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Keyword of May: “Press”

As people are reminded of the impeachment of former president Park Geun-Hye, people usually think of the first report from one broadcast service in particular. The report covered the suspicion that the president might be implicated with a bribery case. The suspicions led people to keep digging into the case and it finally ended with the impeachment of former president Park. Just with the case of Korea, the press can influence the whole nation. Encountering World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd , the Sungkyun Times (SKT) will now introduce movies about the role of the press, and also as a part of the press medium, SKT will reflect on our own role as the university press.

Nightcrawler, 2014

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Nightcrawler is a job that involves taking a photo or video of a scene which could be exclusive news. The main character, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a robber and does not have any job. One day, however, he happens to meet a ‘nightcrawler’ and he decides to become a nightcrawler, too. He takes photos of the scenes much more provocatively than any other nightcrawler and he decides to sell them to a media company. The morning news director, Nina Ronima (Rene Russo), buys the video that Louis records and she states that the violent incident can invite more viewers to watch the news. Based on this thought, Nina asks for more and more violent and incendiary scenes from Louis and he starts to go mad at selling the provocative scenes that he records. Louis even rigs an accident and sells it to Nina. The rigged scene even gets the highest viewer ratings ever.

The movie views the press as a system that reproduces provocative images to catch the attention from the public and depicts the public as being easily controlled by the images on the news. The film also portrays that the media only cares about money even in the scenes of murder.

Spotlight, 2015

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The Boston Globe editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), asks the ‘Spotlight’ team, which is a team that investigates issues over a period of a long time, to dig into the sexual abuse of children by a Catholic priest. As Boston is a place where many devoted Catholics are prevalent, suing or reporting a suspicion about a Catholic priest is regarded as a taboo. Although a member of the spotlight team, Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), feels reluctant because of her religion, the team decides to look into the sexual abuse that the Catholic priest has committed. While interviewing people, one of the victims states that no one gave any attention to them and that they were ignored by people. The victim then says that most of the other victims are poor and marginalized children in society. Shortly after, the priests try to satisfy their sexual desires by abusing children that people do not usually care about. Although the report from the interview and other research is against the high authorities of the Boston Catholic Archdioceses, the team publishes the issue even with the huge amount of pressure on them. In contrast to the movie Nightcrawler, the movie Spotlight shows what is the typical, but integral role of the press. The team and the editor correctly reflect the truth and impose the other side of the outwardly prestigious priest. By revealing the terrible practices of the priests, the team not only performs the role of the press, but also resolves years of injustice.

The press decides what they are going to report on and this agenda setting does affect people a lot. If there is an open secret which affects society badly but the press does not reveal the truth to the public, then the truth would remain a secret forever. Just like the recent cases in Korea, distorted coverage and not releasing the facts in the proper time frame can lead society into chaos. The SKT hopes that the SKKU Kingos will reflect on what and when the press should report.

홍지숙  jisuk2369@gmail.com

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