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Korean’s Op-Eds Shape US Public Opinion

Posted December. 03, 2005 04:48,   


Lim Young-jin (Jason, 37), a Korean American graduate student at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is known as “the lord of columnists.” This is because his columns have been published in prominent American newspapers such as The New York Times and The Boston Globe for the past several months.

In particular, the op-ed page in The New York Times plays a crucial role in forming public opinions on various international issues with columns written by internationally renowned experts or famous people. Lim’s column on North Korea’s food shortage, published under the title “Northern Exposure” on September 21, was categorized as the most important column of the day and was published along with a cartoon.

Another column on the riots of France was published in The Boston Globe and the New York Daily News, the seventh largest daily newspaper in the U.S.

Lim, who started writing columns to explain international issues from a Korean’s perspective, is an ordinary graduate student who worked in a non-governmental organization for a long period of time after graduating from the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

“More than anything, you should be able to read the minds of Americans. Also, you should know the characteristics of each newspaper and find an appropriate subject. And of course, you should be logical,” he said.

He stressed several times that reading the minds of American people is important. In one of his columns on immigration in relation with the riots in France, for instance, he wrote about his parents who realized their American dream by working at a laundry store.

In short, one should try to move the hearts of Americans.

In this sense, he pointed out that the Korean government’s communication skills regarding the U.S. have been lacking. “The Korean government usually says: ‘your approach to this issue is inappropriate, because…’ This is the ‘no….because’ method. You should put your words in a ‘yes…but’ way, even when you are finding fault. You can persuade the Americans only by saying, ‘you have done many things right, however…’ Because American patriotism, pride and idealism are strong, it is effective to appeal to their hearts rather than heads. Criticizing them and calling them hypocrites will only be counterproductive,” he said.

Lim hopes to work at U.S. Federal Organization for Nonproliferation some day. In the meanwhile, he will continue to write columns.

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com