1. I am a person who has nothing to show for

This is the story of a reporter who recently retired.

He spent 6 years at CBS and 27 years at the Hankyoreh.

During his time as a reporter, he mainly covered the political field, and until last May, just before his retirement, he wrote an in-depth character exploration article in the Saturday edition of the Hankyoreh newspaper under the title <Kim Jong-cheol's Here>.

It was a pleasure to read an article about this person's interview on a weekend morning.

I've been writing stories about people for several years, so I'm more interested in this person's writing.



There were a lot of stories I wanted to hear from this person who left the media industry after being discharged from the military.

A briefing about ending 30 years of journalistic life, behind-the-scenes stories of interviews, plans after retirement, etc.

When I asked to meet him once, he refused.

He said he wasn't the person to be interviewed for and told him to meet someone else if he was going to meet a reporter.

He even suggested alternatives that would be good to do.

Still, he did not decline the interview request.

He is the person who has interviewed more than 120 people during that time.

He seemed to be unable to refuse because he knew the difficulties of hiring better than anyone else.

Recruitment was not easy for him, but once the conversation started, I thought that this person also had a lot to say.



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Journalists are stingy enough to say that they are desperate in evaluating their colleagues, seniors and juniors.

Talking about yourself is even more stingy.

To brag about oneself is to think that it is masculine.

This man was no exception.

He said several times during the interview that he was a person who had nothing to show for, and even after the interview was over, he sent an e-mail and asked me to take off the packaging as I am an ordinary person.

The media industry is a place where people are evaluated on a 24-hour basis.

The record remains intact in the form of an article.

A knight is also an indelible trace of a person's life.

If such records and traces have been accumulated for over 30 years, there is no way to tell a lie.

Just as you can't create a record that doesn't exist, you can't erase an existing record.

In a situation where everything was clearly revealed, there was a sign that he was worried that his appearance would be drawn differently from reality and would make others laugh.



It was a journalist whose name was familiar.

I met him a few years ago at the jury committee for the <Reporter of the Month> and I see him once or twice a year because of that relationship.

He was a person whose appearance and actions were as memorable as words and writings.

It felt like the dignity of the place was raised when this person was together.

Someone described it as 'a person with a straight back', and that statement was just right.

He didn't have a loud voice, he wasn't good at talking, and he wasn't the type to drive people.

This man's seat felt full, and when he accidentally left his seat, the empty seat seemed large.

If you say that you are a person who can represent the media industry, you will start off with yourself, but if you say that you are a typical journalist, there will be many people who will nod your head.


2. Schoolboy, sportsman and journalist

It was 30 ri from downtown Sangju to the location of his hometown, and another 10 ri from there to the village where this man was born.

It was a remote village where there were no buses.

I went to an elementary school where the police chief and the mayor gave awards to the graduates.

He was the eldest son of a well-educated family close to the poor farmer.

Looking at the fact that he sent to Daegu to study abroad in high school due to difficult family circumstances, you can see how high the family's expectations for his eldest son were.

When Park Jeong-hee, who was like Narat-nim, passed away in her sophomore year in sex advertising, all students visited the incense burner set up in the Daegu Indoor Gymnasium to pay their respects.

He was a model student who studied well and listened to his parents.

He was born in Gyeongbuk and went to high school in Daegu, so maybe he had something like TK.



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"At that time, I didn't know the concept of TK. So I had no pride or pride in TK. If I had attended a historic school like Gyeongbuk High School, I might have heard that from teachers, but the school I went to was very good before the standardization. It wasn't a school. I've never heard of TK, TK spirit at school."



When I was young, my dream was to be a teacher.

While studying history at Seoul National University in 1981, he did not give up his dream while taking subjects necessary to become a teacher.

I would have become a history teacher if I had only gone through teaching practice in my 4th year of college, but the student movement took hold of me.

In 1984, he became the student body president of the College of Humanities at Seoul National University, so he was not able to attend teaching practice.

I changed my dream of becoming a teacher with the student movement.

Although I was deaf to the fact that I shouldn't be doing demonstrations, it seemed like a fixed procedure for this person who had a glimpse of the world's secrets to become an activist.

There were friends who enjoyed meetings and started digging into the law code at the library early on, but for some reason I didn't want to do that, and it seemed like it couldn't be.



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“After getting to know the history and the world, I suffered because of my parents’ earnest expectations for me, but beyond that, there are things I have to do as an intellectual. Joe."



