thegrandnarrative + korean-news   8

[Yang Sung-jin] Never underestimate Naver dominance 
South Korean media are pinning their survival hopes on transforming their print-oriented business models into digital-centered alternatives in the coming years. The monopoly of Naver in the news media sector, however, threatens to derail the plan.

In fact, Naver dominates not only South Korea’s news media market but also virtually all major digital business sectors, ranging from keyword search ads to webtoons to blogging to online communities to video to entertainment.

While Samsung Group, the country’s biggest conglomerate, controls a wide range of offline businesses, Naver is seen as the online equivalent of Samsung with its grip on lucrative digital platforms becoming more overwhelming than ever.

The origin of Naver’s corporate history traces back to Samsung. In 1997, Naver was created as an in-house startup of Samsung SDS, the IT service arm of Samsung Group. It was just a small startup; now it’s a behemoth in Korea with an annual ad revenue of nearly 3 trillion won ($2.53 billion) -- twice the combined revenue of the 3,700 newspapers in South Korea.

Naver’s reach is not limited to Korea. It is the parent company of Line, known for the Line messaging app in Japan. And guess which company developed Snapchat clone Snow? Hint: it starts with “N” and ends with “r.”

Back to Korean media companies. Years ago, Korean newspapers held the terribly misguided belief that providing news to Naver and other portals would lead to greater influence and profits. Naver skillfully promoted its own portal services by incorporating all the news content from major media outlets. Naver users were happy because they could read news on Naver for free and without bothering to visit individual media sites.

As the trend in favor of Naver’s all-in-one news service continued, Korean online users no longer pay attention to individual media companies or their brands. They remember reading news items on Naver, but could not tell you where they came from.

Naturally, local newspapers, already beset by the declining print ad revenue, attempted to pull out of the shackles of Naver by introducing premium news services and overhauling their cluttered websites. The result was complete failure. No Korean newspaper has successfully launched a paid news service yet. News is largely consumed free of charge on Naver and second-ranked Daum. Newspapers, broadcasters and magazines willy-nilly continue to provide their content to Naver for a meager monthly fee.

A couple of changes, meanwhile, are afoot in and outside of Korea, signaling that Naver’s monopoly has gone too far and a set of measures must be taken. First, Google is trying to handle a platform neutrality issue in Europe, as it was slapped with a huge fine by the European Commission.

Second, the Korean government, now led by President Moon Jae-in, has started exploring platform neutrality. If the local regulators begin to review how search results, news and shopping information are exposed on Naver, the impact could be significant.

Perhaps sensing the forthcoming challenges, Naver has lost no time in preparing safety measures. Earlier this month, the country’s largest internet portal unveiled a plan to build a 10 billion won fund aimed at bolstering the paid subscription of individual newspapers on its news platform. Naver also pledged to share 70 percent of its ad revenue coming from the news section with member news outlets.

The new fund and revenue-sharing scheme, if combined, would translate into a total of 20 billion won in additional revenue for local media firms on a yearly basis.

Naver also plans to offer more detailed user data while expanding reporters’ profile pages on Naver’s news section in the name of strengthening the brand power of individual journalists.

The initial reaction from local newspapers appears to be mixed, at best. Naver’s pledge of additional revenue stops far short of fully compensating for the cost of generating news, and its upgraded reporter’s profile system is likely to steer more readers to Naver’s news page, not the websites of individual newspapers.

Personally, I envy Japanese news outlets, which did not cave in to the free online news boom. You have to pay to read news from Japanese newspapers and magazines. In Korea, you can read news without paying a dime, but the majority of readers prefer staying in Naver’s cozy digital ecosystem, and do not like to visit individual media sites. Worse, there’s no breakthrough in sight that would enable local media to stay financially independent and at the same time retain their online influence without relying on Naver’s news platform.

It remains to be seen how Naver’s fresh proposals will change the local media landscape, which is fraught with problems. One small consolation, though, is that Naver is not perfect. Naver dominates nearly all the major digital platforms here, but its music streaming service lags behind the country’s top-ranked Melon. At least for now.


