Westerners have as strong a prejudice against Asia as their aspirations for the region. Worse yet, the provocative nature of foreign media tends to further inflate existing prejudice against Asia. Korea has many characteristics which draw keen media attention, because what most people recall about the country is that it is still a Cold War frontier and remains divided, with an unstable security situation. Having knowledge of only the Korean War and intense political confrontation, the Western audience doesn't try to see and analyze the overall situation in the nation. The foreign media is apt to exaggerate the situation in the most provocative way to attract readers and viewers. Unfortunately, it is a fact that not many foreign journalists in Korea try to report the actual situation in the nation.
Under the circumstances, the way Cho, who is concurrently serving as Seoul correspondent for ABC News and The Washington Post, reports on South Korea vividly stands out. Her reporting has the power to prompt foreign media outlets, with their biased views on the nation, to strike a balance in their reporting on Korea. She is affiliated with the foreign press, but can maintain a viewpoint that sets her stories apart from reports made by other media agents. This is because she is a Korean national living in Korea, and can therefore describe the actual situation on the scene better than anyone.
Journalists are apt see issues and affairs in Korea with curiosity and sensationalism, rather than objectively. Unfortunately, they more often than not write stories on the domestic situation through a biased and subjective perspective. Foreign media headquarters often instruct their Korean correspondents to cover incidents and trends in Korea that even the correspondents themselves are not aware of.
In one such example, Cho was requested by her company headquarters to file an in-depth story on a fashion trend in which South Korean men reportedly were trying to mimic Bill Gates' style. She was momentarily perplexed when she received her instructions. She had never heard of such a trend, nor was she aware of anything remotely like it even though she lived right here in Seoul. But her foreign headquarters firmly believed that the "Bill Gates style" was in vogue among Korean men. She recognized what course of action she needed to take and what role to play as a correspondent going forward -- to accurately report the actual situation in Korea to the world.
"This is what I realized I should do: correct biased views on Korea by the foreign press, which is unaware of the actual reality here, and make it my duty to accurately and objectively report issues and affairs in Korea," she says. It was something that she could do because she is a Korean national as well as a correspondent for foreign media outlets stationed in Seoul. It was something possible only for someone with Cho's unique background.
Pretty broad generalizations there. I'll keep it short: the local media has no business criticizing the journalistic standards of Western reporters, that's for damn sure.
When she turns up elsewhere on the web, it looks to be either as a special correspondent to a hard-news story, or as the main author of a fluff piece. You'll find her name attached to several pieces on Cho Seung-hui, the man behind the Virginia Tech Massacre. You can also find some biography pages in English and Korean, as well as a few fan sites, in Korean. The biggest one looks to have the name "insideherjjh," so that's pleasant.
Not sure how helpful it will be, but if you'd like to complain to ABC.com, they have a comments and suggestions box here. I don't know what type of outcome one could expect with enough effort---apology, retraction, or what---but nevertheless that piece was offensive, insulting and plain old unacceptable. Let's just hope the Korean outlets don't pick it up and run with it, because who knows what kind of damage they'll be able to do by distorting distortions.