Friday, March 12, 2010

There has to be a better use for paper

The Korean newspaper that I look to for information is the Chosun Ilbo, though you could just as easily choose one of the other major newspapers in Korea (Dong-A Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Hankyoreh). What amazes me about the Korean English-language media is its complete disconnect with Korea. If you read one of those newspapers in Korean, you'll get a sense of what the major issues are in Korea.

For example, on the Chosun Ilbo's website right now, you will see about a dozen stories about the murder of a middle school student in Busan and the subsequent manhunt and arrest of her killer. Then, there are a couple of article about politician Park Geun-Hye, North Korea and various international issues.

In English, you'll get a bunch of stories about the planned 2012 handover of control over US troops in Korea to Korean command. There are articles headlined "Global Businesses Exit Japan", "Number of Korean Billionaires Nearly Triples" and various miscellaneous topics.

Now, the Chosun Ilbo is just one newspaper, and the English edition is online-only, so let's look at the Dong-A Ilbo, which goes from reporting about the major stories to a miscellaneous collection of stories discussing the aftermath of the Busan rape and murder, a picture of aid going to North Korea, an article about the debt of the Land Housing Corporation and a North Korean financier in Switzerland leaving the country.

This, too, is online-only, so let's look at the English-language newspapers that have no purpose but to write in English. The list of headlines at the Korea Times is "Allies Ready to Remove N. Korean Nukes", "Seoul Needs Romantic 'Storytelling' to Be Attractive City", "Arrest Warrant Sought for Busan Murder Suspect", "Korea, Denmark Agree to Boost Partnership", and so on. The articles at the Korea Herald are better, at least right now.

Often, reading an English-language newspaper in Korea is a cross between reading an introductory and a promotional brochure for Korea. That's why I'd rather muddle through a Korean newspaper that I barely understand than read about Korea's improved ranking in some survey, or some other asinine projection, prediction or analysis that isn't news so much as it is boosterism.

1 comment:

Korean Rum Diary said...

"Often, reading an English-language newspaper in Korea is a cross between reading an introductory and a promotional brochure for Korea..."


"...that was written by a mentally deficient monkey."


The Korea Times is an embarrassment. The stories without spelling or grammatical errors are stolen from other publication, and their "world" section contains few articles that don't have the words "sex" or "nude" or "breast" in the headline.