By Yang Sung-jin

The writer is multimedia editor of The Korea Herald. He can be reached at insight@heraldcorp.com — Ed.
Naver  Korean-internet  Korean-media  Korean-news  Korean-journalism 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Koreans Have Lowest Levels of Trust in Local News: Study | Be Korea-savvy
SEOUL, Jun. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — A new survey has revealed that Koreans rank last in the level of trust in their local news.

According to the “Digital News Report 2018” from Oxford University’s Reuters Institute, the average level of trust in the media by Koreans was surveyed at 25 percent, which was good for 37th out of the 37 nations polled.

Meanwhile, the average of all 37 nations stood at 44 percent. The level of trust is calculated based on the ratio of respondents who answer “yes” to the question “do you always trust most of the news?”

A breakdown of age groups showed that those between 25 and 34 years of age had the lowest level of trust in the news at 16 percent, while those above 55 years old showed trust levels of 31 percent, almost twice that of the younger generation.

The survey also found that the ratio of Koreans who went directly to news outlets for news was lower than that of other countries.

Only 5 percent of Korean respondents said they got their news directly from news outlets, while 32 percent on average sought out news organizations in the 37 countries.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of local respondents said they got their news from portal websites.

YouTube and Kakao Talk were two social media services that were most popular with Koreans as news sources.

Facebook was the top social media of choice when it came to news for people from 37 nations, with 46 percent of respondents using the website.

H. S. Seo (hsseo@koreabizwire.com)
Korean-media  Korean-journalism  Korean-news 
june 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Debriefing: Korea’s problem with portals-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
Korea’s leading internet portal, Naver, is changing its news section and the manner in which people can comment on stories after a scandal involving a power blogger known by Druking. He and his team were revealed last month to have tried manipulating public opinion about the Moon Jae-in administration by posting comments and “liking” stories on Naver.

Here are the basics to this ongoing social phenomenon: the portalization of Korea’s internet.



Q. Why is Naver’s news service getting so much attention?

Because it’s so powerful. Surveys show that more than 70 percent of Koreans use portal sites like Naver and Daum as their main news source. Naver has a 66 percent share of portal news readers and Daum 22 percent, according to a study last year from the Korea Press Foundation.

. What is a portal?

A portal site, or web portal, is an internet page that brings information from various sources - news, email, online communities - and shows parts of them all on a main page along with a search bar. As reflected in the word “portal,” they are gateways to online information and services. Before browsers like Internet Explorer became popular in the West, people used portals like AOL or CompuServe to access the World Wide Web and the internet. Even in the early part of this century, many people in the West relied on a Yahoo! homepage to navigate the Net. Yahoo! was the most popular web portal before its fall in the 2010s.

Nowadays, the search engine Google is the dominant IT giant in most countries, set as a homepage by many across the United States, Europe and other regions worldwide. Unlike portals that show various sections, search engines have a much simpler first page that only shows a search bar. Search engines send you to other parts of the internet: they don’t keep you in their ecosystem as portals do.

In Korea, most people set Naver or Daum as their homepage for when they access their internet browsers. Naver and Daum process nearly 90 percent of web searches by Korean users, far exceeding Google.

After the advent of smartphones, portal sites’ mobile apps arose as Koreans’ main method of navigating the internet beyond the PC.



Q. How do portals keep users in their ecosystems?

In the case of news, Google offers direct links to news organizations’ websites for each story, which is known as the outlink system.

In contrast, Korea’s portals host news stories inside their website - the inlink system - even though the news is produced by someone else, like a newspaper or broadcast network. Aside from the article itself, the news comes with a comments section below, which is run by the portal, not by the provider of the story.

It so happens that Koreans love commenting on news, sometimes with great passion and even malice, and this is a recurring source of controversy.

Based on an unknown algorithm, portal sites also curate articles that appear on their homepages - a decision that can widen or restrict the number of viewers by the thousands.



