Pub. Date: May. 2006
Paperback: 455 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 8.86 x 5.98 x 1.18
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About This Book
The foreign correspondent---covering the news in far off lands, often in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. It's a tough and often thankless job, where writers are far from home, at times culturally isolated, pressed by editors and deadlines, occasionally mocked by resentful local reporters, harassed by authorities and forced to keep up with the complex happening and events around them. Yet it is through their perseverance, determination and sacrifice that we can follow events on the other side of the globe, be it human interest stories in African villages or the scenes of carnage and war in Baghdad.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club, the rather unassuming lounge in the upper floors of the Seoul Press Center where foreign correspondents often meet to unwind after a tough week of following Dynamic Korea, veteran foreign correspondent Donald Kirk, who has been in and out of Korea since 1972, and International Herald Tribune correspondent Choe Sang Hun have compiled "Korea Witness: 135 Years of War, Crisis and News in the Land of the Morning Calm." The work follows the long, illustrious and at times difficult path walked by generations of foreign correspondents who have come to Korea since 1871, when photographer Felice Beato became the first one when he landed with invading U.S. troops on Ganghwa Island.
At 455 pages, it's a hefty work, but one that Korean history buffs and/or students of journalism will eat up in no time flat. It's broken into eight sections, covering the history of foreign journalism in Korea from the first modern Western contacts with Korea at the close of the 19th century straight up to the present day. To say that the stories contained within are fascinating would be a major understatement. Follow Western correspondents as they covered the clashing armies of the Russo-Japanese, including Jack London's not-so-pleasant tour as a war correspondent. Read Choe Sang Hun recall how he---then a correspondent with AP---broke in 1999 the story of the killing of refugees by U.S. troops at Nogun-ri during the Korean War. Students of modern Korean history will no doubt want to read German journalist and cameraman Juergen Hinzpeter's account of covering the 1980 Gwangju Uprising. Or for that matter, Michael Breen's account of his trip to North Korea for late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's third and last foreign press interview. Lesser-discussed issues---Japanese coverage of Korea during the colonial period, for instance---are also examined, making a read of the compilation an extremely rich and rewarding experience.
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