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This blog may contain not-so-strong languages and slightly strong ecchi pictures. Please proceed with caution.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Korean Twisted Mass Media, Part III: The Dong-a Ilbo and Channel A


The Dong-A Ilbo (Hangul: 동아일보, literally East Asian Daily) is the leading newspaper in Korea since 1920 with daily circulation of more than 1.2 million and opinion leaders as its main readers. The headquarters of Dong-A Ilbo is located at 1 Cheonggyecheon Avenue/Cheonggyecheonno, Seorin-dong 159-1 beonji, Seoul Jongno-gu with its postal code: 110-715.

The newspaper is the parent company of Dong-A Media Group (DAMG), which is composed of 11 affiliates including Sports Dong-A, Dong-A Science, DUNet, and dongA.com, as well as Channel A, general service cable broadcasting company launched in December 1, 2011. It covers variety of areas including news, drama, entertainment, sports, education, and movies 24 hours a day.

Dong-A has partnered with international news companies such as The New York Times of the United States of America, The Asahi Shimbun of Japan and The People's Daily of China. It has correspondents stationed in five major cities worldwide including Washington D.C., New York, Beijing, Tokyo and Paris. It also publishes global editions in 90 cities worldwide including New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt.

In 1933, Dong-A Ilbo created the very first women’s magazine called “The New Women” (later to become “Dong-A Women/여성동아/Yeoseong Dong-A”) For the female readers at the time could only read Korean characters (not Chinese characters), all the articles were written purely in Korean. The publication held events such as cooking schools and wives’ picnic providing women a place to socialize and a reason to get out of the house. Dong-A Ilbo also hosted athletic events for women. “Women’s National Tennis Competition” is Korea's and Dong-A’s oldest contest ever to be held.

By creating “Women’s Section” in its regular production of the paper, Dong-A Ilbo worked to liberate women who had long been forced to stay at home and abide by traditional rules of obedience from the very beginning. Articles such as “The New Woman and Education”, “Liberation of Women and the Nuclear Family” and “Women and Career” were printed to stimulate women’s participation in society and the development of women’s rights.

The event that made forced closure possible was Dong-A Ilbo's deliberate obscuration of the Japanese flag in a photograph of the first ever Korean Olympic Gold medalist. Sohn Kee-Chung won the gold medal in marathon at the 11th Summer Olympics in Berlin (1936); however, because Korea was under Japanese rule, his uniform featured the Japanese flag. The article showed pride for the Korean athlete and featured a smudged Japanese flag to promote nationalistic ideas. In 1939 when World War II erupted, the Japanese government began a campaign to unify Korea and Japan as a culture. This meant the suppression of Korea's cultural identity.

After four attempts to close Dong-A Ilbo and other numerous occasions of inspection, censorship, seizure and deletion, the Japanese government succeeded in August 1940. The Dong-A Ilbo built Dong-A Broadcasting System. Under the Chun Doo-hwan regime, South Korea's media policy had changed. The regime had closed several radio and TV networks and DBS was forced to give most of its shares to the government. The Dong-A Ilbo gave up DBS in 1980.

Dong-A Ilbo has partnered with internationally acclaimed news companies such as the New York Times and Reuters. They share information including articles and video clips. Dong-A Ilbo also prints global editions in 90 cities such as Washington DC, London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc., and has 22 branches world-wide including LA, Vancouver, Osaka. It also has international correspondents stationed in 6 cities with New York, Tokyo, and Beijing among them. Also, the digital edition of the paper is available in English, Japanese and Chinese.

The company also has an active publishing sector which produces magazines and books. There are four monthly magazines, two weekly magazines and one annual magazine. The literature sector concentrates on translating and distributing foreign material and also creating domestic content. DongA Books has brought to Korea many international bestsellers and award winning literature as well as creating million sellers on its own.

The Dong-A Ilbo has been investing in many ventures that integrate technology into the method of spreading the news. First was the establishment of DongA.com which is the online version of the paper with much more content. It provides space for discussion and submission by the readers. From the success of the on-line content, the company also started its mobile services allowing readers to seek out the news wherever and whenever they are. With recent partnership with Reuters, Dong-A aims to add multimedia services to its methods. With raw video feeds from Reuters which Dong-A has the right to edit for its own use, DongA.com aims to reach its readers through text, images and video.