Q. Why did Naver make the recent changes?

The Druking scandal was the direct cause, but Naver has known the sensitivity of the issue for a long time.

Although portals are not supposed to have connections to political parties or companies, there have been allegations that news sections can be influenced by corporate and political forces. In October, Naver was found to have bowed to corporate pressure to intentionally bury a news story critical of the Korean football league.

Outside forces also try to manipulate the news portals run and the comments beneath the stories. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) employed teams to upload online comments before the 2012 presidential election. The aim was to sway voters in favor of Park Geun-hye, a candidate from then-President Lee Myung-bak’s party.

The NIS and Druking scandals were both organized acts of online manipulation with links to the ruling party. The NIS is accused of having used 6.9 billion won ($6.3 million) of government funds for the online campaign between 2009 and 2012. Druking was a registered member of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and was later found in a police investigation to have exchanged phone messages with DP lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo, who is a close confidant of President Moon Jae-in.

Facebook was embroiled in a similar controversy earlier this year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The U.K. company collected personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users, which was later used allegedly to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the 2016 Brexit referendum in the U.K.



Q. Can online comments actually sway political opinions?

Whether such attempts can actually affect people’s political views or behavior like voting remains debatable. Academics say there needs to be more scientific research to define a direct correlation between online manipulation attempts using comments and actual changes in political views or behavior.

But most media experts agree that portal sites are politically influential because of their agenda-setting power. The news that appears on portal homepages decides what the public talks about or perceives as important among all the incidents of that day.



Q. What are the main changes to Naver’s news section?

The most radical is Naver’s decision to adopt an outlink system like Google. Starting from the third quarter, news outlets can request Naver to stop hosting their news stories as inlinks and offer direct links to each outlet’s homepage.

This means giving up its rights to curate articles in the news section: News outlets will be choosing and curating their own news stories on Naver’s news platform.

Before, the portal signed contracts with select news organizations to feature articles on Naver’s website. The comments box and buttons representing readers’ reactions were also part of the news article page - all functions that kept users coming in. The portal will also remove the news section and a box showing 20 trending keywords from the homepage of the mobile app.

In regard to comments sections, there have been two rounds of changes in the past two months.

On April 25, Naver imposed limits on the number of comments that can be submitted by a single account on a particular article per day, to three from a previous 20. Users also were forced to wait at least one minute between posting comments, up from 10 seconds, to prevent use of automatic software such as macros.

On May 9, Naver restricted the use of multiple IDs by a single user - a method used by political opinion manipulators. The police have revealed that Druking and his team used over 2,000 IDs - most fake - to “like” certain comments that criticized the Moon Jae-in administration, thus elevating the comments’ positions below the article and raising their exposure to the public. It also announced that starting from the third quarter, media outlets will decide the way comments are aligned for their articles.



Q. Have online comments been subject to other types of criticism?

Malicious comments targeting specific groups or individuals have been a problem from the start of the internet in Korea. The comments often spread fake rumors - and can lead to tragedy.

In 2010, rapper Tablo of the group Epic High was accused by online trolls of having faked his academic background and his two degrees from Stanford University. The claims against Tablo continued even after the Korea JoongAng Daily printed his entire Stanford transcript. Whatbecomes, the online nickname of the man that led the campaign against Tablo, uploaded false rumors about the singer and other celebrities in Naver’s news comments section for years. He was ultimately revealed to be a 57-year-old Korean-American surnamed Kim, reportedly living in Chicago.

Online comments are often associated with cyberbullying as well. In 2016, a public official in his 50s was temporarily suspended from his job after writing news comments that ridiculed the victim of a gang rape in Sinan County, South Jeolla. He wrote comments that blamed the victim, a teacher of the three assailants’ children, saying the fault was hers for drinking with them.



Q. Has Naver tried to change its comment section before?

Naver tried many times.

