Kim delivers global news through KBS International Relations
Kim delivers global news through KBS International Relations
  • Lee Jae-lim
  • 승인 2015.11.27 13:16
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The department of “International Relations” does not exist only in international organizations or departments related to diplomacy. There is also an International Relations within a broadcasting network, which is Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)’s International Relations.
Kim Hae-ran, a graduate of Ewha Womans University has been working in KBS International Relations (KBS IR) for nearly 30 years. KBS IR is its own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the area of global broadcasting network. It cooperates with International Broadcasting Organizations from all over the world such as the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and with major broadcasting NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) of Japan and China Central TV of China.
KBS IR actively communicates with other broadcasting networks from all over the world to co-produce global contents, submit the international awards, and direct international events. It can be said that KBS is the nation’s key public broadcaster, as it is the sole broadcasting system to have an independent IR department. Although other broadcasting systems may have similar departments, they do not have the same scale or commitment to actively communicate with broadcasting systems from abroad as much as KBS.
Even though Kim has been planning and directing nearly a hundred of international events, one occasion stands out in her memory than others. It was in 1997, when Korea was relatively inexperienced in the world of global communication and relations. There was ABU Seoul General Assembly held in Seoul for the first time, and it was a colossal event requiring all the 20 members of KBS IR to prepare the event from scratch for a year before the actual assembly.
For the assembly, committees from all over the world related to their expertise ‒ program, technology, news and sports ‒ gathered in a designated country for about 10 days to discuss ways to energize international communications and learn from other broadcasting systems. The last three days of General Assembly was the period when they summarized the entire assembly. It was one of the most important international broadcasting meetings to be held throughout the year. Still a junior in the department, she accepted her tasks with great enthusiasm and dedication.
What made Kim a valuable asset to the department was her language skills, which comes from years of living abroad. When she was in middle school, she followed her father to Japan without knowing Japanese at all. Although she had some trouble adjusting to the Japanese culture and language, after two years of living in the country she became fluent at it. On the other hand, since she majored in English Literature at Ewha, she became confident in her English skills when she and her husband went to U.S. to acquire his degree. In the United States, she mastered English as well, and her fluency in two languages has been a tremendous help in dealing with works related to IR.
However, Kim admitted that her work was not that easy. When she was comparably a new employee, she had to translate Japanese for the CEO. She was confident about her language skills, but she became nervous and fell short of successfully completing her task. Her decreased confidence led to continuance of mistakes.
“At first, I was very depressed which made me make more mistakes throughout my junior years,” Kim said. “But, thinking back, those experiences have led me become who I am today.”
Working steadily in one department for 28 years is no small feat, and Kim admits she had her difficulties balancing work and family.
 “As a working mother, I had to raise two children and work full-time,” Kim said. “I regretted spending less time with my family and children. But my husband and my children were very understanding about my work, and my kids were proud that their mother could work in KBS IR and represent KBS among other overseas broadcasts.”
Kim is also the president of the KBS Ewha Media Association which consists of nearly 80 Ewha alumnae working in KBS. The association holds two annual banquets, and this year Ewha president Choi Kyung-hee came to Yeouido to discuss ways to enhance the network between the school and KBS. In the discussion, the president mentioned that the year 2016 is the university’s 130th year anniversary, and the association decided to have talent donation to contribute to the celebration of the anniversary. Specific plans will be discussed in the following spring.
“Besides annual banquets, the association tries to share diverse information to keep the network alive between KBS alumnae, such as congratulating one’s promotion or the admission of new recruits,” Kim said.
When asked about how Kim was able to steadily work in KBS IR for nearly 30 years, Kim knowingly smiled.
“I want to say that although careers related to media are receiving much spotlight nowadays, they are tough jobs, and many of them even affect one’s health due to pressure and stress,” Kim said. “However, I believe those careers are popular because they contribute to the betterment of the society and guide it to the right direction, which was also the driving impetus that has led me to work in KBS IR for the last 28 years.”

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