▲ Participants and coordinators pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony, March 10. Photo by Angela Kim
The opening ceremony and orientation for the 2nd JDC-The Jeju Weekly Junior Journalist program was held at the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) Elite building on March 10. The event was attended by JDC Management Planing Division Director Kim Chang Hee, The Jeju Weekly Publisher Song Jung Hee, 30 junior journalists and their parents, as well as the program’s foreign staffers and Korean coordinators.
The five-month program, organized by the JDC and The Jeju Weekly, offers middle school students the chance to be “junior journalists” and report from landmarks on Jeju and to practise composing news articles in English.
Every second and fourth Saturday, students will travel by bus to locations around the island, including an April 3rd Massacre historical site, Saeyeoni Forest, North London Collegiate School Jeju, and a Jeju traditional market to cover diverse topics in the fields of Jeju culture, history, nature, tourism, and more. The types of subjects covered will depend on the season and issues of the day.
Over the course of three weeks in February to March, the junior journalists were recruited based on thorough document screening and an in-person English interview. They were graded on English competency, enthusiasm, and creativity. The competition ratio was 2:1.
On every field trip the junior journalists will be accompanied by five native English-speaking teachers and two Korean coordinators who will guide them on location and help them compose articles. When the students complete the first drafts of their articles and upload them online, the teachers will leave comments and give advice on how to improve their work.
This is the second year of the program. Last year, it received favorable reviews from participating students and their parents. In fact, a number of last year’s participants applied again for the program this time around.
Based on feedback, this second program will see several modifications and improvements. Instead of the first few Saturdays spent giving students time to become familiar with writing journalism, they will be asked to compose an article from the initial class, after a comprehensive lecture on the topic. In addition, to motivate students to excel, the editors of The Jeju Weekly will make room in the newspaper for their articles and thus, transform the students into actual published writers.
Most of the staff are returning from the first program, so they will be able to give students the benefit of their experiences from last year. During this second program, former students will be invited to meet the current batch of students to share their experiences and give their juniors advice.
On this coming Saturday, March 24, the junior journalists will spend their first field trip at Saryeoni Forest where they will interview hikers and cover the area’s importance to Jeju. The students’ work will be submitted to The Jeju Weekly for consideration to be put in the early April edition of the newspaper.
Words from the program’s representatives
▲ JDC Management Planning Division Director Kim Chong Hee. Photo by Angela Kim
Kwak Jin Gyu, JDC PR & Marketing Dept. Chief
Different from other English education programs, this is an unique JDC original program. I think English cannot be acquired in the short-term, and this program operates on the long-term. I expect that this program will offer [the junior journalists] a joyful and effective learning experience. They will learn practical English.
I ask that the junior journalists should know the ultimate goal of studying English. It is not just to speak well. Rather, they should use English as a tool to make friends with various people from various countries.
The first program last year received good responses from the parents and the students. The more this program is held, the better this program will get through the process of trial and error.
▲ Publisher Song Jung Hee. Photo by Angela Kim
Song Jung Hee, The Jeju Weekly publisher
I have 10 years of experience in English education. I wanted to share what I felt when making the [English] paper, The Jeju Weekly, with the students [in Jeju].
First, from the field trips the junior reporters will not only practice English, but also experience and feel the values of Jeju with their five senses. The result of that kind of learning would be different and special, I think.
To further encourage the junior journalists, on this second year of the program, I plan to make a separate section in The Weekly titled “Junior Journalists.” It will be the space where the students can participate and put the products of their activities and emotions.
Also, it is important to continue this program after the next five months. I’m thinking of how to shape and plan for the future with connected programs.
Lastly, I want to offer the junior reporters more chances to discuss [topics about Jeju]. It would be a more incentive activity that they present logically what they have learned and express their thoughts. I think Korean students lack the chance to debate. I want to establish a [healthy] discussion culture [among the students].
Darryl Coote, Journalism teacher
It is a great honor to be a part of this program again. To instill in children the importance of news and the role it plays in our daily lives is knowledge that will help them better understand their role in their communities.
We will be traveling around Jeju, visiting cultural, historical, and other newsworthy locations that will not only teach them about the island they live on, but also how to translate what they are seeing and experiencing into news articles, some of which will be published in The Weekly.
A note to the students: be inquisitive, thoughtful, and most of all, be unafraid to ask questions. Learn as much as you can, and I am looking forward to growing along with all of you.
Kim Seon Hee, Junior reporter Park Ji Hyeon’s mother
[I think] Jeju students should know Jeju well. When I was thinking that one way to do this is to allow [my daughter] to experience Jeju and write about it herself, I found this program. My daughter is interested in this kind of activity. Participation in this program, which encourages students in self-directed learning, would be better than going to several academies.
I hope my daughter will learn how to communicate with other students [from this program] and be more responsible as a Jeju islander. As for just improving one’s English, there are other organizations to help with that. It is more important for her to learn about Jeju, a place that she belongs to.
The well-prepared orientation made me trust [The Weekly] to organize this program well. I hope the program will go smooth constantly until the end. Also, I hope more and more programs like this will be made and offer more students the chance [to participate].
Kim Min Ji, 1st grader of Ara Middle School, a junior reporter
A friend of my mother said that the daughter of her co-worker participated in the first program [last year] and it was very good. So I applied to this program.
When I got interviewed [to be selected as a junior journalist], the other [two] students [during the interview] had studied abroad [and did well] so I felt uncomfortable. When I finally made it, I felt great!
In school, I have few chances to converse with foreigner teachers or speak in English. From this program, I hope I will improve my English speaking ability. I will do my best!
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