On November 3, 1984, on Student's Day, he led a joint demonstration at the University of Seoul.

I was getting ready to be arrested, but the police didn't.

He entered the factory and lived a short working life, but that was not his place.

After he was discharged from the military he got a job at Daehan Life.

He was a man with a dream to change the world, so it would have been difficult for him to adapt.

After attending for about 7 months, he quit and prepared for a journalism exam, became a CBS reporter in 1989, and moved to the Hankyoreh newspaper in 1995.

Following his student movement, the choice of journalism as a social movement was kind of fashionable at the time.

This person also chose that path.



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3. A person who suffices to have three names

After becoming a journalist, he mainly covered the political department, especially conservative parties.

She covered the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party, the Grand National Party, and the Saenuri Party.

The fact that he is from Gyeongbuk may have influenced his assignment.

He belonged to a progressive media called the Hankyoreh, but at that time, conservative party figures recognized it as an article written by Kim Jong-cheol.

The length of the one this man applied did not vary by person or camp.



"I went to the Democratic Party while in and out of the Grand National Party, and then people from the GNP told me that. Reporter Kim Jong-cheol I went to the Democratic Party and saw that the reporter was credible... When I wrote an article, rather than writing harshly, people who were criticized agreed. I think I wrote the article thinking that it is important to persuade and accept it rather than being applauded by people and changing society for saying that the word is strong.”



People with different political views are also generously evaluated.

He asked Yoo Seung-min about this person and he sent a rather long reply.

In summary, this was it.


"People are very clear. They are transparent inside and out. There is nothing like the fierceness, stubbornness, or arrogance of some activists... He is a person who cares and respects all human beings.

/ Seungmin Yoo, former member of the National Assembly


This is the story of GNP President Lee Hoi-chang as he prepares for the second presidential election.

Lee Hoi-chang is a close associate of Lee Hoi-chang, who is planning to set up a meeting where he regularly meets with several reporters to get advice and have conversations.



"Because I'm meeting with the highest person among the subjects of my coverage, if I go to such a gathering, I can hear information that other people can't hear and it can be a good opportunity, but after thinking about it, it seems that it's not the right way to report as a journalist. No matter how good a story comes out there. In the end, it was supposed to be a political advisory group, but it didn't seem like that, so I turned it down."



He was a diligent journalist, but not a legend as a journalist.

He never gave a scoop that shook the world, and he did not make a name for himself with elegant sentences or make the hearts of readers flutter with his clear logic.



"I don't think my writing stood out and was like that. It wasn't like that. It was soft and thought-provoking. I never thought that I was a great person. I wanted to give it to you, but I didn't think that a single article would change the world or anything like that."



Journalists have several incurable diseases, one of which is 'I know who I am'.

He is free from such disease.

He's seen each other twice a year for several years, but never heard the words 'I know someone' or 'I've met someone'.

I don't pretend to know people, and I never translate other people's words as if they were my own.

My three names are enough, so there is no reason to borrow someone else's name.



- I don't think I've ever seen anyone brag.

Are you trying not to?


"Rather than doing it on purpose, I didn't think that I knew who I knew from a young age, that I would depend on anyone to do something, and I was ashamed of that. I don't think I wanted to depend on anyone's authority or power."



The same is true of media relations.

He is highly respected by his juniors, and he appreciates this, but he does not brag about it.

He doesn't even do that.

He is not tied to relationships and is not tied to people.

Now that I have done enough, I can leave my current position with a refreshing expression on my face, perhaps because I do not depend on people and am not tied to relationships.



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4. Returning as a reporter and opening the days of the Confessions of Love

Although he was promoted to the head of the newspaper division of the editorial bureau, which was the senior deputy director, he did not become the editor-in-chief.

In that case, it was customary for him to go to the editorial board, but he didn't want to.

In a situation where there was no higher elevation to climb, there was no one to say to even if he would take a break, but this person returned to the news scene.



"It is customary to say hello with respect to one's wishes after finishing the editorial board. I was able to go to the editorial board, but that seemed like an easy choice. If I go to the editorial board, I write columns and write editorials and have a good quality. I did that job, and above all, it's a place that many people want to go to. So I don't think I'll be going there again, so I was going to go to the editorial department or the digital department as a reviewer anywhere, but I ended up going to the Saturday edition."



He was in a position where he was instructed by his juniors, and he planned and wrote articles just like his juniors, but that didn't matter.

