Amateurs and alternative journalism
“This podcast is the only show which is dedicated to his highness.” This is a catchphrase of a podcast, which is called “Naneun Ggomsuda (I’m a Petty-Minded Creep). Four amateur journalists gathered in a small studio, and satire the president and the conservative regime in Korea. The podcast was a new syndrome in Korea around 2011, due to its distinct characteristics.
The traits of the podcast were totally different from those of mainstream media for many grounds. First of all, although one member is a journalist from a political magazine, most of members are political commenters who are amateurs in terms of journalism. The format of the podcast also did not follow the traditional frame of news media. They discussed any topic which they thought important, without specific sequence. In addition, their topics were the issue which mainstream news media did not cover. This is the reason why most of viewers selected the show: viewers looked for new information and critical comments For example, the secret money trail of the president was one of their topics.
At the time of 2011, it achieved an unprecedented success as a podcast. People downloaded the podcast more than two million downloads. Moreover, they received the Democratic Media Prize in 2011. According to the national survey in terms of credibility of journalism, its’ credibility was rated 40%. It was a pretty high reliability, because major newspaper organizations were rated only 17%.[i]
In my personal opinion, it is a compelling example, representing a good aspect of amateur journalism. The show invoked young Korean’s political participation and increased their awareness of political issues.[ii] Further, it covered some issues that major news organizations in Korea did not focus on. This led to change the landscape of public opinion. People talked, discussed, and argued about the issues covered by the show. Actually, members of the podcast played a role as opinion leaders. To sum up, it worked as an alternative news media for mainstream media.
If most journalism in the future like this, it may not be good for professional journalists because this kind of media can take their jobs. However, in a general view, it can have beneficial effects on our society. If this kind of journalism flourish in the future, anyone can express their opinions about politics. Further, news consumers will have more options to select. Easy access to diverse opinions will allow us to share different opinions, and accelerate the development of our democratic society.
[i] MBN national survey: http://news.mk.co.kr/newsRead.php?year=2011&no=778495
* I really want to attach the link to the podcast, but unfortunately, the podcast was ended at 2012.