Tim is the Editor-in-Chief of Japanator, a content media specialist by day, and pro-blogger by night. His posts can be found scattered throughout the Modern Method network. Also, he writes awesome music.
April is right around the corner. It's hard to believe that we're already a quarter of the way through the year, and though we've had a lot of changes taking place in and around the site, I have to admit that we haven't really achieved everything I had hoped to by this point. It's nothing to be too disappointed about, of course. When you manage a site like Japanator, you tend to set lofty goals for yourself and staff. Whether or not they're attainable often relies on the assumption that everything goes relatively smooth. Naturally, you're bound to encounter some issues along way.
It helps to remember that things could be worse. Our friends at Ani.me recently had some struggles that led to their site abruptly closing shop. Fortunately, Japanator's outlook isn't quite so bad by comparison. It sucks any time another anime site closes down -- competition is always good for our industry, despite what certain news outlets would have you believe. It sucks even more for the talented individuals who work for those sites. It's part of why I believe we're fortunate to have L.B. Bryant, Ani.me's former Editor-in-Chief, as a member of our staff.
As it happens, he's brought several great ideas to the table as to how to expand our feature content, not to mention a dose of moe the site was severely lacking -- no thanks to my good taste in anime. However, he's not the only person I hope to gather some ideas from. I'd love to hear some from our community. If you're reading this and have an interesting idea for a feature you'd like us to introduce you can e-mail us at email@example.com with the subject "Feature idea:" and we'll take a look. It could be a column, podcast, editorial or so on. If you're within the continental US, and we end up picking yours, we might even send out a special gift as a thanks.
Just as a quick update, I wanted to thank everyone who has submitted a résumé and/or writing samples over the past few weeks. We'll be closing off submissions for the time being. If you've submitted a resume over the past two weeks and I haven't replied to you don't worry, I'm not done going through them all and we'll likely be bringing on a couple more contributors from the batch of résumés we have in-hand.
That said, I am happy to introduce you all to our latest editor, Dae Lee. He's a former-editor and podcast co-host at New School Kaidan, where he primarily dealt with Idol and J-pop news. In addition to being a fantastic writer, Dae happens to be a huge fan of Anime, manga and Japanese entertainment in general, so I think he'll fit in wonderfully. Keep an eye out for his stories in the coming weeks.
Also of some importance, I think I should acknowledge that Destructoid turns 8 this month. It's hard to imagine some of these guys doing this gig for 8 years straight, but they're still at it and without them, Japanator wouldn't even exist today. For that, we owe them our gratitude. If you're in the San Francisco area, keep an eye out for their GDC party taking place next week. Maybe drop in and say hi if you get a chance. Mind you, I won't be in attendance as I've got my hands full here at Jtor, but a number of Dtoid friends will be, including my buddy Dale North. Details can be found here.
Every time you make changes to the status quo, you're bound to experience some amount of friction. Not everything and everyone will agree with you. Some might embrace the change, others may not, and sadly, it doesn't always work out for the best. We prepare for these eventualities, but it's impossible foresee every issue that may arise. Once it comes to pass, all that matters is how we pick ourselves up and move on.
Lately it seems the world and people around me have been mired in bad luck. Some of them are experiencing issues at home, others have had problems at work. I myself recently had a bit of a spat with a friend which as left me a bit depressed over the way things were resolved. The one thing they all seem to have in common is change. Whether it's a change in life, employment, or on the horizon and yet to happen. It hasn't been easy to deal with it all at once, but I've done my best to work through it and even lend others a hand with their issues. While I'm not sure if I've really managed to accomplish anything, what matters is that I try. I keep calm and I carry on.
So, how does this relate to our site? Well, Japanator has experienced a lot of changes as well -- and in some instances, it still is. We've lost a few writers over the past few months for various reasons -- college, external commitments, and so on -- and we've had to adapt. As a result, the site has been steadily growing despite all the challenges we've faced.
It also helps that we've brought on the talented L.B. Bryant, who has been doing a fantastic job with the news, but I'm always looking for new contributors and interns who'd be interested in volunteering to fill some of our gaps in coverage -- specifically Shonen anime or manga in general. With that in mind, if any of you are interested in helping us out and can deliver at least 5 posts a week, I'd love to hear from you via private message or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject "Japanator employment opportunity". We require a writing sample, so if you've got a c-blog, that might a good place to start.
If you've been visiting the site often over the past few weeks you may have noticed my slight absence from the site this week. The reason why is that I'm actually in San Francisco right now visiting the ModerMethod / Destructoid LLC office where they're preparing to shoot the Destructoid Core live show in a matter of hours. While I've been here, we've been hard at work trying to fix some of the visual issues our readers like yourself have been experiencing while browsing the site.
Unfortunately, when you're dealing with a massive custom database like ours, fixing one problem often creates one or two more minor ones -- or occasionally a major one. That said, my boss and his team of engineers seem to be pretty good at their job, so things are improving for the most part.
