DOI QR코드

DOI QR Code

Through the Looking Glass: The Role of Portals in South Korea's Online News Media Ecology

  • Published : 2019.12.30

Abstract

Media manipulation of breaking news through article selection, ranking and tweaking of social media data and comment streams is a growing concern for society. We argue that the combination of human and machine curation on media portals marks a new period for news media and journalism. Although intermediary platforms routinely claim that they are merely the neutral technological platform which facilitates news and information flows, rejecting any criticisms that they are operating as de facto media organisations; instead, we argue for an alternative, more active interpretation of their roles. In this article we provide a contemporary account of the South Korean ('Korean') online news media ecology as an exemplar of how contemporary media technologies, and in particular portals and algorithmic recommender systems, perform a powerful role in shaping the kind of news and information that citizens access. By highlighting the key stakeholders and their positions within the production, publication and distribution of news media, we argue that the overall impact of the major portal platforms of Naver and Kakao is far more consequential than simply providing an entertaining media diet for consumers. These portals are central in designing how and which news is sourced, produced and then accessed by Korean citizens. From a regulatory perspective the provision of news on the portals can be a somewhat ambiguous and moving target, subject to soft and harder regulatory measures. While we investigate a specific case study of the South Korean experience, we also trace out connections with the larger global media ecology. We have relied on policy documents, stakeholder interviews and portal user 'walk throughs' to understand the changing role of news and its surfacing on a distinctive breed of media platforms.

