|The Financial district is a main business district in San Francisco, the so-called "Wall Street of the west coast."|
|"I was in San Francisco as an intern at LINK TV broadcasts."|
What kinds of images are coming up in your mind when you think of San Francisco? The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) culture prevalent in the Castro district, or one of the most famous tourists’ attractions, the Golden Gate Bridge? To me, the financial district pops up in my mind, where tall buildings are lined up along Battery street, and people in suits are passing by with Peet’s coffee in their hands. The Financial district is a main business district in San Francisco, the so-called ‘Wall Street of the west coast’. Most of the corporate headquarters are located in this neighborhood. I spent most of my time in this neighborhood while I was in San Francisco working as an intern at LINK TV broadcasts.
During my 3 months in San Francisco, I was part of the production of a weekly news program, ‘LINK ASIA’ at LINK TV broadcasts. This program introduces the most controversial and up-to-date Asian news to American viewers by using footage from Asian news broadcasts. It enables viewers to hear the live stories from Asia and helps dispel the prejudices people in America may unwillingly have on Asia when hearing news from the American mainstream media. Following the mission of Link Asia, every day I logged on to and monitored Asian news broadcasters websites such as MBC(Korean), NHK(Japan), CCTV(China), NDTV(India), VTV(Vietnam) and Alzazzera, and selected items of news for the show after discussing with the chief producer and pitching stories for the show. I also translated news aired by MBC into English.
Representing Korean society, I tried my best to explain the controversial issues from an objective point of view, such as the vote-rigging scandal of the opposition Unified Progressive Party, and the illegal surveillance scandal by Lee Myung-bak administration. Moreover, I always add ed basic explanations about Korean politics and customs to help understanding the news. Even though it took some time to explain every detail about each news item at first, as the time passed, the chief poducer became an expert on Korean society. He was also eager to know about the South Koreans' sentiments toward North Korean and whether the public appearance of the new North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, affects the relationship between South Korea and North Korea. I felt so ashamed whenever he asked about my opinion about North Korea issues because I had never thought of them seriously.
More than I expected, people in America have a great interest to know about the people around the world. Relatively speaking, I was always a step behind the world news due to the lack of perspective to understand other people around the world. Catching up with news every day, I realized that I had been little fish in a big pond. To increase my understanding of people, I made more effort to watch news and talked with my co-workers whose are from diverse countries such as Asian countries, the Middle East, Brazil, etc. By communicating with them in person, I could see each country more from an objective view. For example, China has a serious problem with human rights, concealed by a marvelous economic development. Due to the one-child-policy, a Chinese woman was forced to undergo an abortion of her 7-month-old fetus. A blind Chinese activist who was detained by communist Chinese police, Chen Guang-cheng, secretly escaped from China to the U.S. and revealed that Chinese human rights in rural areas are severely unprotected. So many voices and crucial truths were unveiled. I think it was a turning point for me to open my eyes and ears to the voiceless in the world.
By the time I got used to the work, the other interns and I had gotten closer and had many opportunities to share and compare each country’s view toward the world issues. There were 3 other interns. We were all born and raised in different countries, China, Japan, Pakistan, Brazil and the South Korea. Among the issues, territorial disputes in South China Sea and 2012 London Olympic were at the top of our agendas to fiercely discuss with each other. We disputed why each country are so obsessed with small stones, an island in the South China sea and the intention of the U.S. to intervene in this dispute by increasing military troops strength by 10% in the Asian-pacific ocean. We also had fun to introduce each country's promising athletes to win medals in the Olympics.
Through these experiences, I definitely broadened my heart and mind. I tried to respect others’ voices and become a more open to other cultures. I learned how valuable each culture is, and how values from each country are important. A chance to work with people from different countries wholly has changed my view of the world.
"What do you think the success looks like?" Wendy, an executive producer of Link TV, asked Interns at Link Asia some time ago. At that time, I thought that for the show, success would be like having more grants from the supporters and attracting more viewers to our show. However, I realize now that I was wrong; success is not measured by money or fame, but "more understanding" about people around us.
Park Ji-hyun Guest Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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