“The most rewarding thing about this job is that you get to provide news where news is needed most, and I think North Korea is the number one candidate for that,”
says VOA Korean Service Chief Dong Hyuk Lee. “When we report on something for North Koreans, we don’t get feedback directly from North Koreans, but I think we have a very positive impact on our audience. To them, we are often a determining factor for crucial decisions. In this sense, I have a tremendous feeling of reward, even though that reward might not be something tangible or visible.”
Moreover, regardless of whether his listeners are North Koreans or not, Lee says, “I simply love this work. I don’t go out into the field to report anymore, but at heart I’m still a journalist. Whenever news breaks, I’m just excited by it. That’s something you can’t explain. You love what you love.”
Before taking his current post as chief of the VOA Korean Service in 2006, Dong Hyuk Lee worked at Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service for several years. “I joined RFA so I could devote my entire time to covering and studying North Korean related news and issues,” Lee says. His long-standing interest in inter-Korean politics and the U.S.’s role in Korean affairs made the switch to VOA an easy one. Lee developed his interest in journalism while studying Applied English Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. As he completed his Masters Degree in Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Korea Daily of Chicago hired him as a journalist, which combined his passions for journalism and for Korean news and issues.