The middle classes, ideological intention and resurrection of a progressive newspaper: A South Korean Case

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Economic success as a large national daily newspaper and a progressive editorial policy are normally incompatible in the highly commercialized media sector of contemporary capitalist societies. Despite this, a South Korean newspaper, Hankyoreh Shinmun, pursued these two goals simultaneously, relying on public support and employment of the same financial resources as those of the commercial papers (i.e. advertising revenue and subscription fees). This project was based on an unusual social situation in which a significant number of the middle classes hold progressive views. The prime purpose of this thesis is to examine the reconciliation of these two goals. The findings indicate that it is possible for the progressive media to launch and continue within a highly industrialized media sector according to certain political characteristics of the middle classes in particular societies. The united economic capability of the progressive middle classes makes it possible to raise the high launch costs; their readership makes it possible to secure the core resources from the advertising revenue; their continuous contributions help fund operating costs after its foundation. The conclusion we arrived at is that the strength of economic barriers against the progressive media vary according to certain sociopolitical features of particular societies and the different political attitudes of the social classes. The economic determination is decisive but not absolute. The article also considers the decision-making process of dispersed ownership. The results show that the combination of the large number of shareholders required to launch a large independent paper, and the egoism of the founding leaders which occurred in a power vacuum situation, resulted in the domination of the paper by a small number of executives. This situation led to a split between the company and the public owners, and weakened the financial and political strength of the paper. This fact demands a redefinition of the issue of independence from ownership and control. It should be extensively defined as the monopolistic operation of the media sector by any small number of executive forces (media capital, state or executive sector). The purpose of independence also must be redefined as ‘deconcentrated and publicly regulated privately owned media’ rather than just freedom of the media or freedom of the journalists from media capital and the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalGazette
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000 Jan 1

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middle class
newspaper
advertising paper
revenue
egoism
economics
economic success
readership
operating costs
social situation
subscription
shareholder
political attitude
public support
society
reconciliation
domination
resources
fee
journalist

Keywords

  • South Korea
  • economic barriers
  • middle classes
  • political economy
  • progressive paper

Cite this

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title = "The middle classes, ideological intention and resurrection of a progressive newspaper: A South Korean Case",
abstract = "Economic success as a large national daily newspaper and a progressive editorial policy are normally incompatible in the highly commercialized media sector of contemporary capitalist societies. Despite this, a South Korean newspaper, Hankyoreh Shinmun, pursued these two goals simultaneously, relying on public support and employment of the same financial resources as those of the commercial papers (i.e. advertising revenue and subscription fees). This project was based on an unusual social situation in which a significant number of the middle classes hold progressive views. The prime purpose of this thesis is to examine the reconciliation of these two goals. The findings indicate that it is possible for the progressive media to launch and continue within a highly industrialized media sector according to certain political characteristics of the middle classes in particular societies. The united economic capability of the progressive middle classes makes it possible to raise the high launch costs; their readership makes it possible to secure the core resources from the advertising revenue; their continuous contributions help fund operating costs after its foundation. The conclusion we arrived at is that the strength of economic barriers against the progressive media vary according to certain sociopolitical features of particular societies and the different political attitudes of the social classes. The economic determination is decisive but not absolute. The article also considers the decision-making process of dispersed ownership. The results show that the combination of the large number of shareholders required to launch a large independent paper, and the egoism of the founding leaders which occurred in a power vacuum situation, resulted in the domination of the paper by a small number of executives. This situation led to a split between the company and the public owners, and weakened the financial and political strength of the paper. This fact demands a redefinition of the issue of independence from ownership and control. It should be extensively defined as the monopolistic operation of the media sector by any small number of executive forces (media capital, state or executive sector). The purpose of independence also must be redefined as ‘deconcentrated and publicly regulated privately owned media’ rather than just freedom of the media or freedom of the journalists from media capital and the state.",
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The middle classes, ideological intention and resurrection of a progressive newspaper : A South Korean Case. / Han, Dongsub.

In: Gazette, Vol. 62, No. 1, 01.01.2000, p. 61-74.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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