JEJU WEEKLY

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Interning at The Jeju WeeklyOh Ji Su's sojourn into the fast-paced, overworked world of the newspaper biz
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승인 2011.09.26  17:06:39
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What you sow is what you reap.

Last year, I translated for The Jeju Weekly whenever I had free time. I had opportunities to try different foods and to go to many different events and places, and it was fun. This year, I sent an email to the editor-in-chief, Mr. Todd Thacker, and was asked if I wanted to intern for a month. I accepted it on the spot, and started work the next day.

From my first day of work until now sitting here at my desk writing this article, there is always much to do. I come in around 9:30 a.m. and I start my day skimming at least three Jeju news Web sites to pick out news briefs for translation. Afterwards, there is always something else to translate like ads, information pieces for contributors who cannot read Korean, and etc. Sometimes I transcribe and translate interviews, long ones if I am unlucky, for other English-speaking writers to use to write their articles. After all of this, I am able to work on my stories.

Only on more fortunate days, I finish before the ideal 6 p.m. But no matter how fast I work, there is always more work to be done! It is not because I am an intern. I often see my boss, Mr. Thacker, stuck in front of his computer screen, even during the Chuseok weekend to update the new “Hike Jeju” project. On the bright side, people here are very responsible, but in the end, working long hours is something normal in The Jeju Weekly office. The destiny of a media company.

Before, I never grasped how foreigners working at The Weekly were more informed about Jeju than I, a Jeju native. Interning at The Weekly showed me why. I am always up-to-date. For example, on Sept. 2, I came in the office and found a determined look on Mr. Thacker’s face. With the police force going into Gangjeong village to remove anti-naval base protesters, things were progressing fast and twitter was on fire with Gangjeong news being twitted and re-twitted in Korean. For the next three hours, I constantly checked online newspapers and twitter for any breaking news, translated the info and sent it to the editors who edited and posted it online as they came along. That was probably the most intense few hours I spent during the past four weeks and I was definitely up to date.

My interviewing skills enhanced significantly. I had to conduct phone interviews, not only for my own articles but also for contributors who could not understand Korean. On more than one occasion, Mr. Darryl Coote gave me a set of questions and let me conduct the interview, and was always welcoming to my input. As I did more interviews, I learnt what kind of questions news reporters would benefit from.

Most importantly, I had a chance to feel like I was contributing to the newspaper for many reasons. The Weekly is a small company with a friendly atmosphere with many of its workers in their late 20s to early 30s. I felt comfortable being proactive as both of my bosses were open to suggestions and questions. My aims during my internship were 1) gain the editors’ trust, and 2) be able to write a newspaper article. Searching for my own news briefs or suggesting article ideas gave me a chance to be in the shoes of foreigners living in Jeju, which is no easy task for a Jeju native. Great leaders know and recognized their subordinates’ names to make them feel appreciated. The Weekly recognized my transcriptions and translations in the paper which made me feel appreciated as well.

If I had more time, I would have liked to work on my writing style. Anything I wrote or translated, language wise, are thoroughly dissected. Also, it would have been nice if I could work more on hard news style articles. Greedy as I am, I accepted too much work, ending up overworking the last two weeks.

Advice for the next intern: make sure you set your goals and know what workload you are capable of doing. But still, you reap what you sow, and all your hard work will too. Enjoy!
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