He said that it was good to be able to deal with in-depth articles with more leeway than when he was in the business department, and most of all, it was good not to criticize others.



"When I was in the business department, I said that I was somewhat restrained, but I wielded the sword of criticism. I think the blade of criticism that I wield in the form of writing hurts the most. Writing lasts a long time. I thought it was good. It was good that I didn't have that burden when I came to the Saturday edition."



Juniors in the same department looked at this person, "When I had concerns, I looked at this person's face, and when it was difficult to decide the direction of the article, I looked at this person.

It wasn't that he gave the right answer every time, but it seems that he was willing to do so.


He was also a good journalist when he served as editorial board, political director, and deputy director, but no more and no less.

As I said, he was an ordinary reporter, and there were many other reporters like him.

Had he returned to the editorial room, he would have reached his retirement age as one of those mediocre journalists.

He came to the Saturday edition and began to articulate his image as his reporter.

He built his own 'coverage area' through long-winded articles such as articles about the NIS commenting with Won Se-hun as the subject and articles about the manipulation of spies in Japan.

It felt like he was reborn as a journalist.

There were also his good colleagues.

He said that the six years he was on Saturday were the days of the Confessions of Love in his life as a journalist

.



“I was fortunate to be able to leave at the end while being applauded by my juniors, but I think it was because I worked with the juniors in the field. If I was in a responsible position, I would have to play a responsible role, and if I did, I would have bumped into the juniors because of the role, but I was in the same position as the juniors for the last 6 years and was in a position to receive instructions from the desk together. I think there was a sense of camaraderie.”


5. Reduce my voice and raise their voice

When I received a suggestion from the desk whether to take on the in-depth interview corner, it was the feeling of the plaintiff's complaint.

I wanted to do it, but I couldn't say I would give it a try.

I wrote an interview article about 50 pages of manuscript paper once a month with the title of <Jongchul Kim's Here>.

There were people who knew the name, but there were many who didn't.

I searched for people who were in the lower ranks rather than the higher ones, those in the dark rather than the bright ones, and I tried to hear their voices.

He said he didn't care at all about the number of comments or views.

Some articles elicited an explosive response, while others did not.

However, there were no meaningless articles or meaningless characters.


“I thought of that when I gave a microphone to people with weak voices or people who don’t have a microphone. People with high voices can have their voices heard even if I don’t have to meet them. I wanted to meet people who couldn’t, and people who were brave enough to go their own way without being conscious of public opinion.”


The purpose of this man's writing was clear.

To empathize with the reporter is to broaden the scope of that sympathy and deepen the understanding of the other person.

It is not easy to find an image of questioning the 'fact' as if asking questions by pointing out a question that remains in the answer or a part that is inconsistent with the facts.

While reading this person's writing, I wondered if it could have contained more stories of people who thought differently, whether the generous gaze towards the same side was too much, and whether it was because they were on the same side in a passage that needed criticism rather than encouragement. There were many times when I had questions.



"I also think that this may be the limitation and weakness of my writing. First of all, in order to know the philosophy and character of that person, I wanted to listen to their stories. Everyone is comfortable. But on the other hand, I don't think it's right to do character interviews like that. They also asked questions they didn't like. They did it in their own way, but I don't know if it's lacking. There wasn't."



Journalists are people who live as if they are serving the word critique.

He is no exception to believing that criticism is the essence of the press, but he is not swayed by the temptation of 'intellectual quality'.

Do not advise or advise reporters.

neither evaluate nor judge.

stubborn in this regard.

It is hard to know that the world is not so easily divided into right and wrong, but he gladly raises his voice saying 'You are right'.

'



Those who have a title are called by title, but if they don't, most

are called

'teacher' .

He writes 'teacher' to a college student who is his son's age.

He does not spare the expression 'teacher' even for those who would be appropriate for 'Mr.

Because there is a lot to learn from those people, and there is actually a lot to learn from them.



His own writing did not give off the smell of Kim Jong-cheol.

The voice of the person asking the question is kept to a minimum, and the voice and appearance of the interviewee answering are loud and bright.

He does not mention his personal relationship with the interviewee.

There is no doubt that there is no greed for good sentences, but I get rid of that greed before writing.

Sometimes it reads well and sometimes it doesn't.

It's not a matter of the sentence, it's because the characters this person has chosen are uncomfortable.

Rough, reckless, and sometimes even objectionable people come to me as a human, warm and generous person through this person's writings.

