A graduate from the Chuo University Faculty of Economics, Sumie Sone works as a main newscaster on Nikkei CNBC, a marketing/economics news channel (communication satellite broadcasting) which shows to approximately 6 million households throughout Japan.
Sone interprets ever-changing global conditions and conveys useful information to viewers. In addition to Wrap Today, a program broadcast from Monday to Friday, she also works on Saturdays and Sundays. The extremely busy newscaster graciously accepted an interview by a Chuo student reporter who aspires to become a newscaster. (Interviewer/Student Reporter: Ayaka Saeki (3rd year, Faculty of Letters)
――Please tell me about your current job.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange stops transactions at 3pm. Our program conveys what happened in the market that day, as well as how the investor behavior has changed from the previous day. We provide stock market information and economic information to our viewers on weekdays.
On weekends, I am involved in recordings for the radio program Nikkei Veritas—Naruhodo Sone. I also do narration work and emceeing. This is my second year working on the radio program. Previously, it was an economic program called Moya-Moya Talk With Mariko Oe, narrated by Mariko Oe of TV Tokyo. Oe-san occasionally sends me video letters.
I felt a lot of pressure succeeding Oe-san. I have a lot of respect for her, so I work hard to carry on her legacy and create a program which is enjoyable for listeners.
――Why did you decide to become a newscaster?
My desire to become a newscaster started during my 1st year at university. I had belonged to a modeling and talent agency during high school. Originally, I had wanted to join musicals after entering university. Ultimately, I gave up on musicals, but decided to pursue another line of work where I could use my voice. Soon after making this decision, I turned on the television and happened to see an advertisement for a newscaster school.
Following through on my desire to use my voice, I applied for the newscaster school and was selected. At the school, I was the only 1st-year student studying among 3rd-year students who were busy searching for employment. I respected the newscasters who taught us at the school. Becoming a newscaster seemed like an attractive profession which would enable me to meet with people from diverse backgrounds, where I would be able to provide various information. It was then that I started to seriously pursue my career.
――You must be busy studying and being on top of information every day.
Every day is all about economics. I’m constantly trying to stay on top of the economy. I read lots of materials including the Nikkei Veritas. On our program, we invite expert guests with specialized knowledge. Therefore, I prepare thoroughly so I don’t lose myself in the conversation. My goal is to navigate certain topics which are of interest to our viewers.
I start every day by reading general and economic newspapers. Afterwards, I check the internet for news. I often become interested in events which are potentially involved with economic news. For example, the political situation frequently has repercussions on the economic world. I review the global economic trends up until that morning, and then focus on topics raised at global conferences. It’s almost like I’m traveling through all the countries in the world. Then, once morning trading begins, I get a feel for the market by looking at fluctuations in individual stocks.
My brain is always working at maximum capacity. In order to expand my knowledge, I make calls to interview banks, listed companies and market officials in the morning. I enjoy these calls since I get to cover a lot of topics on the phone. In addition to talking about market conditions, I also engage in casual conversation, asking them about what’s new and how they are doing. Through such casual conversation, I try to elicit information on market trends and familiar information related to the economy.
Even when getting off the subject for a bit, I often find new information which may be of use later on. I incorporate the opinions of different people when deciding what topics to cover on our program. I pick and choose between lots of information.
It’s really a full-time job, 24 hours a day. I am constantly keeping watch on global trends. Even if a certain topic doesn’t get much attention today, it may become a major topic sometime in the future. That’s why I have to keep track of everything that’s happening.
――How did you start as an economic reporter?
Honestly, when I entered university, I never thought that I would be a newscaster for economic news. However, I was interested in how the world is connected through trade and things that related to it. It was quite a coincidence how my interests merged together.
Beginning from 2001, I spent 8 years as a newscaster on News Bird, a new program for Tokyo Broadcasting System Television. In about my 4th year on the job, I told my boss that I wanted to take on new challenges to improve my skills. I asked him for any reporting opportunities. He offered me a job reporting on TSE Arrows and I accepted immediately without hesitation. From that point on, I made economics my field of expertise.
The economy is often described as a living thing. In modern times, the economy changes form every day. The economy is intricately related to our lifestyles. On our program, I refrain from being overly technical and cover topics which are part of daily life. I also try to incorporate opinions from as many people as possible.
――How does your university education play a role in your profession?
When I first entered university, economics seemed like a confusing subject littered with katakana loanwords. However, I was able to understand the fundamentals of economics through my studies. I feel confident even when speaking with experts. If I had started reporting at TSE Arrows without studying economics, I don’t think I would have succeeded.
I decided to enroll at Chuo University based on my experience touring the campus on a hot summer day. The monorail wasn’t adjoined to the campus at that time, so I took the bus from Tama Center station to the university’s main gate. When climbing the hill leading from the gate, I could see the faculty buildings on my left and Sakura Plaza on my right. It was a truly remarkable atmosphere. I really liked how the expansive campus was surrounded by greenery.
I lived in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture for 7 years. At that time, I often played in nature, sometimes making bamboo-leaf boats and floating them in the river. Later on when I entered a high school in Yokohama, I was dismayed by the lack of nature. The rich nature of the Chuo University campus was definitely attractive to me.
Provided by: HAKUMON Chuo, Summer 2014, No. 237