World news without borders

입력 2022. 12. 1. 19:32
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How competitive are the Korean media in international and domestic news, which will become more intertwined?

KANG HYE-RANThe author is the head of the international news team of the JoongAng Ilbo. At the request of the Jeju Forum to be held on Friday, I selected major international news and figures of the year. The last month of the year is already here. International news this year seems to be close to us. For instance, Russia’s war on Ukraine is a historical event, but it is intertwined with domestic issues. The shells supplied by a South Korean defense company are reportedly being supplied to Ukraine through the United States.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan made me realize that the geopolitics of Taiwan is directly related to the economic security of Korea. When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman tried to make up with U.S. President Joe Biden with a fist bump, it seemed to be international news. But when he visited Korea last month for 20 hours, 40 trillion won ($30.8 billion) in contracts were signed, and Korean portals were noisy with the news.

International news became domestic news and vice versa. When Biden visited Korea in May, a foreign journalist pointed out to President Yoon Suk-yeol the “male-biased cabinet” at a joint press conference. President Yoon’s hot mic moment led to consequent discord between MBC and the presidential office, which drew attention from foreign media.

Above all, there was the Itaewon disaster. It is rare for a Korean issue to make headlines around the world, aside from news related to North Korea. And it’s not just because 26 of the 158 victims were foreigners. People around the world were shocked by the bare face of a dangerous society hidden in the compressed growth of the “developed country” within the top 10 economies. The term “crowd crush” used to describe tragedies in India and Indonesia were not exclusive for international news.

I also felt a professional crisis when I read the digital in-depth report by the Washington Post on Nov. 16, titled “Crucial lapses led to tragically delayed rescue in a Seoul alley.” The English article had explosive views as it was a Post analysis of more than 350 videos and photos, some obtained exclusively and many reviewed by experts at the paper’s request. Two days later, the Washington Post started its service in Korean. The New York Times also ran a special report on the disaster.

How competitive are the Korean media in international and domestic news, which will become more intertwined? I am reflecting on whether I would have a better answer around this time next year.

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