Hanyang University (HYU) was established in 1939, and it had its 70th anniversary last year. In its 71-year history, a large number of events have happened inside and outside the university. To deliver these various news events to Hanyangians, HYU has had nine main media organizations. These nine media sources have put every effort to deliver their messages in different ways such as the Korean newspaper, the broadcasting system, the literary magazine, and so on.
Among the HYU‘s media organizations, there is also the English magazine. It was founded with the motto, “Leaves of Grass” in 1970. 93 volumes have been issued since 1995, and the magazine is published six times annually. The magazine is called The Hanyang Journal (HJ). The HJ, the only English publication at HYU, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2010.
In oriental philosophy, Confucius called people who are 40 years old “Bul-hok” It means that 40-year-old people do not get confused when making decisions, even if there are drastic variables. HYU’s buildings and the trends of the media have been frequently changed, and ideological conflicts were successfully overcomed. Then, during its 40-year-old history, does the “Bul-hok” HJ stand in the right position to keep the pace with the rapid changes of Hanyang’s and Korean society?
A Journey of 40 Years: The Hanyang Times to The Hanyang Journal
The HJ’s story reflects the flow of Korea’s comtemporary history. The precursor of The HJ was The Hanyang Times, which was established on June 5, 1970. That was the year HYU first started a mutual relationship with other international universities. So, HYU tried to foster the relationship actively. This attempt of HYU was the decisive motive for the foundation of The Hanyang Times (HT). The Hanyang Times was distributed to other international universities in every publication. “At that time, The HT greatly contributed to introducing HYU to people abroad,” Professor Oh Jin-hwan, the first Executive Editor of The HT explained about the influence of The HT at that time.
He added that The HT also had a function of promoting English education. Oh said, “It was difficult to learn English in the 1970’s, it was not the so-called, ‘Global world’. In this view, The HT carried out the function of English education for Hanyangians.” The HT was written in tabloid form, and was half the size of a standard newspaper, which normal newspapers use. The motto among The HT reporters was “Leaves of Grass,” which means to protect the weak and root in the university spirit within our society. This reporters’ motto is still used by the current HJ.
In 1980, a crisis hit The HT, which could not use its official title. It was due to the media control policy of Chun Doo-hwan, the 11th President of the Republic of Korea. Chun’s doctrine was to have full control over the Korean mass media. There was no exception for the university’s media including The HT’s publication. It was stopped for two months, until the Editorial Bureau decided to change the title of the paper as a way to turn around these restrictions. The new title of “The Hanyang Journal” was born.
In 1995, The HJ changed into the current magazine form keeping pace with the development of media and university culture. The magazine form makes The HJ’s reporters’ job easier to edit in various ways and freely deliver important messages. After the IMF (International Monetary Fund) financial crisis, The HJ changed its publication schedule to three times per semester from its initial four times per semester to save budget and give the magazine more time to concentrate on publishing a higher quality magazine. In 2008, The HJ tried uploading articles on the web, so the online HJ website, www.hanyangian.com, was established.
Now, The HJ issues three magazines and three Internet editions on The HJ website throughout the year. As of March 2010, not only has The HJ issued 307th magazines, but also the seventh edition of The HJ website was updated in April, 2010. The HJ articles normally include the Cover Story, Society, Acropolis, Eureka, Review, and Focus sections. These articles are covered by five departments in the editorial bureau; the section of news gathering, society, academics, culture and photography.
Over the past 40 years, The HJ also won several awards, including several English newspaper contests. In September, 1985, The HJ got the first prize in The First Korea University English Newspaper Competition hosted by the Korea Herald. In October, 1987, The HJ won the best reporter award which is the most honorable and coveted prize for university reporters. In 2003, the 299th issue, which reported about the Korea-USA Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) problem under the title “SO FAr, So Unfair” got an award in the Fourth University Journalist Awards competition hosted by the Korean Journalists Organization.
Trouble with Today’s HJ; the Low Readership
The HJ has received awards, and has spoken up for rights of the weak people. In the 1970’s and 80’s, The HJ contributed positively to the development of HYU’s international relationships. However, the current HJ Editorial Bureau has some problems. One of the biggest troubles is the low subscription rate. The low readership rate is quite different from the beginning of The HT. “The HT was really popular with students. Our editorial office was in the College of Social Sciences. Hanyangians always came to the office to look for our newspaper. Other newspapers always lacked coverage of Hanyangians’ demands,” said Oh Jin-hwan.
