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  1. 2008.09.17 Citizen Journalism Through One-Person Media In Korea (2)

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Sub Title : A Reporter’s View on One-Person Media

How would a reporter from traditional news company thinks about the situation treathening their dominant area in news gathering? Choi has a lot of opinions about one-person media and through a lot of experience in the academic from he also listens to what citizen thinks. It seemed like he has some solutions to this matter. The Hanyang Journal asked how he thinks.

Q What is your perspective on personal reporters and online journalism that took place in the recent candlelight vigil? We would appreciate it if you explain this question related to the characteristics of the candlelight vigil.

A In the recent candlelight vigil, it is being evaluated not as a political purpose but as a group-gathering who realized the problem in the current situation.

In other words, people who had interest in a certain issue gathered in one place to express their thoughts and feelings. Thus, this event is not a completely new. Simply the stage changed but discussing one’s opinion with others in an offline environment can be often seen.

For example, there is not much difference between that and chit-chatting about a certain movie or famous celebrity with friends and families. However, this gathering has been an uprising problem or a limited field of common hobby, prevalence, or preference. The recent candlelight vigil due to US beef negotiations and personal reporters has focused on public issues, which is what “journalism” is all about.

They supervised “power” and pointed out problems. Not only that but they reported scenes or imaged that the mass media did not cover or distorted. Their characteristics were absolutely alternative reporters. They have formed a network by diversely distributing their personal contents. It has nearly been a “Network Journalism”.

Q Why do you think the press does not see this in a positive way? If this whole situation is seen in the journalism point of view, isn’t reporting more quickly in a variety of angles and reporting more in quantity suppose to be appropriate? (like the issue on distributing the video clip of riot police’s excessive force)

A Basically, it originates from their dual attitude towards one person media.

First of all, the press accommodates these facts. In the media websites, they have made a UCC channel tempting them. And in some articles, their contents and opinions are introduced. And in another perspective, they say that personal reporters are always not prepared enough, emotional, and impromptu, saying they are dangerous. Thus, the press does not rely on their work and devalues their content.

However, in some cases, the press is taking in the personal reporter’s reference as reliable content. In some newspapers during the candlelight vigil, they modified some of their tone. In the commercial boycott, they proved that they have the power. In one way, they said that people needed to get together whereas in another way, they needed to control the people so that they do not grow too big. In other words, the press is not aware of the characteristics of the internet platform.

For example, even though they have a certain tone in the newspaper, they need to have a different strategy in be able to manage all the different opinions in the internet version.

Q In order for personal reporters to grow, what kind of effort is required?

A For personal reporters to grow, firstly, complete content is necessary. It is difficult to gather news sources on the spot but high quality content is necessary to deliver precise information. Incomplete articles by personal reporters will hold back the possible development of personal reporters.

Secondly, reliable information needs to be guaranteed. The content of individual uploads need to be clear from any fault in morality. Thirdly, various opinions need to be formed. There has been recently a conflict between the CEO Oh Yeon-ho of OhmyNews and few portal application in the blogs. It was whether the blogs under portal sites can continue to exist. Portal sites are commercial business and Oh’s opinion is persuasive in a way that blogs cannot stand neutral on public issues. A platform that collects different opinions needs to be updated constantly. Besides this case, personal reporters’ identity needs to be organized.

Blogs have the characteristic of being able to upload one’s opinion freely, but it does not fit the media’s characteristics if single opinion repeats itself. There is not always a must for blogs to present current events or public issues but it needs to prove what the contents are and whether it is presented in a uniformed way. This is the way personal reports can develop into a responsible medium and be reliable.

Q What does it mean by amateur press being the professional press and is it possible for online journalist to become a professional one?

A OhmyNews is organized with citizen reporters and they are developing into a press. Few influential bloggers act as professional reporters. The problem is that in order for amateur journalists like blogs to grow, our society needs a mature attitude toward the new voices of these people.

