Doctoral students share about media in their homeland

Jae Park and Saygin Koc

It is one thing to write about a country’s media system working from book’s and Web pages, it something completely different to hear from people who grew up there.

Esen Saygin Koc and Jae Kyoung Park came to Catherine Cassara’s JOUR 4750 International Journalism in early March to discuss the Turkish and South Korean media systems, respectively.

Park and Koc are doctoral students in the School of Media & Communication were actually in another class that met at the same time as Cassara’s class but she made arrangements with their professor for them to be released to speak to the undergraduates. The experience was positive on both sides.

Koc explained that in Turkey journalists are jailed and treated to harsh reprimands for crossing the regime. While in South Korea, on the other hand, things are “civilized,” Park said. Journalists who step out of line are fired, and if that is not enough to keep them quiet they are sued.

Jae explained that North and South Koreans are not as far apart as Americans might imagine—point out that South Korean power brokers have been known to slip money under the table to North Koreans to create border crises just as elections are approaching in the South so that one or the other candidate can benefit.

“It just isn’t the same thing when you read it in a book. There’s a lot more context and there are things you understand a lot more when he’s explaining it here,” said journalism senior Matt Lovett, who had written a report on the media in South Korea.

Park said it was interesting to meet American undergraduate students who are interested in other countries and it was particularly nice to find students who could tell North and South Korea apart. He said he, too, learned from Koc’s presentation about Turkey.

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