South Korea’s national anchor Son Seok-hee stepped down from the anchor station in 2020. He once led the JTBC Newsroom (The Newsroom) to participate in important historical moments, took the lead in exclusive reporting, and spent hundreds of days tracking the same issue.The persistence of not giving up allowed the news to have a huge impact, not only subverting the regime, but also turning society around.
This book is the first thrilling scene that Sun Seok-hee personally wrote down after stepping down from the anchor desk. In this book, he rethinks and explores the nature of news. This chapter[From Tradition to Digital]records the decisions he made during the digital transformation.In the turmoil of replacement of traditional media, we have the courage to enter the digital era. (Editor’s note)
【From Traditional to Digital】Daum or Naver
(Note: Daum and Naver are well-known portal websites in Korea.)
All the changes in the Department of Journalism at the University of Minnesota occurred in the period from the end of the century to the beginning of the century. in some sense,I was lucky (or unlucky) to go through that transition period, just like Owen. The expo that Professor Fang took his grandfather’s hand to see. But until 1999, when I left that university, if I wanted to look up old materials in the library, I used microfilm instead of computers. My papers are not stored on USB, but on magnetic disks. Not only that, when I was learning computers two years before I went to the United States to study in 1997, I was not using Windows, but DOS.
Yes, then comes a completely different phase. From industrial society to information society, from old media to new media, from analog to digital, and from collection to fragments, etc. It became a hot topic of discussion at that time, and it also made people think about “Is “conversion” a “cut off” from an era or an “expansion”?Media scholars have also argued fiercely that “disconnection” represents a new information society of another nature that is completely different from the industrial society of the past. “Expansion” refers to a society that expands its information capabilities while the new information society inherits the contradictions of the past industrial society.
I agree more with “expansion” than “discontinuation”. Looking at the media alone, although the devices for conveying information have developed, the information has not changed.The flow and distribution structure of information, as well as the control structure formed by information, have not undergone fundamental changes.Therefore, from a journalistic perspective, there is no reason to change the principles and standards previously proposed. To be honest, these ideas are still being challenged in my mind (but they haven’t changed yet).
Perhaps it is because of this attitude thatThat’s when I came up with the idea of breaking the mass media news platform. From the perspective of “expansion”, look at digital and online platforms.
In June 2013, one month after joining JTBC, I met with the vice president of the portal website Daum. I hadn’t started reporting news at that time, and the vice president was from “Jingxiang Shimbun”, so we were familiar with each other before.
“President Son, if JTBC revamps its news program, how about it being broadcast live on our Daum?”
“Live broadcast? Can you just click on Daum and see the news directly?”
“Yes, the JTBC news column will be displayed on the homepage. Click on it to watch the live news. It will be displayed before and after the news starts, and you can also watch the replay…”
“It’s interesting, but broadcasting news live on the portal might be controversial.”
I didn’t think about this for long. At that time, JTBC’s ratings were less than 1%, hovering around 0.6 to 0.8%.I thinkThe most important thing is to increase access to our news, no matter what the means, someone has to see the news first before they can evaluate whether it is good or bad. Although Daum’s market influence is not as good as Naver’s, if our news is always displayed on the homepage at night, I feel that the “gain” should far outweigh the “loss”.
“Then do this. It also makes sense for the platform to make new attempts.”
“We will be well prepared.”
In this way, we started the plan to live broadcast news on the portal website for the first time in history. Although it is still very serious now, at the time, the portal website used the content of newspapers and TV stations to expand its influence, making the original media affiliated with the portal website very serious. For this reason, some newspapers refuse to provide news to the portal website. But we have to broadcast the news live on the website…
If JTBC’s news was influential, would I still accept the offer? Now that I think about it,Even if our news is powerful, I’ll accept it.
Thirteen years have passed since the building of the Department of Philosophy was turned into a media center. I thinkNo media can survive alone. If it is a win-win relationship, no one can stop this combination, and the development of the situation is beyond my imagination.
“Senior Sun, Naver called and said that he also wants to cooperate with us to do the same news broadcast as Daum.”
In August, more than a month before the news program revision was confirmed, the news came from the heads of the digital department of the Reporting Bureau. I was surprised that this was a secret project, and I agreed to Daum’s cooperation. It seems that everyone knows that there are no secrets in this circle.
“But we didn’t promise Daum…”
“But Naver’s market share is twice as much!”
“I’ll think about it again. If it’s OK, I also ask for Daum’s understanding.”
Naver seemed very anxious. Within a few days, the person in charge came to the door. I was very curious as to why they would put the non-existent JTBC news on their website. But it didn’t take long for the answer to come.
First of all, the portal website is also expanding diversified content as it is now. In addition to the original search and editing news, it also needs more new content and direction. And I joined JTBC after a fierce controversy, choosing JTBC News as my first new endeavor, which was beneficial from all aspects.
Finally, starting from October 21 of that year, Daum and Naver broadcast JTBC’s “9 O’Clock News” simultaneously. We were not the only ones, TVB 3 and other TV stations also participated in this plan. However, in order to comply with the agreement with JTBC, Daum also joined us during the live broadcast of TVB 3, and also added a new channel for JTBC to facilitate reporters. A communication page with users.
Nowadays, these websites not only broadcast news from various stations, but also broadcast major current affairs programs.Now the portal not only replaces the main channels of existing TV stations, but also YouTube live broadcastsso fewer and fewer people sit in the living room and watch TV news.
What would have happened if I had not accepted Vice President Daum’s proposal in June 2013? Will I become an old media warrior who doesn’t provide news? This is just a self-deprecating joke. Even if it wasn’t me, the result would be the same. I just thought about this issue first and made the quickest decision.to dateI still believe that only old and new media can survive if they work together.
That’s how the movie started out. When television appeared on the scene, Hollywood, which felt the crisis, initially preferred to pile the negatives in warehouses rather than provide them to television stations. They insisted on using 70 mm wide negatives to broadcast widescreen movies. But such a movie requires a huge production budget, and cinemas are willing to show it, both of which require money. finally,Hollywood opened the doors to studios and film warehouses, switched strategies, and chose to live in symbiosis with television.
Both mediums guard their own exclusive territories. Although radio was also threatened by television, as cars developed and merged into portable media, they have coexisted since the 21st century.
Isn’t this the same with books? E-books are a representative example of the encounter and symbiosis between books and digital as analog media.Maybe today’s new media will become the old media in the future, but then there will also be such cooperation and symbiosis.
Therefore, “conversion” is not “cut off” but “expansion”. Isn’t this a Happy Ending that makes everyone happy? If we just stop here and end it, maybe there is still such a possibility.
●This article is excerpted from “Stick to the Issues and Shake South Korea’s Power: Sewol Cruise, Girlfriend Gate, MeToo, and Key News Scenes of National Anchor Son Seok-hee” published by The Times.