Donata Communications has posted an article about a new type of media organization that apparently helped drive greater participation by normally apathetic younger voters (the “2030” generation, those in their 20s and 30s) during the recent elections in South Korea, the most “wired” society on earth. The article by Terry L. Heaton has a grandiose title–TV News in a Postmodern World: The Genius of OhmyNews–but is well worth a full read.
Whether it was genius, luck, timing or all three, OhmyNews! has become a very powerful media entity in South Korea, and the amazing thing is that its principal tool is a Website. OhmyTV is a very slick streaming online TV station, and their election night coverage would’ve stunned even the so-called “experts” at the network level in the U.S. The graphics and sound effects alone were enough to make any producer drool. OhmyNews! also publishes a Saturday print edition now, but its bread and butter is the Internet.
According to the UCLA Center for Communications Policy World Internet Report, there are two noticeable differences between U.S. and Korean Internet users. Seven in ten Korean users believe that most or all of the information on the Web is accurate or reliable. That’s compared to a little over half of Internet users in the U.S. Secondly, Internet users in Korea spend considerably more time online and less watching television than their U.S. counterparts.
Updates and bulletins can happen at any time, but OhmyNews! “publishes” its content three times a day, 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. It is, therefore, targeting a largely working audience. It also provides news via cell phones and other mobile devices.
Staff reporters (80% of whom began as citizen reporters) now number over 50 with almost 27,000 citizen journalists contributing. The American-educated Oh has a history of rejecting traditional journalism, having worked for alternative media outlets before founding OhmyNews!.
We do not regard objective reporting as a source of pride. OhmyNews does not regard straight news articles as the standard. Articles including both facts and opinions are acceptable when they are good.
And “good” is in the purview of his editors. It harkens back to the days before the elite “professionalism” took hold in the early 20th century, and it’s obviously resonating with the citizenry in South Korea.
UPDATE: The Marmot’s Hole comments, and promises more to come.