When the news comments box was first launched in 2004, the comments were in the order in which they came in. Two years later, Naver allowed users to “recommend” comments, which affected their order in the box: Comments with more recommendations rose in position. And then people with political and other intentions began using recommendations as a tool to manipulate opinions.

In 2007, it was made mandatory for portals to verify the identity of any users who wanted to leave comments. But the so-called real-name verification law was abolished in 2012 after the Constitutional Court ruled against it. Naver raised the number of per-day comments per person to 20 from 10.

In 2015, Naver added “like” and “dislike” buttons on each news comment, and that affected the order of the comments in the boxes, too.

Last year, Naver introduced a new function to hide malicious comments that users asked to be taken down.

It changed the method of arranging comments again, this time giving options to users: to base the order on the net number of likes, how recent the comments are or depending on the proportion of likes to dislikes.



Q. Are there other countries where portals are so powerful?

Yes. In Japan, Yahoo! still ranks as the most popular portal. Like Naver and Daum, it shows selected news on its homepage but the articles offered at the site are mostly straight articles or breaking news. Media outlets can choose whether or not to have a comment box below their articles.

The largest portal sites in China are Sina.com and Sohu but Chinese people’s favorite go-to for web searches is Baidu - a search engine similar to Google. Russians use Yandex.


BY SEO… [more]
Korean-internet  Korean-media  Naver  Korean-news  Korean-netizens 
june 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Naver and Daum: How Korea reads the news – The Dissolve
On December 4, 2017, The Atlantic presented an unusual article for the US web, introducing the Korean news industry. It described the relationship between the media industry and Naver, the leading portal site in Korea, and the tensions of recent years.

The piece did a good job presenting the digital media environment of Korea, a rare and unique set of circumstances when compared with the rest of the world. However, it lacked certain details on how the news services at Naver and Daum (its main competitor) actually function. I’d like to focus on these two portals, and introduce them in more depth.


A brief history

Naver started Naver News in May 2000, allowing its users to search the content of 15 news outlets. At launch, the service lacked any concept of news curation—an approach that is now standard among Korean portals, and referred to locally as ‘editing’. In this respect, Naver was behind Yahoo! Korea, the biggest portal at the time.

Then, however, Naver followed Yahoo! Korea’s model. It set up a news service team and started providing ‘edited’ news on the front page in September 2001. In December 2002, they recruited Choi Hwi-young, who had been heading Yahoo! Korea News.

In March 2003, another portal, Daum, launched a news service under the brand name Media Daum[1]. They immediately sourced content from 20 news outlets and provided it to users.[2]

The reason why I’ve droned on about the origins of the Naver and Daum news services is to help you see a picture of the contract relationship between Korean portals and news media. The news services on Korean portals are very different from, say, Google News. While that portal likewise provides search results and trending topics, Google does not pay out or receive money. Naver and Daum, on the other hand, purchase content from media companies and provide it to readers (after ‘editing’).

What Korean readers see (spoiler: everything)

Both Naver and Daum outsource articles from media companies in real time. The portals then store the articles on their databases and present all of them on their websites. So, when a reporter of Chosun Ilbo, the largest newspaper company in Korea, writes and posts and article, the same piece can be seen on ‘chosun.com’, ‘news.naver.com’ and ‘media.daum.net’.

This holds for every other newspaper and broadcasting company in contract. To paint a better picture, imagine this: being able to read almost every important news article in real time from USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News Channel, USA Network, and AP News—all on one website, in one standardized layout. For free.

Portals vs Media

There are mainly two types of contracts between portals and media companies. The first is what we’ve seen above, through which a media company sells content to a portal, for use on the portal’s news service. The second type is for search results. When a media company and a portal agree to this, articles from the media company become searchable on the portal. So the agreements make it possible to read (type 1) or search (type 2) the articles on a portal. Partners on the first type of contract are called “in-link partners”; those on the second, “search partners”.

Of course, this rather peculiar set of relationships hasn’t been like this from the start. It has been reached through a long period of collaboration and arguments between Naver, Daum, Yahoo! Korea, other now-disappeared portals, and a number of key media companies.

