to be frank, I am surprised at how quickly the semester, let alone this year, has gone by. Back in September, as the new Editor-in-Chief of The KAIST Herald, I promised to the readership to uphold a certain set of values within our newspaper. In my first Letter from the Chief, I pledged to commit myself to spreading the truth and fighting the power. Reflecting back on the semester so far, I stood by this promise as I constantly tried to inspire our reporters to appreciate and become aware of the influence their words could have on the KAIST community. Perhaps as a result of my encouragement, although more likely due to the individual drive and aptitude of our reporters, the Herald has not hesitated to actively cover controversial topics, namely the nation’s ongoing political turmoil that has eventually resulted in the National Assembly voting to impeach President Park. Furthermore, our reporters have taken to more active field reporting when covering events inside and outside the school. Many reporters have voluntarily ventured to Seoul or to downtown Daejeon to join the candlelight protests. As one of our more recent examples, we have taken greater interest in the coverage of the Undergraduate Student Council (USC) affairs, closely following the unfolding of events with the elections, even attending the next USC president and vice president candidates’ policy discussion session as a panel member.
Aside from the changes reflected within the pages of the published paper, I also set other goals in an attempt to move the Herald forward. For starters, I encouraged peer editing amongst our reporters to set a platform for collective learning and improvement in the quality of writing. Through a more active online presence, I also attempted to improve our engagement with our readership. As the keenest readers may have already realized, the Herald website, herald.kaist.ac.kr, is being managed more actively. Furthermore, we started to regularly feature some of our articles on our Facebook page as well. Of course, all of what I have written so far is intended to update our readers on some positive changes we are striving for within the Herald. I hope that my recounting of our small successes so far is not misconstrued as gloating into complacency. I would rue the day I become complacent; I would prefer to keep swimming forward instead of letting myself become idle and sink.
Writing this letter, I have come to realize that a lot of people share a common ritual at the end of each year: reflecting. Humans are progressive animals; we always look back on our performance, scrutinizing what we did well, where we fell short, and how to improve. We love to review ourselves and each other, the act of which becomes the foundation for the start of next year where we set New Year’s resolutions in order to redeem our flaws. However, we often tend to be too harsh on ourselves in our judgments. For once, we should relax our uptight attitudes with which we view ourselves and adopt a more accepting perspective with a tinge of optimism.
I’d like to kindly ask our readers to give themselves a pat on the back. Even if your results are not so satisfying, remember that every failure is a learning experience. After all, we have made it this far already!
Young Jip Kim