Chang Seok-Yong was admitted to Chung-Ang University’s Department of Foreign Languages in 1974. He is an English teacher at Shin-il High School, and also the President of the Committee of Korean Arts Critics. This committee was founded in 1980 and consists of critics from various areas of arts. He is also the author of In Search of New Wave of Korean Films (2009) and many other books. He has been the judge and consultant for various film festivals such as the Daejongsang Film Festival, and well as the Jeonju and Busan International Film Festivals. He is currently also a dance columnist. Accordingly, the Chung-Ang Herald was able to meet him at Daehangno, the mecca of theatrical art. After watching a salpuri (a sort of shamanistic rite that is supposed to rid us of such influences) performance, we were able to sit down with him and ask a few questions.
|▲ Mr. Jang’s In Search of New Wave of Korean Films (2009)
What was it like being part of the Chung-Ang Herald during the 70’s?
Well, I took the Chung-Ang Herald entrance exam and received the top score but due to a personal schedule, I was not able to make it to the interview. However the advisor for the Herald at the time, Professor Gwak Dong-Seong of the Department of Commerce and Trade, was considerate enough to make an exception for me, so I was able to get in. I also remember having a lot of pride in participating in the process of making an English newspaper, since they weren’t that common at the time. Unlike nowadays, none of the members had studied abroad, but everyone was really talented. Also during my time, the Chung-Ang Herald used to make what was called <Daily English> which was basically a study-aid with English idioms and words, and we would distribute it to students.
Could you explain a little about how the Chung-Ang Herald was published?
We would have to type our articles with a typewriter, and after our final drafts were done with, we would send it over to a printing house. After sending our work over to the printing house, we would celebrate by having a few drinks with the editor-in-chief. I also remember how hard the news reporters and the editor-in-chief had to work. We didn’t even have a copy machine; we worked in really poor conditions so it took a lot of work in order to publish each edition.
*At the present, each reporter at the Chung-Ang Herald posts their articles on an online storage service. Afterwards, we meet with a designer to work on the layout, which is of course done on a computer. Reporters are able to check the final version through a pdf file before the magazine is published.
What especially comes to mind when you think back on your days with the Chung-Ang Herald?
I remember how I would practice on the typewriter in our shabby office. I also remember having a good time drinking with other reporters or heads of the Herald, but sometimes these meetings would end really late and I would not be let inside my house because I had not kept my curfew. During my college years I recall taking the lead in a student movement. Other student reporters in the Herald usually just concentrated on their studies so the Chung-Ang Herald had a sort of academic atmosphere, but I guess I was different.
While working as a film/arts reviewer and also a high school teacher, did you ever find that your experiences at the Chung-Ang Herald helped you in any way?
My experiences at the Chung-Ang Herald are very helpful to me even to this day. In the past, I translated the musical <West Side Story> (performed in 1978 at the Yu Gwan-Sun Memorial Hall) and later went on to being the first Korean to judge at the PREMIO GROLLE D'ORO film festival in 1994. I believe that my experiences at the Chung-Ang Herald played a part in bringing me to these achievements.
Anything you would like to say in commemoration of the 500th edition?
The Chung-Ang Herald has the longest history among all the English newspapers, so I think the current reporters should definitely have pride in what they do. I also think that reports should make efforts to lead the way for other English newspapers as well.
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