[EDITORIALS]Leading the pack by exampleThe JoongAng Ilbo has changed its management structure on the appointment of the paper’s major shareholder and publisher, Hong Seok-hyun, as ambassador to the United States. The paper has introduced a system that guarantees the independence of the editorial department from management, highly regarded as a barometer of an “independent and free press.” The paper, which appointed outside directors for the first time among Korean media outlets, has restructured its board to be the supreme decision-making body of the paper. The editorial committee has been enlarged and junior reporters are included. The paper followed the decision-making structure of the world’s leading papers. The change will create a new culture in the paper.
In the past 11 years, the JoongAng Ilbo has played a leading role in changing Korea’s newspaper business. Publishing section papers, adoption of horizontal writing and enlarging opinion pages has helped other Korean newspapers break the old practices that they followed without criticism. Establishment of transparent governance and separation of editorial rights from management this time will be recorded as another reform that changes Korea’s newspaper business.
But the system alone can’t guarantee everything. To make such systematic devices work efficiently, a successful management that attains financial independence should support them. Independence of editorial rights that overcome not only outside pressure but also internal ones must be secured. It will be attained when newspaper workers including reporters are filled with the spirit that they will only tread on the right path of journalism.
We have been faithful to fair reporting, taking objectivity and unbiased journalism as our utmost value. We refrained from going to extremes and lead the way to integration by keeping our minds open. Internally, we refined news articles by separating facts from opinion and emotion, thus we untangled confusion and restored press principles. We will continue such efforts and perform the duty of watching and criticizing power without negligence.
Due to the extreme polarization of our society, our people confront each other on almost all issues. We desperately need to integrate the deeply-divided social gap.
We pledge to play the role of the press faithfully and present alternatives with criticism.