memorable episodes in her career.
Such rewards come with challenges. Eiko has to do extensive research on the interviewees and study their work. For instance, to prepare for an interview with Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando, Eiko bought three books about the classical form of Japanese dance-drama and read them over the weekend. Sometimes she finds herself having “a hard time switching between work and private life”.
“The job is mentally and physically demanding, but I think it is also very rewarding,” Eiko said. “Being able to have such a strong heart, the experiences I have gained through my job, and the connections I have made with the people I have met are the greatest treasures of my life.”
In the sixth episode of PR Newswire’s monthly podcast series, Behind The Byline, Eiko shares the challenging yet rewarding experience as a reporter, and her reflections on lessons she learned in work. She reminisces her encounters with famous actors and a film director as well as discusses the role of press releases and what PR pros can do to maintain a good relationship with journalists.
Here’re the highlights from the podcast:
1. Your name “Eiko” means “lake in England”. Do you have any connection with England?
My father was a Japanese diplomat. So when I was born, he was stationed in England. The Lake District is located in England, and my parents love the place. My name was given to me by someone my parents respected. I have never met anyone with the same name.
2. You have interviewed people from different backgrounds such as government officials, artists, and business executives. How do you prepare for these interviews?
In an interview, depending on how well you prepare in advance and how much trust you gain from the interviewee, the answers you can elicit from the same interviewee and the level of the conversation will be completely different. In this sense, I believe that the interview process begins from the moment you contact the interviewer. One of the keys to a successful interview is to always be sincere and pleasant, and to make the interviewee feel comfortable and trustworthy. At the same time, I believe this is part of the preparation process.
3. What did you gain from working as a reporter?
I used to be anxious about not being able to see the future, but through my work as a reporter, I was able to have a strong mindset that life is interesting precisely because the future is uncertain. Before I became a reporter, I never thought that I would be able to cover Andy Lau or Director Xie Jin in the future. I think that being able to have such a strong heart, the experiences I have gained through my job, and the connections I have made with the people I have met are the greatest treasures of my life.
4. Lastly, what can PR pros do to maintain a good relationship with journalists?
I think it’s about staying in touch often and maintaining close communication. Communication leads to understanding the needs of the reporter and being able to provide useful information, and it also fosters a feeling of familiarity and trust. I believe that good communication will ultimately lead to the adoption of a release to become an article.
1m13s: Eiko’s self-introduction
2m10s: Origin of the name Eiko
2m46s: What inspired Eiko to become a reporter
3m11s: Daily routine of Eiko as a reporter
4m19s: Most memorable assignments
6m04s: How to prepare and conduct an interview
8m11s: Perks of being a reporter
9m03s: Press releases that Eiko are interested to follow up
10m13s: What PR pros can do to make press releases stand out from others
11m27s: Role of press releases
12m10s: What PR pros can do to maintain a good relationship with journalists