The ‘New Yorker’ of Seoul marks a decadeThis October marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Seoul Scope, the city’s longstanding monthly culture magazine.
“When several of the other publications started to fall one by one, I was actually envious of them, fearing what I conceived to be my own looming failure,” said the magazine’s publisher, Cho Yoo-hyun. “The past 10 years have been a matter of barely surviving with my nose above the water. Now I feel a load has been lifted.”
Mr. Cho, 42, is the son of Cho Dong-hwa, the 81-year old publisher of a Korean traditional dance magazine that was founded in 1976. The two generations have fathered two nonprofit cultural journals. “Although we’re not running a lucrative business that makes profit, my father, who first established the culture magazine, is my mentor for life,” Mr. Cho said.
Seoul Scope provides information on the city’s life and events. The English edition of the journal, published since 1994, has been lauded by foreign tourists and residents alike. It is one of the few magazines to receive funding from the city.
So what inspired Mr. Cho to found the publication in the first place?
“During my visit to Paris in the early 1990s, I was impressed by the city’s comprehensive culture magazine, Paris Scope. I wanted to create something for Seoul that is the equivalent of America’s New Yorker, Britain’s Time Out and Japan’s Bbia,” he said.
The past 10 years haven’t always been smooth for the publication. The market for the lifestyle and culture genre is nowhere near as big as that for women’s interests or even the automobile, fishing or stereo magazines that attract specific reader niches. This helps to explain why there were no more than four people on the publication staff at the outset.
Seoul Scope has since grown, and at one time served as the primary representative of Korea overseas, as selected by the Korea National Tourism Organization. “Seoul Scope has our generation’s cultural history melted inside it,” Mr. Cho says. “I look forward to its being the critical factor in driving Korea to become a more culturally advanced nation.”
by Ha Jae-sik