Junko Yoshida is my friend. Permit me this name dropping. I can’t help it; she is a celebrated, award-winning, and globally recognized technology writer and media executive. Ask Junko, though, about her preferred title, and it will undoubtedly be, simply, journalist — technology journalist, that is. This week, another title dropped into Junko’s lap when she bagged the award for “Most Engaging Content” at the annual AutoSens event in Brussels.
In addition to being my friend, Junko is also my colleague at ASPENCORE Media, where she is co-Global Editor-in-Chief and Chief of Correspondents, a position she’s had for years and which she hangs onto because it means that she can continue to conduct interviews and write her award-winning articles. In the more recent role of Editor-in-Chief, she is the other half of my brain, my sparring partner, a bulldog with a point of view but who could be swayed with well-reasoned, well-researched, and balanced arguments.
Junko is the one who I can trust to buzz me on Whatsapp early in the morning and at midday and even waking me up at midnight. The subjects do not deviate from ASPENCORE’s editorial plans. We discuss artificial intelligence, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things, automotive ICs, power electronics, 5G, 6G (really?), Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Renesas, IDT, Texas Instruments, Infineon, SEMI, Analog Devices, NXP, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, many other established chipmakers and systems developers, ASPENCORE’s next wave of Special Projects, Silicon 75, startups that you may or may not have heard of but all of which are on her radar, which editors need feedback — pleasant or “different opinion to be executed as firm instruction”, as she would put it — engineers’ whims, “King George” (one of her favorite editors and now a “serious author”), earthquakes and other natural disasters that may disrupt the supply chain, and whether or not a specific technology will wither on the vine.
The discussion kicks off with topics like these, but they eventually veer off to the hidden gems of Paris, why Lausanne (Switzerland) is a fledgling technology center, Junko’s latest paintings — many of which you can find on Facebook — the man we both love and call Benj (no, that is not a spelling error), why she writes so much and so late into the night, the technology executives and analysts who she recently met, why she travels so much and sleeps so little, and the sensitive subject of which wine would go best with her latest culinary adventure. As to the wine, we defer to Benj, who is still wondering why he “owes me a drink” more than 10 years after I made that demand. I can’t answer the question because I don’t recall why or care why, having drunk more than a few shots of Benj’s fine spirits. We talk and laugh often about such mundane things and about knotty technology problems that we believe may never get resolved.
Poor Benj has sated our tongues with delightful wine and spirits multiple times over the years in New York, Paris, and Bern. They were moments snatched from the delightful tedium of poring over technology innovations, chasing story leads, and writing about mergers and acquisitions, executive departures, and so on.
Over the years, Junko has emphasized looking beyond the obvious news angles. We once developed a series for EE Times dubiously called “What the Heck Were They Thinking?”. “EE Times Confidential” was another project that foundered on poor funding. In the last year, Junko has led a more successful campaign refocusing the industry’s leading publications on insightful, in-depth, and wide-ranging reports. We dubbed these “Special Reports.” Under this program, ASPENCORE editors, freelancers, industry executives, and analysts sink their teeth into weighty subjects, approaching these from varied angles and developing a series of five or more articles that appeal to all segments of the industry. So far, the topics treated have included the following:
- Engineering a Solution to the IP&E Shortage
- The Day When the Industrial IoT Gets Hacked
- Apple’s $1 Trillion Climb
- Mapping the Future of Electronics
- Where Would Apple be Without Taiwan?
- Where Did Qualcomm Go Wrong?
- One Man’s Quest for a Tesla
- Uber Fatality Sends AVs Back to Safety 101
- Focus on Taiwan
- AI Flood Drives Chips to the Edge
- Four Technologies Helping Drive Industry 4.0
Junko’s passion for the profession is deep and her belief in the art quite intense. She is a great but reluctant media manager whose devotion is to the craft of storytelling. I don’t recall ever discussing politics with Junko. She’s not disinterested; we just argue about and migrate toward the discussion of other subjects, such as: the global economy; if Apple will continue to dominate the consumer electronics market; why I must write a business analysis about Nokia, NXP, TI, or any other company temporarily on her editorial menu (I happen to be one of her favorite business writers — pat on my own back); whether AI can be trusted; and what needs to happen for autonomous driving to be truly safe.
Which brings me back to the award that AutoSens gave Junko. This award couldn’t have happened five years ago. Junko Yoshida was not covering the automotive market then. She saw an opening one day and took it. After a spate of radical cost-cutting “reorganizations,” EE Times ended up without a reporter covering the automotive market. Seeing an opportunity to expand her coverage area and learn about the sector, Junko dove in. Within months, she was breaking stories on the automotive IC sector. It was the same strategy that she successfully used years earlier to become the in-house specialist on China. I asked Junko what the AutoSens award meant for her. Her response is below. It sums up a point of view that I believe marks the ethos of the best journalists in this business.
As a reporter, I got this automotive beat only several years ago. I feel I am incredibly fortunate because I’ve met many people — both inside and outside the industry — to be my sources and willing to spend their time and educate me.
Autonomous Vehicles is a field where AI, sensors, and electronics meet. For me, it’s such an exciting beat. I can use everything I have learned, and I still get to learn new things every day. I do feel blessed as a reporter.
The AutoSens award is another feather in Junko’s cap. ASPENCORE celebrates with her.
— Bolaji Ojo is Editorial Director at ASPENCORE Media. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone, who promises to base his sometimes biased, possibly ignorant, occasionally irrelevant, but absolutely stimulating thoughts on the subjective interpretation of verifiable facts alone. Any comments should be sent to the author at .