Reporters on the Job

Shame in Korea: Reporter Soyoung Ho went to three different areas of Seoul, South Korea, interviewing people about the shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (see story). She was surprised by how willing people were to talk, and the similarity of their comments. "People went on and on. Normally, Koreans won't stop and talk to you in the street. They all said No. 1, how embarrassing it is that he's Korean. This is the top story here," she says.

Koreans live in one of the most Internet-connected nations in the world. Two-thirds of South Korean homes have a broadband connection (compared to 45 percent in the US). "Lots of Korean 'netizens' were talking about this [online]. They say its the fault of his parents that he did this. They say the parents didn't raise their children right. There's even a rumor that the parents of the guy [suspected shooter Cho Seung-Hui] have committed suicide. This may be because a few years ago a Korean soldier shot some people, and his mother's shame was so great that she killed herself."

Why President? The size of the pro-secularist rally in Turkey this past weekend in Ankara caught reporter Yigal Schleifer, as well as many analysts, by surprise. "It was one of the largest in decades, and it was broad-based," he says. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people marched. "The last big turnout was for the funeral of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink in January. About 100,000 people came out."

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The strong feelings, says Yigal, are prompted by concerns that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pronounced Air-doh-wan) might run for president (see story). He heads an Islamist party. Why would the prime minister want to be president? "It's a greater honor. The president is seen as the elder statesman of the country. The PM is seen as having to get his hands dirty with politics."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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