References

  1. ACCC. (2018). Digital Platforms Inquiry: Preliminary Report. Canberra. Retrieved from https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/inquiries/digital-platforms-inquiry/preliminaryreport.
  2. ACCC. (2019). Digital Platforms Inquiry. Final Report. 26 July. Canberra. Retrieved from https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/digital-platforms-inquiry-final-report.
  3. Algorithmic Watch. (2019). Automating Society: Taking Stock of Automated Decision-Making in the EU. Berlin. Retrieved from www.algorithmwatch.org/automating-society
  4. Barnett, S. (2019, February 14). Cairncross review: Two cheers and two fears for the future of UK journalism. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/cairncross-review-two-cheers-and-two-fears-for-the-futureof-uk-journalism-111658
  5. Bartl, M. (2018). YouTube channels, uploads and views: A statistical analysis of the past 10 years. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 24(1), 16-32. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517736979
  6. Bogle, A. (2017). Has the Google of South Korea Found a Way to Save Struggling News Outlets? The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/12/naver-news-adrevenue/547412/
  7. Bruns, A. (2018). Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, social media, and the Public Sphere. New York: Peter Lang.
  8. Bucher, T. (2018). If…Then: Algorithmic Power and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
  9. Cairncross, F. (2019). Cairncross Review: A Sustainable Future for Journalism. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/779882/021919_DCMS_Cairncross_Review_.pdf
  10. Choi, K. (2019). Personal Interview. 20 February, 2019. Seoul.
  11. Civil Rights.org (2019). 'Civil Rights and Tech Advocates Sound Alarm on Racial Bias in Predictive Policing. Retrieved from https://civilrights.org/2016/08/31/civil-rights-andtech-advocates-sound-alarm-on-racial-bias-in-predictive-policing/
  12. Flew, T., & Dwyer, T. (2019). Response to ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Preliminary Report. Canberra. Retrieved from https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Professor%20Terry%20Flew%20and%20Associate%20Professor%20Tim%20Dwyer%20%28February%202019%29.PDF
  13. Forlano, L. (2018). Invisible Algorithms, Invisible Politics. Retrieved from http://www.publicbooks.org/invisible-algorithms-invisible-politics/
  14. Giddings, S. (2006). Walkthrough: Videogames and Technocultural Form. (PhD dissertation), University of the West of England, Bristol.
  15. Gillespie, T. (2010). The Politics of Platforms. New Media and Society, 12(3), 347-364. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444809342738
  16. Gillespie, T. (2018). Custodians of the Internet. Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  17. Helmond, A. (2015). The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready. Social Media + Society, Online First, 1-11.
  18. Kim, D. (2019). Interview with the Director Government Relations & Policy Affairs, Kakao. 19 February.
  19. Kim, J.-H. (2019, February 19). Yonhap News Agency Interview [Interview]. Seoul.
  20. Kwak, K.S. (2012). Media and Democratic Transition in South Korea. New York: Routledge
  21. Lee, K., & Joshi, K. (2018). IS Supported Global Information Exchanges in New Media Environments: An Interview with Jin-Gyu Kim, Manager of IT Operation of Yonhap News Agency, Seoul, Korea. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 21(3), 226-228. https://doi.org/10.1080/1097198X.2018.1505063
  22. Light, B., Burgess, J. & Duguay, S. (2017). The Walkthrough Method: An approach to the study of apps. New Media & Society Online First 1-20.
  23. Lim, J. (2011). First-level and second-level intermedia agenda-setting among major news websites. Asian Journal of Communication, 21(2), 167-185. https://doi.org/10.1080/01292986.2010.539300
  24. Marsden, T. (2017). 'Google vs Naver. Google's Struggles - South Korea in Focus', 13 March. Retrieved from https://www.minttwist.com/blog/google-vs-naver-googlesstruggles-south-korea-focus/.
  25. Mochizuki, T. (2019). 'Yahoo Japan and Line Link Up', The Australian (from the WSJ) 19 November.
  26. Moller, J., Velde, R. N. v. d., Merten, L., & Puschmann, C. (2019). Explaining Online News Engagement Based on Browsing Behavior: Creatures of Habit? Social Science Computer Review, Online First, 1-17. doi:10.1177/0894439319828012 https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439319828012
  27. Media Reform Coalition (2019). Who Owns the Media? Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London.
  28. Moore, M., & Tambini, D. (Eds) (2018). Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. New York: Oxford University Press.
  29. Moore, M. (2018). Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age. London: One World.
  30. Napoli, P. (2019). Social Media and the Public Interest: Media Regulation in the Disinformation Age. New York: Columbia University Press.
  31. Newman, N., Fletcher, R., Kalogeropoulos, A., Levy, D. A., & Nielsen, R. K. (2018). Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018. Oxford. Retrieved from http://media.digitalnewsreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/digital-news-report-2018.pdf?x89475
  32. Newman, N., Fletcher, R., Kalogeropoulos, A., Levy, D. A., & Nielsen, R. K. (2019). Reuters Institute Digital News Report. Oxford. Retrieved from http://www.digitalnewsreport.org
  33. Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: NYU Press.
  34. Pariser, E. (2011). The Filter Bubble: What the internet is hiding from you. New York: Penguin Press.
  35. Park, S., Lee, J. H., & Bae, H. J. (2005). End user searching: A Web log analysis of NAVER, a Korean Web search engine. Library and Information Science Research, 27(2005), 203-221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2005.01.013
  36. Pasquale, F. (2015). The Black Box Society: The secret algorithms that control money and information. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  37. Pasquale, F. (2019) 'The Second Wave of Algorithmic Accountability', Law and Political Economy. 25 November. Retrieved from https://lpeblog.org/2019/11/25/the-second-waveof-algorithmic-accountability/
  38. Reporters Without Borders (2019). World Press Freedom Index Ranking. Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/ranking?#
  39. Shim, J. P., Dekleva, S., French, A. M., & Guo, C. (2012). Social Networking and Social Media in the United States, South Korea, and China. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 30, 1-13.
  40. Sorensen, J., & Hutchinson, J. (2018). Algorithms and Public Service Media. In G. Lowe, H. V. d. Bulck, & K. Donders (Eds.), RIPE@2017: Public Service Media in the Networked Society. Goteborg: Nordicom.
  41. Spry, D., & Dwyer, T. (2016). The Representation of Australia in South Korean Online News: October 2014 - April 2015. A report for the Australia-Korea Foundation, (pp. 1 - 51). Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  42. Spry, D., & Dwyer, T. (2017). Representations of Australia in South Korean online news: a qualitative and quantitative approach utilizing Leximancer and Korean keywords in context. Quality and Quantity, 51(3), 1045-1064. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-016-0387-1
  43. Statista. (2018). Mobile phone internet user penetration in South Korea from 2015 to 2022. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/284204/south-korea-mobile-phoneinternet-user-penetration/.
  44. Statista. (2019). Kakaotalk https://www.statista.com/statistics/278846/kakaotalk-monthlyactive-users-mau/
  45. Tudor, D. (2012). Korea: The Impossible Country. China: Tuttle Publishing. pp.167-169.
  46. Wilding, D., Fray, P., Molitorisz, S., & McKewon, E. (2018). The Impact of Digital Platforms on News and Journalistic Content. University of Technology Sydney. Retrieved from https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/centre-mediatransition/news/impact-digital-platforms-news.
  47. Wylie, C. (2019). Mindf*ck. Inside Cambridge Analytica's Plot to Break the World. London: Profile Books.
  48. Yonhap News. (2019). About Yonhap News. Accessed 2 April, 2019. Retrieved from https://en.yna.co.kr/aboutus/yonhapnews
  49. Youn, S. and Lee, H. (2015). 'The Ongoing Media Pluralism Debate in South Korea', in Peggy Valcke et al. (Eds) Media Pluralism and Diversity: Concepts, Risks, and Global Trends. Basingstoke, UK and NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  50. Zuckerberg, M. (2018). A Blueprint for Content Governance and Enforcement. Retrieved from Facebook Newsroom website: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/ablueprint-for-content-governance-andenforcement/10156443129621634/?hc_location=ufi