Why does it seem like K-Pop news is all written by people who have just been hit on the head?

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I mentioned Asian Junkie’s recent story on the Korean K-Pop press ripping into Sistar’s Soyu because she didn’t look happy one day; this was especially infuriating because Soyu had suffered a serious injury just a few days ago–an injury that was also well-covered by the very same Korean K-Pop press.

Asian Junkie wrote:

The media is pretending they don’t read their own stories? Holy fuck. . . .

So basically, it’s only been about a week since the major issue that the media was covering was Soyu’s body being in shambles. As such, you can see why I find it comical that a fucking week later the same outlets are trying to make it like she’s some kind of bad attitude iljin super slut thug cause she’s not all smiley on stage when they literally all covered the reason it probably took enough painkillers to kill an elephant just to get Soyu to be able to move around.

Any casual perusal of Korean K-Pop coverage will uncover similar stories. As I said, I stopped monitoring the Korean coverage of Block B because it was apparently written by amnesiacs. I joke about it, but I’m not kidding when I say that every single picture of Zico with a female of any note whatsoever resulted in a story about how they MUST be dating.

And hey, maybe Zico gets around–I’m not one to judge. But I do find it implausible that on Monday he is dating Hyuna, on Tuesday he is dating Hyorin, on Wednesday he is dating Hyeri, on Thursday he is dating Hyoyeon, and on Friday he is dating Hyejeong, especially when the photos were obviously taken backstage at concerts or during other public events. A photo like this:

A post shared by Hyun Ah (@hyunah_aa) on

means very little to me when it is accompanied by photos like these:

🙋

A post shared by Hyun Ah (@hyunah_aa) on

👯

A post shared by Hyun Ah (@hyunah_aa) on

화사👀💋

A post shared by Hyun Ah (@hyunah_aa) on

But of course, I look at the other photos. 

And that’s what often doesn’t happen in the Korean K-Pop press. That’s why you get comically bad stories like Zico Is in Paris and We Don’t Know Whyeven though Block B’s European tour was widely covered in the Korean K-Pop press.

Asian Junkie finds it implausible that Korean media outlets don’t read their own coverage. I find it much more plausible, because I’ve seen that happen right here in the good ole U S of A. It’s the reason that I (and many other reporters) don’t read the Op-Ed pages–you bust your ass providing quality coverage on a subject, and someone who is completely ignorant on the topic gets to write a long opinion piece that is given top billing by the very same newspaper they can’t be bothered to fucking read.

Why does this happen? Because reporting is work. It takes time and effort.

If you are a media outlet, and you want your staff to do quality reporting, guess what? You have to pay them for it. If you want someone to really know a subject, you assign them something called a “beat,” where the person spends all sorts of time (that you have to pay them for) doing research–they interview people off the record and comb through old stories, historical information, and academic reports so that they know the topic inside and out.

See the problem here?

Option 1: You pay people to report stories. The stories take a long time, and you have few of them.

Option 2: You don’t pay people to report stories–they just write them. You have many more stories, because the stories take so much less time to write.

If you run an on-line media outlet in an environment where readers don’t really give a fuck about accuracy (and indeed may prefer inaccuracy, since it fits the fantasy narrative already going on in their heads), there is no particular financial incentive to have your staff do any reporting–not even looking up your old stories on the subject. They can just look at a photo or a video clip and crank out 200 words, and then move on to the next photo or video and crank out another 200 words. As an added bonus, you can assign this work to an intern or whoever has a few minutes of free time–you don’t have to wait for your knowledgable beat reporter to become available!

Of course the context is lost, but what does that matter to you?

Think of the [Whoever] MUST be Dating [Whoever]! stories. If you take my attitude toward the subject, you have no stories and no clicks. If you take the Korean K-Pop press attitude toward the subject, you get a new story for people to click on almost every time a celebrity uploads a picture onto social media!

And that’s the thing to keep in mind about the K-Pop press. The English-language K-Pop press has its own special set of issues of course, but the larger problem is that the Korean source material is all too often fantastically craptacular.

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19 responses »

  1. Isn’t this just typical tabloid reporting, though?

    I don’t know about Zico getting around, but I rather wish Jaehyo would say he’s dating someone I like so i can go gooey over it all.

    • Not really–ever since Carol Burnett sued the National Enquirer, tabloids (at least in the US) do tend to do actual reporting. It’s not great–they pay sources–but they rarely just make shit up. Usually the sources are public records, pals, or the celebrities themselves, which is why the Kardashians are ALWAYS covered but bigger celebs only get covered if there’s an arrest or divorce.

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