Fortunately, I asked two people for interviews, and both of them said yes. (I sent a request for two just in case one declined). I tried to choose one for sharing, but both interviews went well, so I decided to share both!
#1. Is it a fact, for sure?
Through Internet and social media, countless information is flooding in everywhere. We enjoy watching them, but we never trust them 100% because there is no credibility. However, the news articles on television and in the newspaper is different. The so called “press” reports specific information as “facts” by using their authorities. So, what can we do? Just trust and receive what they deliver to us? At this time, I feel the most important job that the press has to do is “checking the facts” multiple times. In the flood of fake information, the press has a responsibility to have “critical eyes” for audiences. I interviewed one reporter from South Korea, whose name is Pil-gyu Kim. He has been doing a segment, called “Fact Check” in the JTBC newsroom since June, 2014.
Personally, he was my senior reporter when I worked as an intern reporter on his Fact Check team. He is a reporter who always tries to check whether the news is based on the actual fact or not. While he was very critical and analytical as a reporter, he was also the best senior reporter I ever met who encouraged and helped me to have a bigger dream.
He started his career as a newspaper reporter, and moved to the television news station in 2011. He worked as an anchor in the newsroom, a panelist in the political issue program, and now is the main reporter at JTBC, which is the most respected television news company in Korea. He is currently making a report for “Fact Check” corner everyday, and it usually runs 8-10 minutes with the main anchor. JTBC News “Fact Check,” which is hosted by Mr. Kim checks political statements, debunks urban myths and controversies surrounding public figures, and resolves reader curiosities. Sadly, he said that he is planning to study at Duke University starting this summer, so he will stop doing the corner soon.
The idea/concept of“Fact Check”not only exists in Korea but is also popular worldwide. For example, The Washington Post has a separate corner for fact checking, which is focused on checking politicians’ comments in the United States. Also, Last July, there was the second Global Fact-Checking Summit in London, and Mr. Kim also attended. After the Summit, Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Fact Checker in The Washington Post wrote an article about this as well. “Face checking of political statements expands dramatically overseas”
According to NiemanLab’s “The end of big (media): When news orgs move from brands to platforms for talent”, it is true that news organization as a platform for outstanding individuals opens new revenue opportunities. It means that news organizations serve as platforms for talent. And Mr. Kim definitely leads the popularity of JTBC with his ability in the “Fact Check” corner in the newsroom. Also, as Pew’s 2013 report illustrates the fact that news consumers are increasingly getting their news through social sources, Mr. Kim actively shared his video via his social media channels. Through his Twitter and Instagram, he not only uploads the clips, but also shared the behind the scenes stories, preparation of articles, and personal opinions. It creates more engagement and more interest in audiences. Therefore, I think he is one of the examples of journalists with their own brands. The article, “Risks of personal-brand journalism” explains that personal branding is a venerated skill of “Journalism 2.0.” Even though Mr. Kim did not start his corner to create his own branding, now, JTBC’s “Fact Check” is becoming Mr. Kim’s own branding and representative work in his career.
From all of these ideas, I asked a few questions and here are some interesting/important points. (Consider that he responded in Korean, so I translated it).
Q. What brought you to start the corner of “Fact Check?
A. The format of “Fact Check” was started in the early 2000s in America, focusing on the truth of politicians’ comments. The main anchor asked me to start it and I started it. But there were two conditions. First of all, I needed to do it all by myself. Second, reporting everyday. To satisfy these two things, the Korean version of Fact Check covered a broader area beyond politics. I think you knew it, haha. Do you remember when we covered the strange story that people will die if they turn the fan on? (Yes!)
Q. So you are checking facts, which are considered a truth. How can you choose the item?
A. I consider timeliness, value as news, and my ability to cover it. Viewers are interested in the news that just happened, so I try to choose items that are relevant. I also think about whether this information has value as news, and many people were given the wrong information. Lastly, and maybe the most important thing, can I cover and report it? I’m doing it daily, so I don’t have time to research deeply for items that I don’t know well. I usually cover items that are based on my ability and knowledge. I know it is a kind of limitation that I need to overcome.
Q. Are you sure the content that you deliver as the news is 100% fact without any doubt?
A. I believe that there are no 100% facts in the world. However, in every single sentence that I say, I try to minimize rebuttal. But still, I don’t force viewers to think that all of my comments are 100% true. I leave some space for them to think independently because everyone has different perspectives. There is no area that does have perfect answers, so I am always careful.
#2. The Meaning of Personal-Brand Journalism
I found one interesting YouTube Channel a few months ago. It is called “JAYKEEOUT.” I found the videos and YouTube channel while I was randomly watching clips on Facebook. All of the content was interesting and I like every single theme of the videos as well. The videos are based on experiments and interview people in Korea to ask their opinions on different topics. He also addresses some social issues, and news content as well. For example, how Korean Muslims think about ISIS, or how Korean people react to homosexual drama. I sent Facebook messages to ask for an interview, and the creator, whose name is Jay, said yes! This interview also runs in Korean, so I translated his replies. Here is his YouTube Channel address! He mostly speaks in English, and also English subtitles are offered, so check his videos out! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTQoMLiPfsRLHBJBtMXKYg
Q. Can you introduce yourself?
A. Hello. My name is Yeon Jae Min. I’m from Canada, and I’m 23 years old. I’m running a YouTube Channel called JAYKEEOUT.
Q. What made you start creating and uploading these kinds of videos?
A. Since I was young, I have been interested in creating video clips, and also enjoyed watching different YouTube channels. So, I started to have my own YouTube channel and thinking about what kinds of content I should upload. After having my own time to think about the broad theme of my channel, I wanted to apply two of my own philosophies. One is that “there are different kinds of perspectives in the world,” and the other is that “the meaning of different is not wrong.” These two things can seem similar, but the ultimate thing that I want to show is a concept of “diversity.” I feel like my background and diverse experiences influenced my philosophy, and general direction of my YouTube channel. Therefore, I chose a format of “social experience” and started to run it.
Q. How do you choose a topic or a theme for each video? Is the form of a short video having some impact on you?
A. Honestly, I choose a topic that I want to, but also related to current issues. Even though I chose a theme, sometimes I changed it through interviewing and actually filming with people. I try to choose topics that I’m interested in, and check that I know about them well. Because I don’t want to deliver a wrong message or perspective to viewers. And of course, I chose a video format because videos can show different kinds of aspects in our lives in a short time. Of course, some misunderstandings can happen in a video with limited time, so I try my best to point out as many perspectives and opinions as I can.
Q. I know that you recently changed your Facebook and YouTube channels’ names into “JAYKEEOUT” by using your name “Jay.” Is it one of the efforts to make your own branding?
A. I would say yes. I think in the field of art (entertainment), making your own brand is very important. When you create yourself into a brand, more chances and more power will come to you. It is also for me. I think after I made my own branding, which is the YouTube channel, I feel more chances are coming and I can challenge myself to take advantage of more opportunities compared to in the past.
Q. Today, do you think creating content and making personal branding journalism is important? And, why?
A. Nowadays, it is the era that everyone can create their own content and share to others if you have a minimal ability and passion, which is called personal branding journalism. I don’t want to lose this great chance, and waste this time not making anything. I want to show my passion and courage by making my own content and want to get more feedback from people. Whatever you want, I think making your own branding in a specific field will lead to the right direction in the future and it brings you more opportunities.