« Life in plastic, it's (not) fantastic | Blog home | Deadline fighter »

Doing interviews is the bread and butter of journalism. It is the duty of a journalist to talk to people and share their stories. But it’s a whole other experience to run to all corners of Seoul in record-breaking heat.

Record temperature (Yonhap).jpg
This is the hottest summer on record, which goes back to 1907 when official recording first began (Yonhap)

While Sydney is shivering in the middle of winter and the typhoon rain of my arrival is now a distant memory, I am facing a another extreme phenomenon in the form of a never-ending heatwave. The heat is too much even for the locals as barometers reach historical heights.

Although the temperature only hovers in the low 30s, which back in Sydney would be the ideal beach weather, the combination of high humidity and high population density means that the same 30-degree day in Seoul feels significantly sweatier than in Sydney.

The consolation is that rather than gaining weight from eating-out every meal and the lack of exercise, I have instead been maintaining, if not losing, weight from excessive sweating.

Alright, enough ranting about the weather and back to this week's interviews.

I conducted 3 interviews and featured as a video news presenter on Friday and Saturday. On Friday morning, I interviewed a private English tutor from the United States. It took place in Jamsil, a neighbourhood 50 minutes subway ride from the Herald office on the southern side of the Han River adjacent to Gangnam. I then had to rush to Yongsan, which is near my office, for a feature on a volunteering activity at a local disability centre. Saturday’s schedule was even more hectic. A group interview in the morning took me to the northern outskirt of Seoul in Gangbuk. I then dashed to the south side of Han River to do a video on the 2018 Seoul Dessert Fair.

Map of the interview locations (red markers) and office (blue marker) (Google Map)

As a foreigner with limited knowledge of the local language, it had been difficult to report on the affairs of local Koreans. But seeing and even participating in the two volunteering activities – English-teaching for underprivileged kids and cooking class with the local people with disability – really expanded my horizon.

There were moments of difficulty. The kids and the disabled residents have only basic conversational English ability, so letting them understand my intention to interview was more difficult than I imagined. In addition, I ended up simplifying many of the questions I prepared beforehand. The improvisation often involved removing the ‘why’ part of the question.

Beyond the English Divide, the English-teaching volunteering group I covered on Saturday (Aaron Yip)

Ethical consideration was another important issue. Privacy, for example, was paramount such as not using photos which show the faces of the residents of the disability centre. Another area is fair quotation. Since many could only answer in broken English, I had to be considerate in the transcriptions as to avoid an unfair portrayal.

That’s it for another week. I need to rush back and start writing. There are deadlines to meet. See you later!

About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.