SMT You were very popular when you were reporting about the unusual blizzard on the 9 o’clock Korean news program. You were covered with snow and looked very cold, yet you managed to go on with your report. Some people call this professionalism. Could you explain about the event from your perspective?
PARK Yes, it was a very cold day when I was reporting about the blizzard. I had to wait for the sign coming from the broadcasting station. It was snowing so much that snow started to pile up as I waited. When the signal was finally given, I had no time to even clean myself up. I just needed to start my report because the news program was on live. In a news program, smooth flow is crucial. I could not risk that just to buy more time to look at myself. Additionally, I never knew that I would be so popular after the news report. People were very amused to see me in the blizzard looking like a snowman with my e-mail address below which was “firstname.lastname@example.org.” My name Degi can be translated as waiting in Korean. I think that is what really triggered people to be so interested. I really appreciate all the attention from the public, calling me professional, but really I was just doing my job. This event enabled me to realize the power of media once again and be thankful for everything I had.
SMT Your name card along with the news report was very unique. Could you explain more about it?
PARK My name card was made by a fan after the news report. A viewer of the 9 O’clock news drew this caricature of me in the snow. It is very common among reporters to put their caricatures in their name cards in order to give strong impression. I decided to do the same. At first, some of my colleagues thought it was too informal and mischievous, but actually my name card is helping me so much in daily life. People recognize me easily and ease up because of it. My job involves lots of interviews and contacting people. I consider myself very lucky. This is because I am benefiting so much in so many ways. In return, I would like to give people a few laughs even in a short time.
SMT What do you think is the role of a reporter? Do you have a motto when you work?
PARK It is very hard to report about accurate facts and find out about hidden truth through media. Recently, I have been thinking about what it means to be natural and bold. In many cases, people just try to add more spice on to what actually happened in order to get attention. This is fabrication. I believe that the role of a reporter is to bring out the genuine fact to the public just the way it is. My motto is to focus on examining the truth with objective eyes. I do not approve of sugarcoating. The single most important responsibility of a reporter is to make a report that contains life and sincerity.
SMT Lots of people major in journalism so that they can be reporters. Is it more advantageous to major in journalism? On your profile, it says you majored in natural science and engineering. Please briefly explain how it is done in real life.
PARK There are more reporters who did not major in journalism than who did in real life. Economics and Politics and foreign relations majors are most abundant in this field. However, this does not mean most of the reporters are familiar with humanities courses. There are lots of reporters who also majored in natural science. In fact, I did not major in journalism and I am not experiencing any disadvantages. For those who majored in natural science and engineering like me, we can work on any coverage we wish, really. However, for those who want to continue their interest, they could also work in sections such as science, natural science, weather, environment, IT and economics.
SMT Are there any difficulties that you experience working as a reporter?
PARK I love my job and I like most of the things about it. Yet, when I have to write a new report accusing certain events or individuals, it is very hard for me. Watching other people going through a painful period is not what I signed up for. However, at the same time, revealing the truth is what I do for my job and what I like so much. So, there is a little dilemma there. In addition, there is also the health issue. Reporters are often on hectic schedules. We are so busy it is common to skip meals and only focus on our job. If it were not for the passion toward what I do, I do not know if I could do this.
SMT KBS is one of the best broadcasting stations while 9 O’clock news is the most popular news program in Korea. You are working for both the station and the news program. Not to mention, you are a star reporter in the country who everybody knows. You must have tried very hard in order to be where you are now. Could you tell us about your history as a reporter?
PARK Actually, I never thought about becoming a reporter until I completed three years and four months of military service. Once I was out of military, I found out that a majority of my friends were working in broadcasting. There is an old saying, “Friends reflect who a person is.” I wondered for a while and I had this strange feeling that I would do very well once I started working as a reporter. So, I applied to KBS, the best broadcasting station with great hopes. While I was waiting for the result, my friend who is a producer in KBS jokingly said appearance plays a great role. Thus, I would not be able to make it as a reporter. I laughed it off then, but I was getting very anxious. When it was official that I got into KBS as a reporter, I realized that appearance does not count as much as other people value in job interviews. Once I started my work, I felt this thrill and excitement in my stomach. It was very interesting to interview people in various fields, who experienced so many different events. I really liked what I did. So, I did my best with what was given to me. I guess that is what brought me to be in a place where I am right now.
SMT Do you have any advice for Sookmyungians who want to be reporters in the future?
PARK When I was in my 20s, I thought participating in social demonstrations was practicing justice. After becoming a reporter, I realized informing people about the severity and seriousness of particular events can be more influential. When people know of something, they think differently. As their thinking changes, they take different measures. My job is making me think about what justice really means. It is a constant challenge. The most important thing is to practice what one wants to do regularly. This applies to not only writing but also any other fields that students want to apply. Try to experience a lot. This will widen your eyes and see things in bigger picture. Sookmyungians who want to be reporters in the future should especially focus on organization in writing and speaking. It is pivotal to mention conclusion before reasons. That way, the listener or reader can exactly know what the topic is going to focus on. Try to write in simple sentences. They increase your clarity and voice in writing.
- Park Degi
Graduated in Department of Natural Science and Engineering
in Seoul Natinal Graduate School