Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Tiger Times - Student Journalists in Seoul

I want to give a shout out to some young journalists I met at Seoul International School last week. I visited an intro-to-journalism class led by Carolyn Brown, a sharp and enthusiastic teacher. And I was really impressed by her students' insightful questions about the writing process, changes to the newspaper industry and, especially, journalism ethics (They knew who Janet Cooke was!).

Scouring the latest edition of Tiger Times
I also got to meet the staff of the Tiger Times. The students had just received shipment of their latest issue - hot off the presses. True to neurotic journalist form, they scoured the stories, not in appreciation, but in search of errors. "That should have been in italics," one moaned. "This picture is way too pixelated," said another.

Some recent headlines in the Tiger Times:
"Mr. Hong's Departure Surprises Students," "Tapping Teenage Smoking," "Students and Faculty Admit to Facebook Addiction."

There is a photo of the month and a regular "cooking made easy" feature.

At least one story took students into the working class neighborhood surrounding their exclusive campus. Last year, a few reporters explored a village of squatters down the road, where about 80 families live in sub-standard housing. The village was originally designated as an agricultural area, but its proximity to a sewage system has made it difficult to grow plants. In addition to poor water quality, the village is susceptible to frequent fires due to gas leaks, and many residents don't have proper bathrooms.

A year later, the story is having some impact. The school's Habitat for Humanity club is applying for a $25,000 grant to help improve living conditions in the village and they are proposing that the school hold a spring-time fundraiser to match that sum. Good luck!

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