Go to contents

[Opinion] Government Reporters?

Posted February. 10, 2006 07:01,   


The definition of a reporter is a person who writes articles for the mass media by collecting information. As barriers to the media disappear and the media begins to converge, there is a controversy over the definition of the word “reporter.”

Currently, anyone who can log on to the Internet can be a reporter by establishing his or her blog.

Some say that this phenomenon is the realization of a democracy of information by lowering barriers to the media. As shown in the report of “fake stem cells of Hwang Woo-suk,” the distinction between the reporter and the producer is blurred.

The established media does not like to see amateur reporters who are not trained as reporters flow into the reporting sector en masse and shake up reporting standards. They say that bloggers cannot be viewed as true reporters because they do not report in a traditional way, do not take responsibility for their articles, and are not paid. However, Dan Rather, a representative anchor of CBS, stepped down after being attacked by amateur reporters for reporting unconfirmed information.

“Government Press,” a website that promotes the government, is reportedly planning to hire employees who will actually work as reporters. President Roh Moo-hyun once said, “We need to bring up issues the established media does not deal with and correct wrong reports by creating an appropriate alternative medium.”

A “reporter” who writes for the Government Press is not a reporter as people know it. A reporter for the Government Press must be obedient to the will of the president or ministers and will fight against any media critical of the government.

Under the authoritarian government, people had to watch “Daehan News” which was shown before a movie starts, whenever they went to the movies. The content of Daehan News was uniform praise of the incumbent president. If the news clip was separated from movies and screened in another movie theater, no one would have gone to see it.

No matter how well made, the Government Press will be just another version of Daehan News. One wonders how many people will read it if it uses public officials as reporters and doesn’t show movies afterwards.

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial Writer, hthwang@donga.com