However, according to the Press of Hanyang’s 1300th issue’s survey, the recent subscription rate of The HJ recorded the lowest level ever (Four media organizations were compared with The HJ; the Press of Hanyang, Hanyang School Magazine, Weekly Hanyang, and HUBS). Weekly Hanyang and the Press of Hanyang’s accessibility each recorded 30.6 and 30.4 percent; however, The HJ was merely 6.5 percent. Also, while the Press of Hanyang recorded the highest preference at 36.9 percent, The Hanyang Journal was 8.3 percent respectively.
Hanyangians said they could not find The HJ readers easily. “Because I am a junior, I have many friends who are upper grade students. Although they have studied for four years with me in HYU, they do not even know the existence of The HJ. When I ask ‘Do you know The HJ?’ they reply as ‘What is The HJ?’” Seon Sang-gyu, Junior of Material Science Engineering, pointed out when asked about the explanation of the low readership rate.
Foreign students also do not know The HJ’s existence. Pedro Aguilar, a Senior in College of Architecture, said that he had never heard of The HJ although he has been a student for seven years in HYU. “I think promotion of The HJ is not good. If the editorial bureau sent me an e-mail, I could recognize The HJ’s existence,” said Pedro.
The low subscription was highlighted by The HJ’s survey. According to a recent survey, 67.6 percent of respondents did not have any experience of reading The HJ. Among these respondents, 27.5 percent answered that they do not even know the existence of The HJ at all.
Also, there were readers who thought that The HJ’s publication term is too long. “The publication term makes people forget the existence of The HJ. I do not know the exact cycle of The HJ. Is The HJ published every semester? I did not see Hanyangians holding the magazine in their hands,” said Oh hwan-gu, a Sophomore in Department of Sociology and Information Society. As previously mentioned, The HJ publishes three magazines a year in printed magazine form, and three times on-line on www.hanyangian.com.
Not only the publication terms of The HJ, but distribution was also another cause of why Hanyangians could not access The HJ easily. “I contributed my essay in the 307th issue and I was proud of my essay. So I wanted to show it to my friends. However, The HJ was not distributed anywhere. I tried to find The HJ not only at our college but also in other buildings in HYU. But it was impossible,” said Song Min-kyung, Junior of College of Information and Communications. Kang Jung-min, a Sophomore of Department of English Education, has an unsatisfied feeling that she cannot see The HJ in her college. She said Hanyangians are already having difficulty in appreciating The HJ because it is written in English. In addition, the distribution is not good, so people do not read it. Kang added, “I do not see The HJ anywhere. Sometimes, it is displayed in the middle of Aejimoon. However, I have never picked it up myself in my college.” In a survey, The HJ’s lack of regular distribution was revealed. A total of 67.6 percent of respondents who have not read The HJ were asked the reason why they do not read The HJ, and 55.3 percent said they do not know where to find The HJ.
There was also a problem with The HJ’s online article service. The HJ website opened as a new way to promote students’ interest. Since the establishment of The HJ website, seven editions have been updated, and the contents have been almost the same as the paper magazine. Until May 9, 14,688 visitors visited the website. Considering two years since the website was launched, an average of 20.4 people visited the website every day. Considering that there are more than 20,000 students studying at HYU, the figure shows that the visitor rate is too low. In the paper magazine, there have been usually three HJ advertisements which advertize The HJ website in every issue since its 300th issue. However, all of the readers who had an interview did not know about the existence of The HJ website.
The Gap Between Hanyangians and The Hanyang Journal
Why has Hanyangians’ interest in The HJ decreased? There were a number of critical opinions that the contents of The HJ are too old style. Kim Seong-je, a professor in Department of English Language and Literature, who was a reporter for The HT in 1979, pointed out today’s trend of media is largely different from his working period. During his working periods, in the 70’s to 90’s, there was a clear motto that university students should help achieve Korea’s democracy and justice. In this situation, the university’s mass media organizations made an agenda of fostering resistance to the government. But now, there have been many changes in what the society wants from university students. The mottos are various and developed. However, The HJ maintains the old traditions of The HT and The HJ dealing with the reality a media should consist. Kim commented on the nuances of The HJ, which does not reflect the current trends. “I think The HJ’s position is too uncertain. If The HJ thinks that the issue of society is still democratic justice, it is targeting the wrong problems,” said Kim.
