Campus journalism in Korea has been in severe decline over the past decade. Many campus newspapers face decrease in applicants, conflict with the university administration, and decline in circulation due to the dwindling readership. Despite many efforts put in to alleviate the situation, many papers find themselves tangled in various obstacles such as rigid structure, financial ties with the school, and lack of attention from students. Though this problem is not limited to only Korea but also prevalent in other college journalism, some U.S. college presses have managed to salvage their readerships and maintain their quality.
Over the summer, Ewha Voice interviewed professors and students from two renowned U.S. journalism schools at Northwestern University and University of Missouri along with staff from their respective college newspapers, to learn how they are thriving amid a general decline in print journalism.
Disparity between Korean and U.S. college papers
Although most colleges in Korea and the U.S. have newspapers, the two countries’ college publications operate in very differrent contexts, difficult to directly compare.
“Comparing college journalism in Korea to that in the U.S. may be inadequate,” Professor Lee Jae-kyoung of Ewha’s School of Communication and Media commented. “The fundamentals underlying college journalism in the two countries are different and it may not be fair to apply the U.S. model directly to Korea.”
Professor Lee stated that the great differences between the two countries’ college presses need to be considered before looking for possible benchmarks in U.S. publishing models.
First, U.S. college papers take a more practical approach. Journalism schools provide many opportunities for work experience and career development. Also, as the U.S. is a large country with many different states, the regional press is of greater importance than in Korea, creating a more important role for local and college journalism. Based on this, student reporters and campus journalism in U.S. have much larger number of opportunities compared to those in Korea.
The countries’ college papers also differ in terms of operations and size. Korean college papers are usually directly linked to their university administrations, while many in the U.S. operate independently of the schools which host them via a separate company or associations. This can help to prevent conflict of interest in editorial decisions. In addition, most student newspapers in U.S. still have around 100 student reporters, while Korean college newspapers are currently suffering from a dwindling number of journalists.
Keeping this in mind, Ewha Voice visited to see how these U.S. college papers to learn how they are keeping their publications alive.