NPR Is Opening a South Korea Bureau

Elise Hu (pictured) has just landed one of the best jobs in American radio journalism. One that didn’t previously exist.

Beginning sometime next year, Hu will cover South Korea and Japan for NPR. Based out of the public radio service’s first-ever permanent Seoul posting, complementing the work being done out of Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi and Islamabad. From today’s announcement:

Hu, who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR’s on-air, online and multimedia platforms, will take on a new role as NPR’s Seoul reporter.

“We are delighted to announce the opening of a bureau in Seoul,” said NPR’s acting senior vice president of news, Christopher Turpin. “This continues the tradition of NPR’s international coverage that goes beyond the headlines to bring strong voices and well told stories to our listeners at home, providing the necessary context to understand how world events affect our daily lives.”

In the past, Beijing-based Louisa Lim (recently a Knight Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan) filed some memorable coverage of North Korea for NPR. Obviously, South Korea and Japan will come first in terms of Hu’s day-to-day focus. But at a time when the darker country to the north of Seoul is struggling mightily to keep waves of sane information from crossing over on USB sticks, Hu’s tech-beat experience will come in handy in that direction as well.

The D.C.-based Hu has been with NPR since 2011. Prior to that, she was a founding reporter with digital startup The Texas Tribune. Time to start practicing that “Kim Jong-un” pronunciation!

Editor’s Note (2:45 p.m.):
From 2008 to 2012, NPR had a strong reporting presence in Seoul via Doualy Xaykaothao, formerly based in Bangkok and now back home in Dallas.

[Photo credit: Jake Holt/Courtesy NPR]