Some Hanyangians also agreed that the content is too heavy. “I think The magazine’s content is too political; and several sections may have to be changed into articles that average university students feel interested in. The HJ does not reflect any fresh feelings that university students may have,” said Park Ji-yeon, a Sophomore in Mass Communication and Journalism.
Then, how about the problem of distribution of The HJ’s 5000 copies of The HJ are published in each printing. 3400 copies are distributed on Seoul Campus, and the other 1600 copies are allocated to the ERICA Campus. In the case of the ERICA Campus, reporters of The HJ directly distribute the copies to each college and other buildings. Each stand of the college is full of The HJ on the day of distribution.
The problem of distribution appears on the Seoul Campus. In 2007, HYU established the Clean Campus Supporting Team as a part of an effort to make a clean school. The Clean Campus Supporting Team automatically has managed the distribution of 1600 copies of The HJ. It had a duty to distribute copies to all of the colleges. However, the copies were not distributed smoothly. “Is the Editorial Bureau and readers feel, distribution on Seoul Campus is really in bad shape. In my opinion, since the distributions are done only three times every year, the manager thinks it is not an important duty,” said Cho Seung-hyun, the Administrative Assistant of The HJ.
But, what is the opinion of the Clean Campus Supporting Team? In the Clean Campus office, 600 copies of The HJ published in March still remain. The Clean Campus Supporting Team insisted that they do not feel any responsibility for displaying copies in each college. “I was employed here about eight months. However, I heard these copies should be only displayed at the Aejimoon,” said Cho Chong-yeon, a head of distribution for The HJ. He explained that The HJ’s Editorial Bureau should call the previous managers.
Also, critical viewpoints targeting The HJ website were mentioned. Firstly, the trouble of the frequency of updating was brought up. Kim Seong-je pointed out that updating six times in a year is worse than a blog. “There will be no readers if The HJ website is run like this. It feels like translating articles that people can see anywhere in Korean,” professor Kim added.
Park Sung-bok, associate proffesor in Department of Mass Communication & Journalism, criticized that The HJ website does not have any of the merits of online journalism. “Online journalism rapidly has been developed due to the vertical and free communication between senders and recievers. However, The HJ website is really stuffy and the website just use pre-existing media,” said Park.
On the other hand, there was the opinion that it is difficult to read The HJ because it is written in English. In The HJ’s survey, when people were asked what the merit of The HJ is, 33.3 percent, the highest rate, answered that they can read about their university and the news in English easily. However, some people raised an opinion that students may rather feel a burden that The HJ is an English magazine. “The HJ’s designs, consisting of full English context, make me dizzy,” said Lee Seung-gun, a Sophomore in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Professors also mentioned that English may be reason why Hanyangians do not read The HJ. “It is really good that students can access English through The HJ. But reading in English can be a burden for some Hanyangians,” said Lee Jae-jin.
What Is the Way for The HJ to Prosper Eternally?
Then, what should The HJ adopt to encourage students to read it? Other Universities’ English magazines are also finding the solution to attract students’ interest which is the same as The HJ’s worries. Two university English newspapers, Yonsei Annals of Yonsei University and The Granite Tower of Korea University, are making increased efforts to find a means for raising their readership. In the case of the Granite Tower, they reformed their contents in a cycle, averaging three years. Also, when they edit the magazine, they give more weight to students’ contributions and fresh design. They make efforts to deliver The Granite Tower to foreigners at Korea University; making The Granite Tower the only channel whereby students can recognize campus news. “Foreign professors use our magazine for their lessons. I heard they particularly use The Granite Tower in freshmen’s lectures. I think it is an effective way to recognize our magazine,” Oh Un-ji, the Executive Director of The Granite Tower, explained the merits when they focus on promoting their magazine to foreign people on campus.
