Sunday, January 13, 2008

검색--Language, Culture and Web Searching in Korea--the flip side

There is another whole side or perspective to the role that language plays in media, including the internet. It prevents the media, even including Google, with its Google News service, from adequately covering and understanding what is happening in South Korea's information society. The reporting and coverage patterns of mainstream Western media, especially U.S. television news, have been a longstanding interest of mine. (See Television's Window on the World and The Internet and Foreign Policy. Despite the increased bandwidth and presumably the increased amount of information available via the internet, people still tend to surf the web in their own native language and the sources available in that language. Likewise, the major international media still operate largely in English, rather than the languages of countries on which they report. This means that the news reporting of developments in a country like South Korea lags seriously behind what is actually occurring in the country. It may be that the CNN or other network correspondent in Seoul is completely bilingual in Korean and English, but her reports filter up through editors that function only in English. This same pattern occurs in the business or trade press. If reporting of Korea's information revolution and its significance to the nation, the region and the world is inadequate what can be done? The only solution that comes to mind is a significant and sustained investment in the study of difficult foreign languages like Korean. More on this and I encourage your reactions.

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