Online Newspaper Shakes Up Korean Politics is the title of a fascinating story in the NYTimes. Keep in mind that South Korea, a country with a population of 40 million, has one of the highest broadband penetration rates (70% of households).
Most influential by far has been a feisty three-year-old startup with the unusual name of OhmyNews. Around election time the free online news service was registering 20 million page views per day.
The online newspaper, which began with only four employees, started as a glimmer in the eye of Oh Yeon Ho, now 38, a lifelong journalistic rabble rouser who wrote for underground progressive magazines during the long years of dictatorship here.
From the beginning the electronic newspaper’s unusual concept has been to rely mostly on contributions from ordinary readers all over the country, who send dispatches about everything from local happenings and personal musings to national politics.
Only 20 percent of the paper each day is written by staff journalists. So far, a computer check shows, there have been more than 10,000 other bylines.
As the article notes, OhMyNews played an important part in the election of the new president, Mr Roh, who was a relatively obscure candidate at one point of time in the elections.