Yonsei Annals makes an endeavor to provide a differentiated news program for readers. They focus on the news that the other Yonsei University’s media do not deal with and they distribute the Yonsei Annals on the first day of each month. Like The HJ, Yonsei Annals publishes a crossword puzzle on a postcard, and gives gift certificates to winners of the prize.
Also, Yonsei Annals has a special system called the readers monitoring team: They select the reader monitoring team each semester and the selected personnel monitor the Yonsei Annals whenever it is published. If members of the monitoring team complete all of the reports and related missions, the Yonsei Media Supporting Team gives a certificate to them. “Readers’ reactions about the monitoring team are really positive. The Yonsei Annals appreciates them because we were able to know about the readers’s opinions and it sets up other ways of editing,” said Kim Hee-jin, Editor-in-Chief of the Yonsei Annals.
Some professors emphasized that the change of contents is needed. Professor Kim Seong-je and Oh Jin-hwan suggested new content such as global and international view points. “The HJ is the only English magazine of HYU, so the role should be changed to become more global. For The HJ to maintain the motto, ‘Leaves of Grass,’ The HJ should deal with poor people globally. Or, it can be that The HJ gives information about all of the global networking events by collaborating with the Team of External Affairs and Development. It is one of the most important things that The HJ should deliver to Hanyangians. I mean The HJ should provide Hanyangians with a more international viewpoint,” said Kim Seong-je. Also, professor Oh Jin-hwan said, “Comparing the 70’s and now, the ability and thinking of today’s students is higher than ever. So, The HJ needs ‘live information’. For example, how students can study abroad or how students can access information about other countries.”
Some readers pointed out the lack of relevant topics. Park Ji-yeon, a Sophomore in Department of Mass Communication & Journalism said, “For me, The HJ is a really nice magazine. But I want to learn about more interesting and useful things through The HJ. It deals with too heavy things. I think that The HJ should adopt drastic changes to reflect the students?wants. Also, the publication term is too long, so I wish The HJ would cover permanent information.” According to Lee Jae-jin, professor in Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, it is important that The HJ should reflect only The Hanyang Journal’s unique characteristics. It means that when readers think of The HJ, they can be reminded of the same things. Lee explained that The HJ focusing on school issues will be redundant since all at HYU focuses on school news. So, Lee suggests that covering culture will be a way of developing creative contents. “Today, the most important issue is resolving cultural differences. Fusion of the media results in the unity of culture and The HJ could make that happen. I believe that the bright side is the distinction from the normal media. The HJ has to put its focus on cultural matters,” said Lee. Richard M. Hernandez, an English instructor of Hanyang University. Professor Hernandez also emphasized The HJ should find something that is unique and different. “The Editorial Bureau have to think why The HJ should matter the problem or why should The HJ be important to the students. I think because The HJ is the only English magazine in HYU, The HJ can approach as English to the readers. For example, free service of amending readers’ writing will be very good idea,” said Mr.Hernandez.
Meanwhile, the problem of Seoul Campus’ distribution was recently solved. Cho Seung-hyun and Cho Chong-yeon said that they talked with the Media Supporting Team and The HJ during May. Cho said, “I will make an effort to distribute the 1600 copies of The HJ not only in the Aejimoon but also within each college.” To further develop The HJ? website, The HJ website, there are various opinions among Hanyangians. One of the opinions was that there is no effectiveness in having online website. So, The HJ should make an effort to increase students’ interest in reading it by publishing only paper magazines. Asked about the managing their website, Oh said, “In the case of Korea University, many students know that The Granite Tower is a paper magazine. So, if The Granite Tower were in the same situation as The HJ, we would not pay attention to the website. Actually, we totally concentrate on the paper magazine now.” According to Lee Jae-jin, HYU’s administration may assist with developing The HJ website. “HYU” input and action is needed. For instance, HYU’s website can provide banners that to connect The HJ website directly," said Lee.
