Reporting on North Korea

September 2004
Nieman Reports;Fall2004, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p97
This article provides information on the reporting techniques used by several journalists in documenting North Korea. Former CNN Tokyo and Beijing bureau chief Rebecca MacKinnon describes why she launched her Weblog about North Korea and how it has developed. During her fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy at Harvard University, she used her Weblog work to examine how online, interactive, participatory forms of media might enhance or improve ways in which international news is consumed and reported. She explores similarities and differences between Weblogs and journalism. What she does with her Weblog, she writes, is a raw, unvarnished form of journalism that still makes many professional journalists uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Thomas Omestad, a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report, wrote the magazine's cover story about North Korea's political prisons, and he explains how the article was reported, including essential interviews with gulag survivors. Freelance photojournalist Dermot Tatlow had a rare opportunity to visually record life in North Korea, and his images and words speak to what he experienced and saw. He writes about many restrictions he encountered. On the other hand, according to Barbara Demick, Seoul bureau chief for the Los Angles Times, she reports on North Korea by exploring around the edges, seeking out defectors and North Korean experts in South Korea, and learning from the tiny expatriate community who live in North Korea.


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