Anyway, in around 2005 it became indisputable that portals were the primary channels for news consumption in Korea. People read news on portals and searched news on portals. When a media company launched, one of its first missions was to establish partnerships with portals; if it didn’t, people would never discover its content. Once any type of partnership was established, the media site traffic was expected to soar.


‘News abusing’ and the fight for quality

Tensions and conflicts ensued, between two groups: media companies, media academia, civic groups, politicians on one broad team, and portal operators on the other. We can find numerous articles illustrating the controversies, such as Portals Should Realize Their Social Responsibility in 2005, Politics Trying to Tame Portals in 2006, E-Power, Portals: Media Out of Control in 2007, and Algorithmic Recommendations” vs “Regulation Needed” Portal News Debate in 2017.

In September 2017, Korea Press Foundation released a meticulous research paper illustrating the conflicts surrounding portal news services.[3] The foundation posited six fronts on which media allies and portals fight: contract fees, innovation, advertorials, responsibility for the decline in journalism quality, ‘news abusing’, and the Committee for the Evaluation of News Partnership. I’ll focus here on the final three.

1) On the aspect of journalism quality, media companies argue that the domination of news distribution by portals has devastated the media environment and diminished journalism. They claim that, in luring news producers into clickbait wars for visitors and traffic, portals have caused a vicious cycle in which media companies fail to secure profits to invest in high quality content.

2) Following on from the quality matter, there arises the most peculiar and unique media problem of Korea: ‘news abusing’. Such abuse is defined as duplicating articles in order to increase their frequency in search results and, thereby, earn clicks.[4]

On December 5, 2015, an entertainment outlet alleged that a famous foreign chef in Korea had forged his qualifications. Two days later, it turned out that the report was not true and the outlet posted a correction article.

The story of a popular chef’s career forgery must have been attractive. From December 5 to 7, 231 articles were published containing almost identical structures and words. When a user searched for the chef’s name, they saw something like this:

Two arguments coexist. With the rapid changes in the advertising market and media environment, media companies are finding it difficult to generate revenue from traditional business models and are forced into “news abusing” in order to earn traffic. On the other hand, some observers point to how changes to portal news services have contributed to the problem of abuse. Indeed, many are calling for portals to be held responsible too.

3) After a decade of conflict and debate on the responsibility issues mentioned above and questions over the right of portals to manage partnerships, in 2015, Naver and Kakao (the operator of both Daum and the country’s single dominant messaging service, KakaoTalk) agreed to establish an independent committee, the Committee for the Evaluation of News Partnership. The Atlantic described it this way:

The committee has two key functions. The first is to evaluate which new outlets can supply news to portal sites. The second is to penalize news outlets that violate contract conditions, such as publishing sponsored or violent content, or clickbait.

Put another way : the committee decides not only which media companies can make contracts with portal sites, but also which should be expelled from portal news services or search results. The 30 committee members are appointed by 15 organizations such as the Korea Broadcasting Association, the Korea Newspaper Association, and the Korea Press Foundation.

However, as with oversight committees in any country, the existence of one does not guarantee all problems solved. This is why the Korea Press Foundation includes this committee on its list of six battle fronts. In its paper, the foundation details both the criticism over portals being allowed to delegate their responsibilities to another organization, and the doubts over the ability of a committee comprising direct stakeholders to make a fair evaluation that all media companies can accept.[5]


AI is here

Naver and Daum have maintained market dominance in spite of the controversies. And they have improved on quality with the help of technology superior to that of traditional media companies.

The services employ a variety of technologies, but all eyes are now on artificial intelligence. AI has the potential to decide both which articles to show and the sequence of those articles on the front page.

In this regard, Daum was the fast mover. In June 2015, the portal implemented RUBICS—Real-Time User Behavior Interactive Content Recommender System—on its front page. Kakao, the operator of Daum, briefly explained how it works on its official blog:

1) Cluster analysis 2) Redundancy/abusing Filtering 3) Articles against the service principles are excluded. After that, RUBICS automatically arranges the article on the front page.