Otherwise, other people say that print media has no influence on popularity, so running only a website is the better decision for The HJ. “The cycle of updating is too slow. So, I want to suggest that all of their publishing occur online. And, it will be better if The HJ publishes only one print magazine in each semester. As a premise, HYU should help The HJ to show its importance on the web,” said Kim Seong-je. Also, to improve The HJ website’s readership, Park Sung-bok said feedbacks of readers are needed. Park explained there should be content that readers can produce information and share information themselves. “Are there students who want to read HYU news from the English journal? I think The HJ website rather needs contents for helping to improve readers’ English skills. The website can give readers specific reward. To attract readers, I would suggest using flashes or dynamic factors.”
Interviewees also delivered congratulatory messages while emphasizing the need for The HJ’s continuous efforts. Oh Jin-hwan encouraged The HJ’s editorial bureau to make eager efforts to attracting Hanyangians. Oh commented, “Students in these days are smarter than ever. The HJ should think about the ways to suit intelligent Hanyangians’ tastes. If readers turn away from The HJ, The HJ is not a true media anymore.”
Kim Seong-je requests the editorial bureau to think of The HJ as a business journalism. “If The HJ is one of the private media, it would be hopeless. To attract consumers and to pursu benefits, what will The HJ do? The attitude of The HJ will surely change under this supposition,” said Kim.
Some interviewees also pointed out the lack of advertisements. They said if the editorial bureau’s promotional strategy is successful, more Hanyangians will eagerly follow The HJ. “The HJ has many merits and nice content. I can access English through this magazine, and I could acquire lots of information through The HJ. However, what I really feel is that real promoting has never been done. I think the reporters in the editorial bureau should make increased efforts,” Seon Sang-gyu said.
According to Lee Jae-jin, although only a few people read The HJ, it should exist because the university’s media gathers students’ opinions, and delivers a critical voice to the school, and informs them about students’ worries and characteristics.
The General Students Association on the ERICA Campus requests The HJ’s continuous efforts to truly reflect Hanyangians’ opinions, “I think The HJ has been given a great chance to deliver our students’ messages. I wish that The HJ speaks for Hanyangians rights, and the things students really want to find and change in this society,” said Yoo Ye-seul, the leader of the General Students Association on the ERICA Campus. For 40 years, The HJ has made an effort to perform those functions. The HJ will try ways to develop the magazine even further, and leave all of the assessments to the readers. The one thing which is always true is that The HJ is made by Hanyangians, distributed to Hanyangians and for Hanyangians.
Explanations on The HJ’s Articles
The HJ basically consists of six types of articles: [Cover Story], as well as columns titled [Society], [Acropolis], [Eureka], [Review], and [Focus]. Each article has a different voice portraying various social phenomena. But what are the characteristics of these articles and what are these articles covering?
[Acropolis] deals with hot issues happening in HYU. Conflicts and events between administration office and students are usually covered, and the article approaches the topic or the issue critically. In [Acropolis], three typical opinions about the problem should be included: that of the students, that of the university administration, and that of the faculty. [Acropolis] compares each opinion with interviews and covers essential problems.
[Cover Story] is an article that deals the most talked-about issue among Hanyangians. The issue of [Cover Story] must have general facts which can prove importance in covering it, and it has to include valuable information that all of Hanyangians would like to know. [Cover Story] takes up approximately 20 percent of the magazine’s contents, and the cover of The HJ includes a summarized version of this. [Cover Story] is the most important column in The HJ’s magazine.
Archimedes, a philosopher in ancient times, shouted “Eureka!” and ran out a tub with his naked body when he discovered the principle of buoyancy. The HJ’s academic column, titled [Eureka], comes from this episode. [Eureka] analyzes interesting scientific facts or human knowledge stories. Not only does [Eureka] explain essential scientific facts or phenomenon in a society, but it gives useful tips to readers.
[Focus] is a column which delivers messages in a form of a picture. Photographs in [Focus] have a social meaning, a rare phenomenon. The image of [Focus] should have three factors; accidents, people related to accidents, and people? purposes. These factors make readers think about the agenda.
[Review] is a column analyzing works of art. The works of art include movies, books, plays, musicals, and other exhibitions. Not only does [Review] present the content or stories behind a work, but it explain what the works want to deliver to the audience, or what value the works have.
[Society] column covers social issues that happen in the society, and which are also related to university students. This article points out the clear cause of an accident, and shows another viewpoint that is uncovered from pre-existing newspapers. In this way, [Society] covers reality of university students’ lives, and deals with social events related with university students.
