Korea’s latest cultural export to Japan: citizen journalism

July 23, 2006 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Next month Korea’s citizen journalist online newspaper OhmyNews will launch in Japan, and many are wondering whether it will create the revolution it has caused in Korea.

First off, a few fast facts on OhmyNews, courtesy of Wikipedia and the site itself:

  • Motto “Every Citizen is a Reporter”
  • Founded by Oh Yeon Ho in 2000
  • First of its kind in the world to accept, edit and publish articles from its readers, in an open source style of news reporting
  • ~20% of the site’s content is written by the 55-person staff while the majority of articles are written by an army of 41,000 ‘citizen reporters’
  • OhmyNews makes 60 to 70 percent of its money from ads, 20 percent from syndicating content, and 5 to 10 percent from reader donations
  • It pays contributors around $20 for newsworthy pieces, and it also offers professional editing and fact-checking to contributors
  • It has up to 700,000 visitors a day.
  • OhmyNews was influential in determining the outcome of the South Korean presidential elections in December 2002 with the election of Roh Moo Hyun. After being elected, Roh granted his first interview to OhmyNews.
  • Th business is profitable, with $6 million in annual revenues, and just scored an $11-million investment from Softbank in March

So will OhmyNews succeed in Japan? According to an interesting post at Japundit, the new chief editor himself, Shuntaro Torigoe, sees 3 barriers: 

1) Attitude to Politics
In Korea, many citizens are very involved in politics often voicing their opinions and protests.In Japan politics is often seen as a horse race. Many people are content with current Prime Koizumi. Those who are not are not very vocal.

2) Perception Towards Mainstream Media
Many Koreans mistrust the mainstream media whereas many Japanese regard the Japanese mainstream media quite highly.

3) Cultural Differences
Many Japanese are not comfortable expressing themselves or getting into heated confrontational discussions.

I’m certainly no expert on the Japan-Korea relationship, but it does seem that Korea has been doing relatively more exporting to Japan of content, popular culture and innovation over the past 5 or 6 years. Perhaps the flow will continue, or perhaps the Japanese will draw the line at importing something as ‘serious’ as a domestic news media from Korea.

By the way, you don’t need to Korean to enjoy ‘OMN’ – they’ve got an English international version now at http://english.ohmynews.com

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Entry filed under: japan, korea, media general.

Web 3.0 will be something called Good Editing The great Asian confidence trick by Mastercard

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