Kakao revealed that RUBICS was built primarily on the Multi-Armed Bandit algorithm, and that they tweaked MAB to make it suitable for news recommendation.

Naver’s AI arrived in 2017. They named it AiRS, short for AI Recommender System, and based it on two principal technologies: CF (Collaborative Filtering, Cooperative Filter) and RNN (Recurrent Neuro Network). CF recommends certain types of content to readers with similar interests by analyzing content consumption patterns.

Two lawmakers recently held a debate to question the fairness of portal news services, with Naver and Kakao’s media representatives in attendance. Both representatives put AI forward as a solution to the fairness challenges. Remember the news article I mentioned that covered the tension between portals and news media companies?

“Algorithmic Recommendations” vs “Regulation Needed” Portal News Debate, 7 Dec 2017, Min Hye-jeong.

“Currently, 20% of articles on the front page are curated by [Naver editors],” said Yoo Bong-seok, Naver Media and Knowledge Information Leader. “Going forward, all curation will be done by … [more]
Korean-media  Korean-news  Korean-internet  Daum  Naver 
april 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Korea's Information Society: Korea leads the world: In reliance on social media for news
I've posted frequently over the years about the topics of news, the media environment, where and how people access news, and so forth. If you doubt this, check out these posts from a search for "news." My interest in these topics dates at least from the mid-1970s when I chose to focus for my doctoral dissertation on a study of U.S. network television coverage of international news. Little did I imagine at that time that I'd be living in Korea all these years, and continuously from late 1996 to the present.

Korea today possesses the most advanced broadband network infrastructure in the world. Consequently, it also serves as an important test bed for the world in terms of how citizens, corporations and other organizations react to the changed media environment (or ecosystem). As shown in the graphic (click for a full size version), a new study by the Pew Center documents these changes. Fully 80 percent of South Koreans get their news once or more a day from social media. 66 percent check online news more than one time a day. The graphic speaks for itself, but I recommend reading more from the Pew Center study.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/01/11/people-in-poorer-countries-just-as-likely-to-use-social-media-for-news-as-those-in-wealthier-countries/
Korean-news  Korean-media  Korean-journalism 
february 2018 by thegrandnarrative
[Yang Sung-jin] Never underestimate Naver dominance 
South Korean media are pinning their survival hopes on transforming their print-oriented business models into digital-centered alternatives in the coming years. The monopoly of Naver in the news media sector, however, threatens to derail the plan.

In fact, Naver dominates not only South Korea’s news media market but also virtually all major digital business sectors, ranging from keyword search ads to webtoons to blogging to online communities to video to entertainment.

While Samsung Group, the country’s biggest conglomerate, controls a wide range of offline businesses, Naver is seen as the online equivalent of Samsung with its grip on lucrative digital platforms becoming more overwhelming than ever.

The origin of Naver’s corporate history traces back to Samsung. In 1997, Naver was created as an in-house startup of Samsung SDS, the IT service arm of Samsung Group. It was just a small startup; now it’s a behemoth in Korea with an annual ad revenue of nearly 3 trillion won ($2.53 billion) -- twice the combined revenue of the 3,700 newspapers in South Korea.

Naver’s reach is not limited to Korea. It is the parent company of Line, known for the Line messaging app in Japan. And guess which company developed Snapchat clone Snow? Hint: it starts with “N” and ends with “r.”

Back to Korean media companies. Years ago, Korean newspapers held the terribly misguided belief that providing news to Naver and other portals would lead to greater influence and profits. Naver skillfully promoted its own portal services by incorporating all the news content from major media outlets. Naver users were happy because they could read news on Naver for free and without bothering to visit individual media sites.

As the trend in favor of Naver’s all-in-one news service continued, Korean online users no longer pay attention to individual media companies or their brands. They remember reading news items on Naver, but could not tell you where they came from.

