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Education and Home

Experiencing Korean journalism and culture

Alexa Villano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - I was fortunate to go to Seoul, South Korea last month to attend a journalism fellowship sponsored by the LG Sangnam Press Foundation, together with the Institute of Communication Research of Seoul National University. For three weeks, eight foreign journalists including me underwent a series of lectures on Korean culture, journalism, politics, language and history.

We started by introducing each other’s newspapers and magazines, then had classes in online journalism, the future of digital media technologies and the Korean language. We learned that Koreans are more interested in checking out the news through the internet and mobile phones than in newspapers, television and radio. We were taught Korea’s basic expressions, numbers and Hangul writing. The fun part came when we sang Korean songs such as Arirang, Saranghae and The Three Little Bears from the Korean drama “Full House.”

On the second week, we were introduced to print and broadcasting in Korea followed by classes in Korean culture, society and business. Dr. Eun-mee Kim, who taught broadcasting, mentioned the Hallyu wave that is spreading all over the world, and when I mentioned to her about the growing embrace of the culture, she was surprised about it. Up to now, historians continue to study the impact. It was during this week that the group visited Chosun Ilbo, the largest publication in Korea and Munhwa Broadcasting Corp (MBC), one of the two largest networks, the other being KBS.

At Chosun Ilbo, they have prepared themselves for the takeover of the digital era through their mobile news and website chosun.com. We were also privileged to see a part of a documentary made by the company about the crossover Koreans from the North. Chosun is considered as one of the most influential newspapers in Korea and is respected by big companies such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG.

At MBC we had had a one-on-one meeting with Kim Se-Yong, the deputy managing director for news department. While they are known for delivering balance news, the network is also famous for developing Korean dramas that have become part of the Hallyu wave. Their most successful drama to date is Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) which became not only a hit in Asia but also in Middle Eastern countries. Other shows such as Queen Sheondok and Goong (Princess Hours) were also developed by the network.

Our stay in Seoul also brought us to the factories of LG and its headquarters where we saw new gadgets and appliances they will be launching.

Touring the country also gave us a rare experience of Korean society, Among them a visit to Jeju Island, Gyeongju City, Daejon City, Paju City and the Decentralized Military Zone (DMZ) where tourists get the chance to understand what Koreans went through during the civil war.

On completing the fellowship, it was bitter sweet for all as we went up on stage to get our diplomas. The experience of studying Korean journalism has been worth the last three weeks and beyond that, friendships were established.

CHOSUN ILBO

DAE JANG GEUM

DAEJON CITY

DR. EUN

FULL HOUSE

GYEONGJU CITY

HALLYU

INSTITUTE OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH OF SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

JEJU ISLAND

KIM SE-YONG

KOREAN

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