That is the power of Kim Jong-cheol.

Writing an interview article is not easy.

It is even more difficult to write an article that will survive for a long time.

He is the one who did the hard work.

This person wrote a long-lived article with the names of the people he met.

It is the virtue of trying to erase himself.



Around the time of his retirement, he published a book called <Special You> by grouping the interview articles he had serialized.

He makes efforts to promote the publication of the book by notifying him on Facebook as well as holding a book talk show.

It is because they think that it will be helpful to the publisher if they sell at least one more book.

At the first book talk show held at a bookstore in Tongui-dong, Seoul, 12 out of 20 interviewees attended.

There were also a few people from the provinces.

It is not easy to deliberately take the time to attend the author's book talk show just after one interview.

I didn't have any special acquaintances, and I didn't even give them a remuneration.


6. When the times change, people must also change.

The last person he met was human rights activist Park Rae-gun.

He wrote at the end of the interview article:


-You're still young by today's standards, so why are you trying to retire?

(Kim Jong-cheol)


“Our society also needs innovation and change. We have been upgrading the spirit of the times, but I don’t think we can keep up with the changes. It’s not that our generation isn’t helpful, but now we have to shift the focus (to the next generation). ."

(Park Rae-gun)



Although he sympathized with him, he could not readily give his hand to realizing his dream because of the harsh reality of sports.

Ahead of the retirement age at the end of this month, I felt sorry for 'Raegon-hyung', so the road to Gojan Station felt far away.



Thank you to the readers who loved 'Kim Jong-cheol's Here'.


He informed the reader of his resignation in just nine letters, 'Ahead of the retirement age at the end of this month'.

He borrows the mouth of Park Rae-gun and he is talking about why he is backing down.

He even thought that it was a bit absurd to finish what he had been doing for over 5 years like this, but when I think about it, he was also a gay person who organizes things like that.



He reached retirement age, but he could work more if he wanted to, and the company recommended it.

He shook his head horizontally, although there was also an offer to cover only the interview corners that were well-received by readers.

He's done enough, and now it's time to leave.

He likes and is proud of his job as a journalist. When asked if he would like to work further as a journalist, he says he doesn't want to.

He explained the reason why he was leaving his current position at length, but he said that if I shortened it briefly, I would have to do such a good job by myself.



“In a way, I was playing a role that shines. It was a very honorable position to write an article under my name and with a large space devoted to it. We have to empty it, so the more capable juniors who want to do that kind of thing will have a chance.”



Coming into journalism in the late 1980s, his heyday was in the late 90s to early 2000s, and he said he had to play a changed role in a changed world.

He said that it is up to the people in the field to solve the problems of the media right now.



"Of course, I have an idea. When I tell my friends, 'You guys shouldn't be like this, you have to do this' or 'I don't think like that', the juniors don't seem to follow and say, 'That's right'. I don't think it's right either. I think the role of me and my generation right now is to encourage and support juniors who are struggling so that they can see for a long time."



- The Chosun Ilbo, former editor-in-chief Kim Dae-jung, has been in the media industry for nearly 60 years.

There are pros and cons to the tone, but wouldn't it be good to use that experience to continue working in the media field?



It took less than a second to get an answer.



"I have a different opinion. That part..."



-Ah...

Yes



"Isn't he the person who should have left the stage earlier... He has to leave the stage, the stage should be empty Another person comes and tells a different story, and the fact that the same person has been telling the same story for decades is not fresh and old-fashioned... . The times are very advanced now, and the people who once stood on the stage of history are already down, but I don’t think they are still doing it. I think the roles of those people should change.”


7. Personal life is as important as work

I have experience standing at the crossroads of life and death.

During a medical examination in 2007, I was told that there was something bad about the pancreas.

He was then in his mid-40s.

It was a time when I was at the height of my work as a reporter, and it was a time when I was approaching the apex in both work and organization.

I thought it would be good for children who are middle school and elementary school students to become college students.



“I thought that if I showed a negative image, the person concerned would have a hard time, so even when I went to a visit, I cried a lot in the car in advance, and when I looked at my face, I looked bright, but I was very calm. I was thinking about how I would clean up a place like this without it. I've lived well and I have to go someday, but I'm just calm. I thought he was my husband, but he was a very strange person."

Jeongyeon / Kim Jong-cheol's wife



Because it is a rare cancer, doctors were divided on how to treat it after surgery.

He studied foreign papers by himself.