Naturally, local newspapers, already beset by the declining print ad revenue, attempted to pull out of the shackles of Naver by introducing premium news services and overhauling their cluttered websites. The result was complete failure. No Korean newspaper has successfully launched a paid news service yet. News is largely consumed free of charge on Naver and second-ranked Daum. Newspapers, broadcasters and magazines willy-nilly continue to provide their content to Naver for a meager monthly fee.

A couple of changes, meanwhile, are afoot in and outside of Korea, signaling that Naver’s monopoly has gone too far and a set of measures must be taken. First, Google is trying to handle a platform neutrality issue in Europe, as it was slapped with a huge fine by the European Commission.

Second, the Korean government, now led by President Moon Jae-in, has started exploring platform neutrality. If the local regulators begin to review how search results, news and shopping information are exposed on Naver, the impact could be significant.

Perhaps sensing the forthcoming challenges, Naver has lost no time in preparing safety measures. Earlier this month, the country’s largest internet portal unveiled a plan to build a 10 billion won fund aimed at bolstering the paid subscription of individual newspapers on its news platform. Naver also pledged to share 70 percent of its ad revenue coming from the news section with member news outlets.

The new fund and revenue-sharing scheme, if combined, would translate into a total of 20 billion won in additional revenue for local media firms on a yearly basis.

Naver also plans to offer more detailed user data while expanding reporters’ profile pages on Naver’s news section in the name of strengthening the brand power of individual journalists.

The initial reaction from local newspapers appears to be mixed, at best. Naver’s pledge of additional revenue stops far short of fully compensating for the cost of generating news, and its upgraded reporter’s profile system is likely to steer more readers to Naver’s news page, not the websites of individual newspapers.

Personally, I envy Japanese news outlets, which did not cave in to the free online news boom. You have to pay to read news from Japanese newspapers and magazines. In Korea, you can read news without paying a dime, but the majority of readers prefer staying in Naver’s cozy digital ecosystem, and do not like to visit individual media sites. Worse, there’s no breakthrough in sight that would enable local media to stay financially independent and at the same time retain their online influence without relying on Naver’s news platform.

It remains to be seen how Naver’s fresh proposals will change the local media landscape, which is fraught with problems. One small consolation, though, is that Naver is not perfect. Naver dominates nearly all the major digital platforms here, but its music streaming service lags behind the country’s top-ranked Melon. At least for now.


By Yang Sung-jin

The writer is multimedia editor of The Korea Herald. He can be reached at insight@heraldcorp.com — Ed.
Naver  Korean-news  Korean-media  Korean-internet 
july 2017 by thegrandnarrative
In Rumor We Trust: Proliferating Fake News in South Korea
South Koreans are used to hearing sentences that end in hadeora, a verb meaning “it is said that….” This particular way of phrasing is something of a cop-out, though. It conveys information without taking ownership of the fact. And given that Korean verbs do not require a subject, it is not clear most of the time whom the information is from.

Examples:

“Actor X sexually assaulted a woman…hadeora.”

“The neighbor’s kid is winning all kinds of prizes without going to hagwon or getting private lessons…hadeora.”

“The president was meeting her lover on the day of the Sewol sinking…hadeora.”

(The last allegation, about the president, was eventually mentioned in the dailies Chosun Ilbo and Sankei – South Korean and Japanese newspapers respectively. But I first heard it from my mother, who in turn had heard it from her friends, before media reported it. That rumor, however, has not been substantiated.)

In all three cases the suffix –hadeora indicates that the preceding statement is hearsay. Yet the brevity of that important cue means that in the course of the conversation, far more importance is placed on the allegation itself than the unconfirmed nature of the story. Ask who the source of this news is, and the person is likely to say, “I don’t know, I heard it somewhere.” Whether a family member, a friend or the mother of one’s child’s classmate, that someone can end up being not so authoritative after all.
Korean-news  Korean-media  Korean-fake-news  Korean-journalism 
february 2017 by thegrandnarrative

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