as strong a prejudice against Asia as their aspirations for the region.
Worse yet, the provocative nature of foreign media tends to further inflate
existing prejudice against Asia. Korea has many characteristics which
draw keen media attention, because what most people recall about the country
is that it is still a Cold War frontier and remains divided, with an unstable
security situation. Having knowledge of only the Korean War and intense
political confrontation, the Western audience doesn't try to see and analyze
the overall situation in the nation. The foreign media is apt to exaggerate
the situation in the most provocative way to attract readers and viewers.
Unfortunately, it is a fact that not many foreign journalists in Korea
try to report the actual situation in the nation.
Under the circumstances, the way Cho, who is concurrently serving as
Seoul correspondent for ABC News and The Washington Post, reports on South
Korea vividly stands out. Her reporting has the power to prompt foreign
media outlets, with their biased views on the nation, to strike a balance
in their reporting on Korea. She is affiliated with the foreign press,
but can maintain a viewpoint that sets her stories apart from reports
made by other media agents. This is because she is a Korean national living
in Korea, and can therefore describe the actual situation on the scene
better than anyone.
Journalists are apt see issues and affairs in Korea with curiosity and
sensationalism, rather than objectively. Unfortunately, they more often
than not write stories on the domestic situation through a biased and
subjective perspective. Foreign media headquarters often instruct their
Korean correspondents to cover incidents and trends in Korea that even
the correspondents themselves are not aware of.
In one such example, Cho was requested by her company headquarters to
file an in-depth story on a fashion trend in which South Korean men reportedly
were trying to mimic Bill Gates' style. She was momentarily perplexed
when she received her instructions. She had never heard of such a trend,
nor was she aware of anything remotely like it even though she lived right
here in Seoul. But her foreign headquarters firmly believed that the "Bill
Gates style" was in vogue among Korean men. She recognized what course
of action she needed to take and what role to play as a correspondent
going forward -- to accurately report the actual situation in Korea to
"This is what I realized I should do: correct biased views on Korea by
the foreign press, which is unaware of the actual reality here, and make
it my duty to accurately and objectively report issues and affairs in
Korea," she says. It was something that she could do because she is a
Korean national as well as a correspondent for foreign media outlets stationed
in Seoul. It was something possible only for someone with Cho's unique