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Letter from the Chief September 2018
[ Issue 164 Page 2 ] Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 16:04:58 Juhoon Lee Editor-in-Chief juhoonlee@kaist.ac.kr


Have I got your attention yet?

Perhaps you find it to be cheap; and for the internet-savvy, your eyes will have skipped right over the words with ease. It is certainly not the most classy way to start my term as the Editor-in-Chief of a respectable establishment.

We live in a society that constantly begs for our attention. Companies have realized that at the core of the sustenance that momentarily quenches their insatiable hunger for profit isn’t money anymore; it’s time. Accordingly, Facebook and Instagram serve up a platter of status updates and filtered photos for us to gorge.

I once read somewhere that we are the “Generation of Selfies”. We have been constantly reminded from a young age that we are, indeed, special. We were promised that our opinions would matter. In reality, we are drowned out in the clamor of everyone else’s voices. If the town of Burbank was once considered a dystopia, then now everyone wants to star in their own Truman Show. Self-gratification is the drug, social media is the dealer, and people like Logan Paul may well be the overdose. Yet if we all received the so-called “participation trophies”, then what makes us stand out among the other equally outstanding people?

To prove that we are truly unique, worthy, and irreplaceable, we put on a performance. And society in turn frowns upon the excessively attention-seeking performers. We denounce them using derogatory terms like gwanjong or “attention whore”, yet we continue to feed them, voluntarily allotting our valuable time to those who excel at easy provocation.

That is to say, I struggle with my own desire to be noticed. I want to be known as a bright student. A competent boss. An attractive partner. A loyal friend. Wanting attention and recognition is only natural. And despite the negative connotation we put on such aspirations, they can push us to be better people. Yes, we perform; but we perform at our best. And if going out and making people “hit that like button” is fulfilling, what’s the issue?

The problem lies, in my opinion, not within the act of seeking itself, but rather within the motivation. We just want to receive approval, admiration, praise. But what do we give in return? As we discuss the issues of LGBTQ rallies, labor rights, immigration, and gender equality in this month’s volume of the Herald, we see those who are on the soapbox not for gain, but rather for service. So that the attention they receive is exchanged for understanding and a more just world.

Of course, media especially thrives upon its audience’s devotion. Once its readers lose interest, a newspaper may as well be dead. The KAIST Herald cannot survive without you, the KAISTians who pick up our papers. Thus, we are implementing more interactive methods of engagement in the paper. In addition to an increased number of visual aids, we have left a small scavenger hunt inside this issue.

I am quite unsure whether the change will even matter at all. But regardless, our pages will be filled with the best we can give.

Throughout my term during the next year, I will again and again call for your attention. Dear readers, I hope that I can be of service to you.

Yours truly,
Juhoon Lee

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