When people read newspapers today, it is usually the eyes that read down the letters, perhaps while their fingers quickly scroll down the computer monitor or cell phone screen. To the digitalized modern generation, leafing through newspapers and reading out loud the articles might be unfamiliar, and even seem like a whimsical action. However, a project carrying out and even broadcasting this act as a group was held for 100 hours straight on Feb. 28. This is a record set for the first time not only in Korea, but also worldwide.
This project, named Young People Reading Newspapers, was designed by five university students: Kim Eung-seok (Sungkyunkwan University, 4), Choi Hae-seoung (Daegu University, 4), Min So-young (Pusan National University, 4), Yoon Ju-young (Chung-Ang University, 4), and Kim Hyun-ji (Sookmyung Women’s University, 3).
“We wanted to emphasize the importance of reading newspapers,” Choi said. “Most university students, including myself, read the news through the Internet or smart phone applications anytime and anywhere. Nevertheless, information gained via those means hardly remains in the head compared to that of traditional newspapers.”
The group first created its official Facebook page and made a film clip encouraging newspaper reading. As the five members had acquainted with one another when they worked as student columnists at JoongAng Ilbo, they were able to receive sponsors in advertising and rooms to hold the occasion. The project had two events: “Man and Woman Reading Newspaper” and “Record Making Participation.”
The first event was a photo relay held from Feb. 18 to 24, during which participants took pictures of themselves reading newspapers and posted them on the Facebook wall with comments regarding the article.
The other event was to read out any type of newspapers for 30 minutes at the event venue located in Seodaemun-gu. It started four days after the first event, and lasted until March 4, with approximately 30 participants. The event rapidly spread through social network services and attracted not only students in Korea but also those studying overseas and even Japanese students. The relay was broadcasted live through a video hosting Web site.
“There was a student who introduced himself as a school newspaper reporter,” Choi said. “It was quite memorable and unique to see him read his own school newspaper, as people usually do not come up with school newspapers when they picture reading printed media.”
Those who were not able to participate in person could also upload video files of their acts on the group’s Facebook page. One Ewha student majoring in Dance even sent a video clip of her reading newspapers while doing leg splits.
Now that the members have successfully finished their 100 hour relay, they currently plan to take the steps needed to be listed in the Guinness World Records, hoping to register their first and longest challenge record in reading newspapers. The group also intends to donate one million won to the military sexual slaves in the House of Sharing through sponsorship, in cooperation with the Daegu Citizen Forum for Halmuni.
“We do not have firm plans regarding whether to hold this event again or not,” Kim Eung-seok said. “However, I personally think we can somehow keep the project running by promoting our message in unique and various ways. I hope we are making the initial steps that can cause changes.”