It is always fun to visit U.S. college newspaper Web sites which are updated on a daily basis. Especially during these seasons when the college scenes are heated with the Harvard-Yale football matches, the newspaper feeds really make me feel dissolved into these games, despite not being a student myself. Reading the opinions of students from these newspapers infiltrate me into these campuses. I see these schools through the eyes of these newspapers. But how do people around the world perceive and gain understanding of Korean colleges? Well, I’m not so sure. But one thing for sure is I believe the English college newspapers in Korea should take up this role by publishing more frequently especially because we live in such a rapidly changing environment.
Currently in Korea, each school has their own English newspaper or magazine publications. However, it’s a pity most of them publish on a monthly basis which is insufficient to truly follow and gain understanding of the college atmosphere in Korea. Many students on campus at times neglect these newspapers or magazines simply because they are slow to updates. Then why and how should we solve this chronic problem?
First, we should publish more up-to-date news on a daily basis. Korea has been admired for its rapid economic development in such a short time. Nowadays, Korea is receiving attention for its great improvement in the educational scene. Korea is known for its low illiteracy rates. The national illiteracy rate in South Korea for people between the ages of 20 and 40 is zero, while the overall literacy rate is 98.7 percent, according to KOTRA data. This year, Seoul National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology were enlisted on the top 100 world university rankings. People see this as another miracle and are interested to see the changes that have brought this improvement. A reporter from the Washington Post came to Korea just to monitor and research the higher education system in Korea. In response to these attentions, student English newspapers should stand at the center to deliver the changing atmospheres on a more up-to-date daily basis.
Secondly, we should recognize our duty to cater to needs of ever-increasing number of international students in Korean colleges. When I was preparing for my student exchange program to France I gave up in few minutes after researching on school Web sites. Everything was in French and I simply freaked out and gave up on the student exchange program. Reflecting on this personal experience, without the English newspapers on campuses imagine how negligent the exchange students could end up. It is true more and more people are drawn into this little country. At Ewha, there was a two-fold increase in the number of exchange students. Now there are 305 exchange students attending Ewha. This is a dramatic increase in numbers and the school is expanding its campus by building new dormitories for exchange students. When encountering some exchange students, they tell me they have read articles about Ewha on the Ewha Voice Web site thanking and complimenting our efforts.
Lastly, we should recognize the advantage of English newspapers in not only tearing down the language barrier but also to deliver credible and verifiable news to our readers. There are Facebook feeds or tweets which deliver news simultaneously. But what a newspaper differs from these is that we strictly follow the guidelines of newswriting and only publish those that are verifiable and credible. And this is something we should emphasize and let our readers know.
For the past 56 years the Ewha Voice has dedicated itself in delivering news in English to our readers. And in our ambition to deliver more news to our readers we have changed our monthly publishing schedule to a bi-weekly. We are proud to say we are the only English newspaper in Korea that publishes on a bi-weekly basis. I hope our efforts continue and in the near future we will become the first college newspaper in Korea to publish on a daily basis.