Sunday, May 31, 2009

Korean student in KT offers kudos to USFK members

The Korea Times had a nice article by Daeyoung High School student Yook Junyeop (육준엽), who had nice things to say about the people involved in the Good Neighbor English Camp, hosted by US Forces Korea (HT to ROK Drop, where all my comments seem to go into cyber limbo).

USFK personnel do a lot of nice things for their local communities, and they do them not just to improve USFK's image but because the participants genuinely feel a desire to help those around them when and where they can.

Unfortunately, these things don't always get into the Korean- or English-language local press where they would help counter the occasional cases where USFK get involved in crime, accidents, or whatever things might typically happen in a community of tens of thousands of youngish people.

I'd have to say, though, that this disconnect is very much partly the fault of USFK, where in the past some PAO (public affairs officers) have had an unnecessarily contentious relationship with the Korean media. Like any group in Korea, the USFK needs to shake a few hands and buy a few beers to ensure the flow of good press, but certain PAOs in the past not only did not do this, but they were downright antagonistic toward the networks and the newspapers and news outlets. (And no, I'm not going to name names, because it would be pointless; the people are gone and I point this out only to offer a way to help solve problems in the future.)

It appears, though, that new PAOs have come along and realized there is a better way to do business. I certainly hope stories like this will get out because it will not only balance any bad press that pops up, but it will also inspire others to go out and do some good as well.


  1. "Like any group in Korea, the USFK needs to shake a few hands and buy a few beers to ensure the flow of good press,"It'll take more than a few beers to earn positive press coverage from Korean journalists.

  2. Yeah, it might take some soju as well.

    Korean press relationship with USFK generally come in three flavors: positive, neutral or indifferent, and hostile.

    The third is probably no smaller than the first (both of which lack objectivity) and will probably not be changed. But the second is one that could be, for lack of a better word, manipulated with good relations and good reward, and I can tell you that the PAOs vacillated between negligent and openly hostile to all three groups.

    I can't really say much more, in a public forum.


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