The HJ’s Annual Schedule
The HJ is open every day for readers. The HJ runs projects for readers to edit the magazine by participation. Then, let us take a look at the annual schedule of The HJ. As events to encourage participation in The HJ, The HJ tries to actively recruit cub reporters each semester. It also holds a Reporting Contest.
Recruiting Cub Reporters
The HJ recruits cub reporters every semester. Any freshman can apply to participate, and The HJ editorial bureau carries out writing examination, interview, and performing mission to be chosen as a reporter. Participants, who pass the examination, become cub reporters with The HJ for one semester. They get a chance to cover school news by working in the HYU’s media organization for two and half years.
Reporting Contest for Readers
The HJ has held Reporting Contest for all Hanyangians since 1992. Hanyangians who want to cover social problems as a reporter can get a chance to do so through this contest. Participants can choose areas of interest such as news reports, essays, reviews, and analysis reports. First prize in the Reporting Contest is 300,000 won in cash, and second and third winners are awarded 200,000 won and 100,000 won, respectively. Also, winners’ articles are published in the following edition of The HJ.
The HJ issues six times a year. Three times are published in magazine form, and the other three are issued by The HJ’s website, The HJ website. In 2010, The HJ, issue No.307, was issued in the beginning of the new semester, and the seventh The HJ website was updated in April. The 310th HJ will be published at the beginning of next semester, and The HJ website will be updated in October and November.
Postcard to the HJ
Each time a magazine is published, the HJ receives postcards from readers. The postcard is attached in front of Contents page, and there is a crossword puzzle that the answers are hidden in articles. Participants who send the postcard event get a chance to put their opinions in the Reader’s page. Also, gift certificates are given to winners adopted by editorial bureau.
Celebrating The Hanyang Journal’s 40th Anniversary
The spring of this year has shown abnormal weather changes and I was worried that the students may have difficulty in studying. If not, I feel relieved as the weather seems to come to its normal climate.
In the upcoming summer, Hanyang University (HYU)’s one and only English media, The Hanyang Journal(HJ), comes around 40th anniversary. After its first publishment in June 5th, 1970 as The Hanyang Times, under the motto of “Leaves of Grass” this motto represented social minorities as well as efforts to deliver the precious opinions by listening to the student’s thoughts. As time flows in this era, social trend and information is changing unbelievably. Nevertheless, the work The HJ is a pride of HYU for its effort to contribute to the society with their strong and healthy university mindset and to express their rights.
Now, The HJ has settled in our campus as a crucial media of HYU. The HJ is one of HYU’s media who are straight about their existence as a medium and exercises its beliefs. The functions of The HJ is expressing is the characteristics and the purpose of their existence. First of all, The HJ is providing various issues with the students to think about by its different columns with diverse themes and topics. It does not simply reports the various news in sections such as social issue, campus news and academic issues but gives the Hanyangians with brilliant ideas the existing media cannot even think of. Especially, as I previously mention, their basis of their motto of “Leaves of Grass” the reporters represent the minority’s opinion as a sense of realism. This is similar to the motto of HYU, “Love in Truth and in Deed” and this is the reason for the existence of the Hanyang Journal.
In addition, The HJ is leading the readers’ participation to form a communication network. The reporting contest, which is being held every year allows students, who dream of future journalists, to gather news and report it. At the same time, interconnection act is formed with the Hanyangians to collect their opinions. This is one of the main role of what university press should do, which also lubricates the saw-toothed wheel of the HYU. As a publisher of the HJ and as the president of HYU, I feel a great pride and happiness of The HJ for its existence in making the exchange of idea among the students.
What I expect from the Hanyang Journal is that they publish abundant information and cultural values in depth and in detail to the Hanyangians. Printed media is said to be in a critical condition but with The HJ’s idea and historical background this crisis can be overcome and it can be continuously loved by the Hanyangians. I ask all the readers’ attention and love to the HJ. The HJ can only exist with your endless interest and love.
Lastly, I hope The HJ stays with the HYU over the 40th anniversay and forever and ever. I hope of the endless development of The HJ. Thank you.
Congratulations on The Hanyang Journal’s 40th Anniversary
President of Hanyang University