“While writing articles, I learnt about the meaning of being honest and the importance of keeping to the strict code of journalism ethics, which every journalist pledges to keep.” These words were spoken by Reporter Jeon Heejin, former managing editor of The Sookmyung Times. Every month, reporters create a magazine edition with Sookmyungians in mind. Not only does The Sookmyung Times focus on our readership, the other presses at Sookmyung try daily to deliver the news that is relevant to Sookmyungians as fast as possible. The Sookmyung Times investigated the press at Sookmyung.
The Symbol of Sookmyung: Press
Press coverage at Sookmyung over the years has changed. Beginning with Sookdaesinbo, the first press at Sookmyung published on October 25, 1955, Sookmyung has seen a number of other press types flourish on campus. Sookmyung Broadcasting System (SBS) started in 1967, and The Sookmyung Times published its first edition in 1974. With completely different objectives, each has grown and matured yearly by changing its look and format. For example, Sookdaesinbo went from a vertical writing format to a horizontal look in 1988 after 20 years of following the same presentation. Also, in 2014, Sookmyung lost its English news broadcasting (Headline), the first of its kind in Universities. Presently, in 2016, Sookmyung has 5 remaining news outlets: Sookdaesinbo, Sookmyung Times, SBS, SM-net, and Sookmyung communicator.
The Sookmyung Times is the only English-based news coverage magazine on campus and it is published monthly. In order to publish one edition of The Sookmyung Times, reporters devote an entire month to the magazine. At the end of each month, reporters gather at The Sookmyung Times office with ideas that are timely and proper, and the entire staff decides next month’s topics. For example, for this edition, The Sookmyung Times meet at the end of July. Editor-in-chief then distributes article ideas to reporters and they have roughly 1.5 weeks to complete a first draft of an article. Once the draft is complete, it goes under a revision process that can last up to 3 resubmissions. Grammar and awkward wordings are corrected and edited out by the copy editor. It is only after all this process that the magazine edition in near finalization. Reporters must also check the cover design and every article again. Once this final check is done, The Sookmyung Times is distributed about the campus.
Story of Sookmyung Press
Sookmyung’s various press media have always tried to provide relevant news to Sookmyungians through. Broadly, the various types can be broken down into 3 mediums: video, paper, and online. To learn more about the press at Sookmyung, The Sookmyung Times interviewed the head of each medium, namely Sookmyung Broadcasting System (SBS), Sookmyung News (Sookdaesinbo), and Sookmyung Communicator (Sookmyung Tongsinwon).
SBS produces radio and video broadcasts such as IPTV and the festival of broadcasting. Unique to this club is that all members participate in making videos as VJs. Therefore, all members learn about the whole broadcasting process. It is known that members have endured hardships to produce good quality shows due to low ratings and the failure to recruit casts. However, the keep their heads up, and the advantage of SBS is that it is responsible for promoting and covering all main events at Sookmyung. Members are proud to be the university’s representative press. The head of this media has promised to make programs more active and of better quality in semesters to come. She asks sincerely for Sookmyungian’s interest and love.
Sookdaesinbo is the main newspaper on campus, and it has been in print for 61 years. Members spend their weeks during school seeking and reporting on campus news. They meet every Monday, and spend hours evaluating their articles in terms of structure and style at times until 10 p.m. The newspaper covers hot topics and events on campus. Before publication, articles are reviewed by upper year club members continuously throughout the week end Friday. The head of this press said members say the most difficult aspect to being part of the club is to write articles and prepare for courses at the same time. Some have given up other activities for this reason. Unique to the newspaper is its section on women. The newspaper claims to be the ears of not only women’s voices, but also of the sexual minorities and disable persons on campus. Sookmyung News plans to better connect with its readers by establishing CardNews and a Facebook page.
Sookmyung Tongsinwon is responsible for relaying online news. Specifically, it covers university events, alumni interviews, and creates Facebook content. As part of the university’s promotional team, it works closely with the team to promote the school. Surprisingly, it has about 5,000 followers on its Facebook page, which is easily accessible. Because there are few club members, work is flexible unlike the atmosphere at other campus press offices. The head of the team said all members respect other’s ideas and opinions. Also, to provide information on the Sookmyung Women’s University homepage, members often interview alumni, which allow club members to gain outside the box thinking from success stories, not just for themselves but for all Sookmyungians.
Opinions of Sookmyung Press
From July 20th to 24th, The Sookmyung Times surveyed students’ recognition of press at school. 140 students took part in the survey. 94.3% of students claimed to know about Sookdaesinbo and 89.3% were familiar with The Sookmyung Times and SBS. Only 51.4% said that they’d heard about SM-net, and a mere 22.1% said they had heard of Sookmyung Tongsinwon. Most students said the merit of the various press on campus is that they provide beneficial content on school activities like dance lessons, school programs, and interviews with people of interest. Participants also said they appreciated reporters’ passion for reporting school news. One respondent, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Every press at Sookmyung is timely and reliable. They always keep their promises to us the readers.” The other comment expressed by students was that they enjoyed the fact that Sookmyung Women’s University provides students with various press media. They voiced satisfaction with Sookdaesinbo, a Korean-based newspaper, and The Sookmyung Times, the English-based magazine. Students also said that SBS, SM-net, and Sookmyung Tongsinwon enable them to access information via video and online.
When asked how often do you read information from various press media on campus, 33.6% said, ‘I never use them’ and 31.4% said, ‘I read them once or twice a semester.’ In short, findings suggest use of the press on campus is low. Some students even claimed that they had no idea what the purpose was for each of the types of press or that the campus press should better promote themselves on campus.” Students also said that even though the press may be providing quality material and information, the media types were not influencing the school due to their low accessibility. In order to offset these issues, the various media press on campus have vowed to put forth a stronger promotional campaign. All press forms believe this will make their content more accessible to students and will spark article writing collaboration among the various press platforms. The various press forms will also work together to create events in which students will be able to participate in online on the school homepage using SNS.
Promise to Sookmyungians
Son Seokhee, a journalist in Korea, said “Being critical, you can recognize a problem. Once a problem is recognized, it can be addressed. After it is addressed, it can be solved.” This is his advice to young academic journalists who dream of one day becoming real professional journalists. The press at Sookmyung have always striven to seek out problems and inefficiencies both on and off campus and posed the problems by reporting them. The Sookmyung Times’ SMTRACING reporter also takes on a hug responsible for this role. The reporter not only reports on problems that need to be noticed by the public, it leaves the reader with the desire to act. The reporter does not propose any solutions, but writes so that readers sense the need to act. Solutions only come when people act together for the greater good. The Sookmyung Times promises to keep its bond with Sookmyungians by continuously being aware of issues on campus, and then, reporting on the issues critically.