"After the surgery, after looking around, I decided not to receive chemotherapy and to watch. I didn't know if it could happen again or what would happen, so from then on, I paid attention to my body for the first time. I started growing vegetables by law. At that time, when I was working as an editorial member, I also reduced outside activities…”



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From then on, I started to pursue work-life balance.

His interest in ecology and the environment grew, and he began to take care of his family, which had been pushed back by work.

He was also active in household chores such as cooking and cleaning.

When he regained his health and took on the busy post of political director, he didn't want to lose his work-life balance.



"Reporters are so caught up in their work that they easily miss those close to them, such as their daily life and family. It's easy to harm their health.... Kim Jong-cheol had a lot of trouble because his pancreas was not good. It seemed like he was trying to balance life and work, so that person, a journalist, is a healthy person who works hard in the past, but takes good care of his own life.”

Lee Joo-hyeon/ Head of the Hankyoreh Issues Division



When he retired, his juniors made a book called <Here, Kim Jong-cheol>.

It is the only book in the world.

Twenty-eight juniors shared their stories with this person.

It even includes a proper interview, but considering that it is a tribute to a senior who is leaving, the content is quite moving.

He is remembered as a dignified senior who changed his posture and made him sit down, and a warm senior who discussed his marriage issues.

Some say that they wanted to join the Hankyoreh because of this person, and that they wanted to work in a specific department because of this person.

It seems to have been an object of reverence for some people beyond the pillars and examples of the organization.



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8. The 'decline' of the media is self-inflicted

When I finished my 30-year career and received severance pay that was less than the salary of an executive at a large corporation, I wondered if this was the only reward for half of my life.

Still, I think I lived with the vested interests while working as a journalist at a time when the media was not strong enough.



“In a broad sense, I belong to the class I have. Beyond the salary level, the media is among the groups that move our society, and the media I worked with were also established media with hundreds of people working…. Yes, because he sees the world from the position he is standing in. At some point, the established media in Korea belonged to the establishment class along with the development of Korean society. I started my career as a journalist, thinking that I might have to look at the lower voices and lower aspects of life.”



In the late 1980s, when this man entered the world of journalism, his job as a journalist was quite a proud one.

The salaries and welfare of journalists were comparable to that of large corporations, and their self-esteem was much higher than that.

The newspaper that this person wrote was the most striking fruit of the democratization movement of the 1980s, and it was a place where the name alone shined.

In the past 30 years, the status of the media has declined sharply.

It's been a while since the media peaked as an industry, and the social reputation has also plummeted to the point where the term "giregi" has become commonplace.

This person described the changes in the media over the past 30 years with the word 'corruption'.

Although there are external factors, it is viewed as self-sufficient profit.



“In the past, apart from ideology, the media played a role of masking the basic values ​​of democracy. I think this is really a problem. The biggest problem is that the media's main function, the formation of public opinion, is too arbitrary and political."



It is certain that this person's criticism was aimed mainly at the conservative media, but the progressive media did not show a generous attitude.

The words 'feeling away from readers' contained concerns and concerns about the family, who could not find a clear direction and alternative.

Even though I brushed it off and stood up, there is still something that bothers me.



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He said the end of the festival (晩節)

.

He engraves in his heart the words that he does not lose his incision and cherishes him more even as he gets older.

It means that I will grow old confidently without looking around and giving up my beliefs in my later years.

It was said a lot by Jeong Ok-ja, an emeritus professor at Seoul National University, whom this person respects, but he seems to be keeping those words in his head as he turns 60 and seeks a new life.

In a world where journalists kneeling in front of money, writing articles today and bowing their heads in front of power tomorrow, are no longer a topic of discussion.

When this man who was told that he was not a man without time but a man who could not pass on time, used the expression “Entire Festival”, and the old words sounded anew.



“When you are young, there are many opportunities to correct mistakes even if you make them. But as you get older, you seem to have fewer opportunities like that…. I think it’s better not to be greedy when you get older. do."



He asked what he wanted to do in the future.

He said that he wanted to be of some help in alleviating the injustices of the people of Hantong-ryeon, who live with the label of an anti-state organization in the wrong way due to the case of the spies in Japan.

Even after retirement, he seems to be paying more attention to places that people pay less attention to.



*This interview was held at SBS Mok-dong headquarters on August 2nd.



※ The full video of the interview with former reporter Kim Jong-cheol will be released for the first time on the SBS News YouTube channel at 9 pm on the 6th.

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