The Internet Degraded Korean Journalism

Posted on May 15, 2011

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Yahoo Korea news

Imprudent foundation of internet media lowered Korean media’s standards

by Joseph Yo Sep Park

Before the internet was created, there were few gigantic newspaper companies. Their article quality was guaranteed because they have to be competent or they would lose their readers. But these days, with the enormous influx of internet media, there are a lot of online news that just sends out low quality articles to the internet. And this phenomenon has slowly degraded today’s internet journalism standards.

In the past, most of the people got their public information from newspapers. Many newspaper companies these days that have a long history of publishing. New York Times of the U.S. has about 150 years of history of publishing, and in Korea, Chosun Daily was founded 90 years ago. And there are other newspaper companies that have a long history. And these companies provide relatively high quality articles because they have to attract the readers away from other companies. So, if you want to be a journalist of these companies, your ability has to be really good, which means it’s hard to enter those companies. But as there are a lot of internet media companies out there, demanding journalists for their company, many applicants who want to be a journalist but have little ability can apply for it and be a journalist. And as these unverified internet journalists write articles and send it to main sites, there can be many problems and dissatisfaction from readers.

Korean newspapers are still maintaining their influence to the media, but the internet media presses are somewhat powerful these days. But unlike the U.S., the main newspaper company’s internet websites are not the mainstream of the media. The main portal in the U.S. is website Google, which is primarily a search engine. But Korean main portal websites like Naver and Yahoo Korea provide more services than searching: news, blogs, web-community, and so on. As they have a lot of services for the users, many people get to use their websites. So many people who use the internet (almost everybody in Korea) read news articles through their main portal sites, which give the main portal sites the title of mainstream. And these portal sites bring the articles mainly from the total internet media presses, which is the start of a problem.

The problem is that these articles made by minor internet presses have a lot of flaws. Of course, there are a lot of merits that these internet presses have: the speed of flow of information, high accessibility, huge amount of articles, and categorization by the topic. And not all the internet media presses have minor qualities. But the rate of companies that have a lower class is relatively high. Many of the articles I’ve seen from the internet media companies contained grammatical errors and some had inappropriate titles. Also, a lot of articles from the entertainment category these days contain only tweets from celebrities, telling where they get their hair permed. But most importantly, they provide false information a lot. For example, the information they ‘exclusively’ exposed a story such as “Japan’s nuclear radiation material is spreading to Korea in a day” often turns out to be just a written rumor into articles which actually can harm people. This irresponsible behavior by internet media companies generally degrade the quality of articles online.

In the U.S., there are a lot of blogs that provide high quality articles although they are not part of the mainstream media. I’m not saying that all the Korean internet based media companies provide low quality articles, but most of them do. So for the Korean journalism business’s certain quality, those minor media companies should take responsibility, and change for its own good.

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