Today, you may have noticed another new background, and this one is likely here to stay -- despite the objections of one of our staff members who seems to be insisting that symmetry is everything (I'm not sure what his issue is to be honest; it could just be severe OCD.) The new background is in keeping with the spirit of Ben Huber's diagonal love-fest, but also features a really spiffy racing stripe. Oddly, the stripe is inspired by a really neat #Driveclub t-shirt I got from E3 last year, but we can all pretend it was 100% my idea. I think it looks pretty slick, any way.
There were also a number of changes to the front page. Some of you complained about the red text on black, and how it was difficult to read. We actually were ahead of you guys on that one. I had a laundry list of changes I wanted made to the front page, including stretching the white body to the top of the page similar to how it appears with the "lights-on" version of our sister-site Destructoid.
We also are working on streamlining our navigation bar -- though the link to our feature and review content needs to be addressed later tonight. You'll also notice we rid ourselves of the rounded corners and drop shadows (for the most part). We're trying to keep it a bit more modern in that sense.
Before I go, I know some of you expressed concerns over our previous background choice, and I wanted to let you know it hasn't been an easy process for us. We had a number of test designs before finally settling on our current one -- including the design we had up for the past two weeks. Here's a look at some of those test swatches.
We even toyed with the idea of introducing a third color into our black & red aesthetic, going for a sort of yellowed-paper / manga look, and while having Yotsuba (or Yobutsa as some of you have become fond of calling her) skinning the site would have been awesome, I'm sure Yen Press might have sent us a fun little cease and desist letter at some point. After all, she's almost become synonymous with our brand of off-the-wall humor.
To be honest, I loved Ben's idea of color-blocking the site, but trying to find something that wouldn't infuriate our users with too much proved to be a challenge. Too much red would have you guys wanting to rip out your eyes, and too much black left us with feeling kind of naked.
Any way, thank you guys so much for your continued support and contributing to our ever growing community. Also, a big thanks to those of you who've subscribed to our HUGE membership program. Your subscriptions are what help to make changes like these possible, but also help us to grow our editorial staff and maintain the quality of content we've been bringing you over the past month and a half. My writers have been really kicking things up a notch and by pledging your support -- even if it's just $2.99 a month, or less for those of you who purchase a full year's subscription -- you'll help us compensate the staff for all the hard work they've been putting into making this site, and our community, one of the best destinations for all thing Japan.
Also, I wanted you all to know that I've been keeping my eyes and ears open and I'll be seeing about implementing more music and idol coverage!
Hi, I'm Tim Sheehy, the new Editor-in-Chief of Japanator and I've decided to start a short series of posts discussing my efforts to renovate the site. I'll share some of the big plans we have in store for all of our dedicated readers, community bloggers, and Huge subscribers while attempting to address any questions you may want to pose along the way.
First, a little background. I started at Japanator as a Contributing Editor in March of 2008. My first assignment was the 2008 Anime Matsuri fashion show. I didn't realize it at the time, but that show, has since grown to be one of, if not, the premiere events for Lolita fashion in North America. It's been awhile since I've attended that particular convention outside of Houston, but I'd love to return next year.
(From Anime Matsuri '09, don't mind the helmet)
After that, I wrote for several other sites before returning to Japanator as a Associate Editor in 2009, before taking over as our Features and Reviews Editor in 2010. It was a prosperous time for our site, and we had many talented writers working for us -- colleagues such as Ben Huber, Karen Mead, Crystal White and Colette Bennett, and so on. But, like all good things, everything eventually came to an end.
(My photo on the wall of the Destructoid offices in Miami 2009)
I left the site in June of 2010 due to personal obligations and spent a year freelancing before being hired at Namco Bandai to head up the news for their ShiftyLook project. After a year of that I returned to the network in an advisory capcity and while Japanator had grown in some ways, things weren't quite the same. It became quite clear that a bit of restructuring was in order.
At the time Hiroko Yamamura and Josh Tolentino were sharing Editor-in-Chief duties and to their credit, they were managing to keep the site running while juggling full-time jobs, as well as other obligations such as teaching. That alone should be applauded, but at the same time, it made finishing everything that needed to be accomplished into a logistical nightmare -- one I wouldn't wish on anyone else.
(Interviewing artist Yoshiyuki Kozaki at Japan Expo 2013)
When I was approached to take over as the new Editor-in-Chief, I was a little apprehensive myself, but I think anyone who's ever attempted to administrate an editorial staff or a website of this size would agree that the task requires an enormous investment of time and dedication. With the stress alone, attempting to do so while juggling several other major responsibilities can be seriously detrimental to ones health, and had things continued down that path, we might not be here today.
Instead, I agreed, and the first thing I hoped to accomplish, aside from helping the staff grow the confidence to write like they've never written before, was to hire two of my former colleagues to help guide us along the way -- Ben Huber and Karen Mead. Ben is an accomplished editor, and graphic designer, while Karen has gone on to become an award winning journalist and published novelist. So far, from the looks of it, both have had a tremendous impact on both our staff and readership and I'm proud of the work ethic they've helped me to instill in our staff.
That's about enough for now, but I'll leave you all with a few things to look forward to in the weeks to come. You can say good bye to the baby-blue background and purple header text. We'll be introducing a sexy new color-scheme for the site that I guarantee you'll all fall in love with. We also have another surprise who'll be making her debut soon enough.