A profile of news people working in the Korean daily newspapers

Yang-june Im

Abstract

This study presents a profile of Korean journalists currently working in the Korean daily newspapers. A sample of 391 journalists from 14 newspapers was drawn from across the nation. The aim of the research project is to investigate their social and occupational characteristics, their journalistic perceptions towards their occupation, their views of ethical issues and their job satisfaction. In addition, this study provides a chance to compare journalists working in Taiwan and those in America. The findings of the survey show that the Korean journalists were relatively young with a median age of 34.5 years. Almost one-tenth of Korean journalists in the dailies are women. The Korean journalists are very well educated: over nine-tenth has college or university degrees. They said that they were willing to take additional training courses if they had an opportunity. Politically, fewer than half of the Korean journalists support the liberal government party, while the same percentage of respondents support the conservative party which is the largest and most powerful opposition party. The Korean journalists believe that pay and fringe benefits are important as they judge journalistic jobs. The journalists have a relatively high level of freedom in covering their news stories, and in editing and reporting activities. However, over one-third of the respondents said that stress at work is the number one reason that encourages them to leave their jobs. In terms of job satisfaction, the respondents said that they are fairly satisfied with their current occupation. On the question of if they are likely to be working for newspapers in five years, over 72 percent answered that they would, while around ten percent said they would work in other journalism fields such as magazine, radio or television. The data shows that more than half of the journalists said that they took perks from their news sources. Free food, alcohol, cash and presents are the most favored items that the journalists take from their news providers. Korean journalists have some similarity in journalistic perception on the role of the news media with Taiwanese and American journalists. For example, they believe that reporting news accurately and getting information to the public quickly are the most important priorities for their readers. In terms of ethical perceptions of reporting practices, the journalists from three countries also believe that using confidential business or government documents without permission is not justifiable.