For example, for citizen journalism to stabilize, previous media and pre-existing press need to cooperate. Their voices need to be acknowledged. In addition, social interest is necessary. Education in journalism is required. There may be some groups who want to avoid certain public issues to be brought out in the open. There may be attempts to limit uncontrollable networks.

This can by the future conflict that might arise. What is important is that not only bloggers but also our society’s journalist need to have rational wisdom to guide amatured medium.

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Q What positive effect do press groups such as the personal reporters and online journalism have in democracy?

A Firstly, it has an optimistic view of being able to present a social minority’s voice. Secondly, issues the press cannot deal with can rise. Thirdly, they have actual effect such as criticizing, observing, etc. on various fields. But, imprecise information or emotionally over-reacting to some issues can be put out. However, the network has the ability to regenerate or elaborate on good contents whereas dropping bad ones. And a variety of gate-keeping (recommendation, reports, etc.) systems is crucial in allowing it. Networks that are run by collective intelligence can present a dramatic online journalism for its positive characteristics.

Q We would be grateful for you to advise the way college students need to think about these press groups.

A College students are learning students. They need to be able to focus on learning. They should not have pride and prejudice just because they can apply networks or have the ability to apply new techniques. They need to produce new information in that sense. They need a courteous attitude such as “I think this is this, I think that is that, do you have any other ideas?”

And they should not simply imitate professional reporters or intellectuals. Generic imitation is seen as a deception. A college student-like vision is essential. Because they are college students, they can have different perspectives and content.

For example, it may be good to say historical facts related to whether 60th anniversary of the foundation is correct or not but it is better to express college student’s viewpoint.

College students need to approach the internet public opinion as a way to learning something in it. Having a biased, emotional perspective on a certain theory is not right. It would be better to see things after taking a step back on an issue and in an unbiased way. Other advice I can give is that a historical vision is necessary. Not only seeing things in the short term but visualizing things for the society’s future or our nation’s future is taking one step ahead.

Q For personal reporters and online journalists to stand up for themselves, what is needed for them to do?

A Firstly, for online journalists, they need to be capable of storytelling through the multi-media. Simply writing articles are good but they need to know what is the most effective way is for them to effectively express their news. That can be done by one minute video clip, tables or images, and photos. Flash media is also good. What is important in a new story is that not only taking effect of online characteristics of the media but managing content that can bring up as many people who sympathizes the content. Secondly, it needs to be mutual. Communication needs to exist endlessly. Analyzing one’s own theory without any gain of sympathy from others, it is unnecessary.

Thirdly, the content needs to be managed continuously. Re-reporting news, revising other’s opinion and questions is necessary. Lastly, challenge is crucial. An online journalist’s path is rough. They may become miserable by social prejudice, neglected by the press or intellectuals.

But they need to keep trying. They need to experience as much as they can. Even though online journalist’s work may be incomplete, they need to realize that it is a new form of media is under the process of a whole new communication.

- Translated by Song Jae-yoon
- Source : Hanyang Univ. Hanyang Journal. September 2008
- Image Linked

- Reference In Cover Story Page ;

In America, a situation occurred when a power blogger influences more readers than big newspaper sites. As a solution to this problem Choi Jin-soon, a reporter for the Korea Economic Daily said, “Social concern on this matter should be widened. Journalism education programs need to be extended and a conflict may occur among the groups which have opposing sides. But the important thing is that we need social awareness to mature.”

There is discrimination between the traditional and citizen media. Reporter Choi Jin-soon said, “The traditional media needs to find mutualism with the one-person media. The criticism and disbelief against traditional media should be revised through reporters in deep consideration. They have to admit the fact that this mutualism would lead them to a new development power.”

Choi Jin-soon said, “College students are learning. They need to have more yearning for learning. They should not be self-esteemed. They should take it as relief that they can create new content that is different from other points of view because they are college students.”


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