Last week the Korea Observer put on the Rooftop Party for Foreign Entertainers with support from the Senior Public Diplomacy Group, which is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This week they hosted a similar event for journalist, photographers, bloggers and other distinguished guests at the rooftop garden of Mic Impact Square in Jongno-gu. English PC Sponsored Several prizes for a photo competition and OB (Oriental Brewery – InBev) sponsored 250 bottles of beer.
The party got started with some food and drinks while Timothy Gigsley provided some music. Afterwards,Steve Miller, the MC for the event and host of Asia News Weekly lead a conversation with writers Steven Borowiec (LA Times) and Geoffrey Cain (Time, The Economist, Wall Street Journal) in a discussion about pitching stories About Korea. Their advice countered each other, one suggesting letting your own interests drive your stories, while the other spoke in favor of keeping your audience in mind when choosing content for stories.
Following their discussion, author and columnist, Robert Neff gave a short presentation about Accuracy in Western media in reporting on Korea in the 19th and early 20th Century. He commented on Max Taubles, the first western Journalist in Korea, who died of smallpox weeks after arriving, having not left a single piece of writing. He also talked about Emily Brown, an American woman who married Emperor Gojong in 1903 after meeting while visiting her Missionary father in Seoul. Or did they? Story now says that it was all a fabrication by a small town newspaper with nothing much else to do besides invent stories to entertain their readers.
My relative failure at photographing in the low light during the last event sparked my purchase of a flash but it hasn’t arrived yet. One of The organizers let me shoot with his 24-70mm lens which was really strange after having shot with nothing but prime lenses (Lenses that have no zoom) for the past 6 months.Not having a flash still, I didn’t shoot much and let those who have flash do most of the shooting.
The party ended in an honest tone, expressing desire to really crack into some socio-political issues in Seoul and so to continue on that theme we headed down stairs to a nearby gastropub. unfortunately the conversation never hit that mark while I was there but I did have a great time picking the brain of a guy I previously met in Suwon at the K-bloggers tour of Hwaseong Fortress. He was telling me about how he moved out of teaching English and managed to stay afloat in Korea something I am interested in doing.
If it works out I will let you in on the plan.