While the Ottoman Empire was “the sick man of Europe”, the International Division was the terminally ill man of our newspaper. The division had already been in crisis since I joined The KAIST Herald. Originally planned as the section for the international students at KAIST, reporters wrote about problems internationals could relate to. Language barrier, cultural shock, international faculty — division members did their best to cover these topics monthly.
However, the self-imposed limit preventing us from writing on anything not directly related to the international community at KAIST started causing problems. By the spring of 2017, the International Division was effectively doing nothing but reporting ISSS events, posting highlights from KAIST ONE, and rewriting news posted by The Korea Herald. While reporters in other sections were enthusiastically discussing topics they should cover, we were desperately refreshing the international community’s notice page on the KAIST Portal, hoping something worth reporting would happen.
Last December, when told that I would be promoted to head of the division, I experienced bittersweet emotions. Leading the division is, of course, a great privilege. The unfortunate situation in effect, however, was not inspiring. It felt like ruling a kingdom in the period of decline. On the other hand, from rock bottom, there is no way to go but up. Therefore, I decided to take the initiative.
There were only two possible ways of managing the division: the first one was keeping things as they were, “successfully” serving my term as the head, and then delegating my position to someone else while secretly rejoicing being rid of the responsibility. It was an easy solution, but definitely not a pleasant one. Having worked within this division for a while, I did not want reporters to force themselves to write articles with no value. Nor did I want to rewrite and refer to The Korea Times. Doing so, while knowing that there is an alternative, would be slapdash work.
The second option was to overhaul the division entirely. I preferred this option, because I believed the International Division had to change. The division has to match its name. Thus, the scope of the section is rapidly expanding, from KAIST and Korea to the entire world. We no longer focus on the international students at KAIST or foreigners in Korea. Yet we do not abandon them; from this issue onwards, we will work on covering problems that matter on the global level.
As you will see from the other articles in this section, we have made changes to the format. To the right of this article, you can see that the debates have returned. The difference lies in the debate topics: we will argue on issues relevant to the world in general. We may discuss specific events such as the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, or abstract issues like the global migration crisis.
The opinion column is the new addition to the format: one of our reporters will be expressing their point of view on a subject that relates to the current world situation. The opinion column will sometimes look back through history, trying to find a critical point for our world, like the Sykes-Picot Agreement’s influence on the modern Middle East. Other article types in the section will remain unchanged.
I hope readers understand the challenges the division has encountered previously, as well as the logic behind the decision to remodel the division’s style and vision. I guarantee that I will work hard to create original and thought-provoking content, as will my colleagues.