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The First Anchorperson in Korea
Son Min-kyung Editor  |
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승인 2004.09.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

"LET ME report the news about the political climate. It is... There is nothing special in politics." 30 years ago, an anchorperson reported the news twisting his words. His name is Pong Du-wan ('58, Dept. of English Lang. & Lit.). Decades ago, he was the first and the most popular anchorperson in Korea on account of his cutting tongue. Although we cannot see him as an anchorperson anymore, many members of the older generation still remember him. The Yonsei Annals met him at a restaurant near his office.

   Pong Du-wan entered Yonsei Univ. in 1958 after one failure of the entrance examination. He wanted to be a doctor at first, but he was poor at mathematics. He decided not to major in pre-medicine. However, his poor ability at that enabled him to be an excellent reporter and anchorperson in the future. When he was a junior and senior, he was a reporter for Yonsei Chunchu. "If I had been a student in the Dept. of Pre-Med., I would not have worked at the university newspaper office," says Pong. Working as a reporter, he came to be interested in journalism naturally.



During his senior days, he took an examination to be a reporter. After the several failures, he became a reporter for the Hankook Ilbo Daily (The Korea Daily). At that time, it was a difficult situation to broadcast in Korea. He decided to go to the U.S. as a Washington coorrespondent of The Korea Times and the Hankook Ilbo. Returning from the U.S., he became an editorial writer and news commentator for TBC (Tongyang Broadcasting Company). He hosted the news program "TBC Evening News." At that time, he earned fame as an anchorperson. "When I was an anchorperson in TBC, it was the age of Pres. Park Jung-hee and our nation was under a military dictatorship. At that time, the President's staff always watched TV broadcasting." There were three kinds of broadcasting centers in Korea: KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation), and TBC. KBS and MBC were under the control of the President, but TBC was not. "That's why I could attack the government more than any other anchors in acid language," says Pong. Taking this opportunity, he became the most popular anchorperson and was active as the master of a TV debate for decades.

   Instead of working as an anchorperson, Pong has been doing various kinds of volunteer work and NGO activities. He is the chairman for both the National Council for the Red Cross Volunteers and the Council for One Korea Assistance. He sends 200,000 candles to North Korea every year to give light to North Koreans. "As the candles stand for love of Jesus, I can give hope as well as light," says he. In addition, Pong is helping physically challenged people. "I saw an old lady who does not have fingers. She was manipulating the rosary beads using her mouth. At that time, I was thankful to have five fingers," says Pong. He was impressed by her and started doing volunteer work more actively than before.

   As a senior, he gives some advice to Yonseians. "Above all, Yonseians have to know that they are happy. Yonseians are studying under good professors and environment; much better than other universities. In this situation, they have to feel responsible about Korean society, and be the best human beings among Korean students. Next, Yonseians need to have an international mind. I do not want Yonseians to be a frog in a small pond. I would like Yonseians to have interests in international issues as well as domestic affairs, and to be international leaders. Lastly, Yonseians should have the spirit of service. This world is not made by individuals. We, all together are making society. Yonseians must help others who need to be helped," advises Pong.

   Although some Yonseians have never seen him ever on TV, it seems that his fluent and flowery speech convinced them that he was the greatest Korean anchorperson through Korean broadcasting history. Furthermore, his energetic social activities throughout his life teaches us the true feature of noblesse oblige.


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