Lee Jung-min, Alumni
Advertising and Public Relations
On February 22nd, the 2022 entrance ceremony was held both online and offline at the same time under the slogan “Separately But Also Together” to celebrate the admission of over 3,000 first-year students. It was a much-awaited offline entrance ceremony that had not been held for the last two years. Someone graced the ceremony as an alumnus of Dongguk University. She is Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) announcer Lee Jung-min, a class of 1999 of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and the longest-ever female anchor of “KBS News Plaza,” the longest morning news program of KBS.
Announcer Lee Jung-min is answering the questions during the interview.
/Photogrphy from Kim Yu-seob
Q. As an alumnus of Dongguk Univesity, you came to host the opening ceremony. How does it feel to come back to your alma mater?
Actually, it was my second time hosting the opening ceremony of Dongguk University. It was about 10 years ago, and it was held at Jang Chung Gymnasium. Of course, it is a great honor for me every time being able to visit my alma mater and help them. I heard that there has been no offline entrance ceremony for the last two years because of COVID-19, and the school has made much effort preparing for the entrance ceremony for students who have been suppressed by COVID-19. Also, the school told me that among 3,000 freshmen, more than 2,000 of them applied to come to campus and participate in the opening ceremony. On the other hand, it feels sad thinking about the juniors who have been suppressed for the last two years and could not enjoy their college life.
Q. What made you dream of becoming an announcer and how did you make your dreams come true?
Ever since I was a little child, I had heard compliments from adults saying that I talk very clearly, and it was fun to speak in front of many friends. When I was an elementary school student, my teacher said, “As you have good speaking ability and beautiful voice, why don’t you be an announcer when you grow up?” For those reasons, I had dreamed of becoming an announcer since I was little. However, I had to give up my dream for a while due to practical reasons like family circumstances. Instead, my friends would tell me that as I am fun and bubbly, advertising copywriter would fit for me. That is why I entered the Department of Advertising and Public Relations of our school.
After entering Dongguk and taking lectures of my major, it suited me well, and I really enjoyed studying it at first. However, when I produced the advertisement work myself, the result was not satisfying for me. In addition, I could not completely give up on my dream of becoming an announcer, so I chose to double major in the Department of Mass Communication (currently, the Department of Media and Communication). My second major was way more fun than the original major, and I was able to get good grades. From the third year of college, I began preparing in earnest to enter the broadcasting station and be an announcer. As I studied what I really liked, I could study hard and focus on my goals. Therefore, I could enter KBS as the first among the female announcer applicants and receive a certificate of appointment as a representative.
Q. You have shown various aspects in various kinds of programs for a long time such as news, radio, and liberal arts. Which program do you feel most attached to and what was the driving force of your consistent activity?
There is a phrase “Bite any of the ten fingers, and it will hurt the same.” Every program that I appeared in remains in my memory and is precious to me. As I have the title of longest-ever female anchor, “News Plaza” is a meaningful program for me. As of now, “Morning Garden” is one of the most precious programs as I appeared in it until quite recently. Since it is a program that people in old age mainly watch, sometimes some people recognize me when I go out for grocery shopping. I feel very thankful whenever someone notices me, and it is also one of my driving forces. In addition, my personality to do my best on whatever I do, is another driving force for me.
Q. You have the longest ever career as a female anchor of KBS News Plaza, the longest-lived morning news program of KBS. Your daily routine must have been very busy to appear in the morning show every day.
The shooting of News Plaza begins at 6 A.M. of every weekday. To get a makeup and prepare for the lines, I had to arrive at the broadcasting station at least before 4 A.M., so I had to go to bed at around 9 P.M. not to be late. Sometimes when breaking news comes out, the shooting began one or two hours earlier. I lived that routine for about three and a half years. Of course, it was very tiring and tough, but it was an honor for me to be a host representing such representative program and deliver news to the people.
Q. Were there any embarrassing or interesting episode that you remember during the broadcast? If you had any, how did you deal with it?
Many people would remember reporter Park Dae-ki, also known as waiting Park, who has become famous for the broadcast in the middle of heavy snow. Actually, I was the one who was at the studio and called him. That broadcasting accident happened on a Monday of January 2010, when there was a record-breaking heavy snow in the Seoul metropolitan area. On Sunday, the day before that accident, I had a dinner appointment, so I had a meal outside and was driving back home. However, due to the heavy snow, there was a huge traffic jam and I thought it would not be possible for me to have enough sleep if I went back home as I had to get to the studio at least at 4 A.M. to be on the news. Therefore, I chose to go to the broadcasting station right away and slept there. The next day, special weather news reporting record-breaking heavy snow began at 5 A.M. and reporter Park, who had just started his reporter career, was at the site. As you play back that video, he mumbles when I ask him about the situation outside. Some people thought that he could not speak well because his mouth froze due to the cold weather. However, the fact was that he did not know that he was connected to the studio and was practicing his lines in a small voice, and that scene was broadcasted all over the nation. I remember that the news department went into a panic because of that broadcasting accident. Also, it was very embarrassing for me to listen to the producer yelling at reporter Park blaming his mistake. However, it turned out well for him as people liked his passion for reporting with the snow piled up on his shoulders and his name was even on the real-time search list too.
Q. What do you think about being an announcer?
I think the announcer is quite different from other celebrities like singers or actors. For example, when thinking about famous actors, what comes to our mind is how handsome and beautiful they look or what dramas or movies they appeared in. However, when you think of an announcer, you do not really remember how they look or which programs they appeared in. You would just think that when listening to their voices, you might have heard that voice on television before but do not know who exactly he or she is. Therefore, rather than standing out as an individual, I think it is important for announcers to perform the role of delivering accurate information well.
Q. Is there any current goal you want to achieve?
I recently entered my 40s and has a son, who is one of my driving forces these days. I have lived about half of my life, and I think now is the most important turning point of my entire life. There was a chance to meet a 100-year-old philosopher when I was a host of Morning Garden. He asked us, “When do you think the golden age of life is?” I thought that my 40s would be my golden age of life, having a moderate appearance and wealth with a happy family. However, he told us that life is way much longer than we think, so we should be well-prepared for the rest of our lives. I strongly agreed with him, and I am now preparing for the next paragraph of my life. Also, I should be well prepared for my kids who have come out into this world because of me.
Q. What is your motto, and why is it your motto?
When people ask me for an autograph, I always write the phrase “Dreams come true!” with my autograph. I believe that people who are always ready can take the chance and achieve whatever they want. My motto in life is to be a competitive person who is always prepared to grab an opportunity and make a dream come true. I hope every Dongguk student becomes that kind of person and make their dreams come true!
Q. Is there anything else you want to say?
I sometimes think that if it were not for Dongguk University, I could not have been an announcer. With the meaningful experience I had during my college life, I could be who I am right now. I hope every Dongguk University student enjoys their campus life and has various experience they can make only at that time such as wearing beautiful clothes or meeting many friends. One more, I strongly recommend reading many books whenever you have some free time. Always get prepared to make your dreams come true!
Yoo Joon-sang firstname.lastname@example.org
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