VIPs grace JoongAng’s 50th anniversaryThe JoongAng Media Network celebrated its 50th anniversary with congratulatory remarks from many friends and supporters.
The ceremony, which was attended by 1,000 guests on Tuesday, was focused on a spirit of openness and celebration. There were no designated seats and every participant could equally enjoy the celebration.
The ceremony began with a performance by traditional singer Jang Sa-ik. After singing a song, he expressed the wish that he could sing at the 100th anniversary ceremony of the JoongAng Media Network.
That was followed by a performance by Nah Youn-sun, a jazz vocalist. She sang “My Favorite Things” from the musical “The Sound of Music.”
“Jazz music doesn’t get old because they keep making variations,” Nah said. “I hope the JoongAng Ilbo also gets renewed as time goes by.”
The first congratulatory remark was made by President Park Geun-hye via video. “The JoongAng Media Network suggested solutions every time the country faced important challenges and has greatly contributed to uniting people and easing conflicts on the peninsula,” Park said.
Former President Lee Myung-bak was next. “It was today in 1965, 50 years ago, when the JoongAng Ilbo was established,” Lee said. “I was a senior university student and I at first disagreed with the idea of a large corporation starting a media company.
“But I would like to congratulate it for taking a leading role in the media industry for the last 50 years despite ups and downs.”
Lee also mentioned that it was the JoongAng Ilbo that introduced the concept of a media company.
“The JoongAng Ilbo always said it was a media company, and just like other companies,” Lee said, “I wish all journalists would seriously think of their responsibilities and attitudes for the next 50 years by taking a look at the past 50 years based on the management’s vision.”
Former Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil also appeared on stage in a wheelchair and the audience welcomed him with a big round of applause. It was the first time he accepted an invitation to a public event since he suffered a stroke in 2008.
Kim was gentle but strong when he gave his congratulatory remarks, in which he said the JoongAng Ilbo history of the past 50 years coincided with the country’s modernization. He said he helped plan the May 16, 1961 “revolution,” or coup d’etat, to modernize the country.
“The JoongAng Ilbo was established when Korea finally was exporting $100 million worth of products a year and was preparing for another leap,” Kim said. “As a leader of the Korean media industry, it kept challenging itself and led to innovations. The JoongAng Ilbo’s 50 years are included in the history of people who tried to make a better world.”
Kim brought up one of his pet theories, “the mother theory.”
“The past is mother to the present and it’s a self-portrait that we must keep carefully,” he said. “The 50 years of the JoongAng Ilbo is the song of the mother.”
“Times have changed but I hope you will still be proud to become ‘upright pens’ for the country and the people,” he continued. “And I hope the JoongAng Ilbo, which prepares for another leap in the future, will resonate even further with the people.”
As a living witness to modern history, Kim has been publishing his memoirs in a series in the JoongAng Ilbo newspapers. He describes the Korean War, former President Park Chung Hee and many other important events from his perspective in the center of the inner circles of power.
LG U+ Vice Chairman Lee Sang-chul, who carefully listened to Kim’s remarks, said, “I was very impressed and it touched everybody, too.”
Businessmen competed to give their greetings to Kim. Shinsegae Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin bowed and introduced himself.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]