Boston Korea Newspaper
For six years Jang Myeong Sul worked under the everchanging attitudes of leadership in the Korean Society of New England. As a member of the New England Korean news team he endured biannually elected presidents, who each had different priorities.
If he got lucky, the two years would pass swimmingly with nothing but support from his superior. But as every tenure ended, the possibility loomed that the new president would intervene in Jang’s news stories and cause large scale conflict.
“It was time to change,” Jang explained. He needed a new beginning. When Jang’s time at the New England Korean news team concluded in 2005, he began his “one man show.” The support and comfort of a larger society immediately perished, and he could depend only on himself. Jang took on the roles of writer, editor, designer and distributor of Boston Korea all by himself.
To make it work in 2005, Jang began with 6 a.m. solo trips that went from Allston to New Hampshire to hand deliver his newspapers. The influence of his newspaper spread, and it is now common news source among Boston’s Korean population today. Boston Korea newspapers fill the shelves across Allston convenience stores and H-Marts – a popular Korean grocery chain. With a cozy office and a staff of five, Jang now has a team to cover all the roles he once took upon himself.
With international students continuously flowing into Boston’s schools, Jang’s articles now have a specific section targeting the younger population. Compared to the Korean student population in Boston in 2014, when Korean university students peaked, Jang estimates in 2020 the numbers are down 20-30%. Despite the declining numbers of Korean students, Jang never fails to update his readers on domestic stories back home. “I want my readers feeling Boston can be like home,” Jang stated.
Allston, only a short walk away from an international-heavy student base at Boston University, is often filled with Korean students looking for a taste of home through food or entertainment. While Jang always fills his newspaper with stories from home and events emphasizing US-Korean relations, he also allocates a specific section of every issue to broadcast upcoming community events in the Boston area.
“The main source of growth for the Boston Korean community, surprisingly, is not the overwhelming number of famous universities.” It is, rather, “younger Korean students coming for elementary school,” Jang claimed. If one student comes, especially one of younger age, the entire Korean family comes too. To target the interests of parents who are accompanying their children, domestic and international politics have become a major focus of Jang’s newspaper.
Jang knows that although the importance of hard-copy newspapers has diminished due to the world of technology, there are people who depend on his newspaper and have made it a necessity for a foreigner surviving in Boston. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020, many international university students in Boston had family and friends back in Korea. Jang ensured each article began with an update on the outbreak in Korea.
“My readers are top priority” claimed Jang proudly.
Written by Yun Peng Zhang