Student Profiles: Aram Hur MPP 2009 and Soomin Seo MPP 2010

Shorenstein Center Scholarship Recipients

May 5, 2009
by Janell Sims, from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy Spring 2009 newsletter

Aram Hur

Aram Hur is a second-year Master’s student at the Kennedy School and an aspiring politics scholar. Her interest lies in the intersection of the press and politics, especially how the changes within media will affect power dynamic between politicians and the public. As a former journalist, she sees the media “not simply as a mediator, but as an active player in politics,” and is a firm believer that it can signifi cantly influence policy outcomes. Aram’s interest in journalism and communication grew naturally out of her bicultural background.

A native of Korea, Aram grew up moving between Korea and the U.S. every few years. In the process, she says she witnessed multiple U.S.-Korea relations events that received very different coverage in each country’s media and arguably impacted the different policy stances. “I became curious about exactly how journalists fit into the political process and how much influence they have.” Before coming to the Kennedy School, Aram reported for CNN, Time magazine, and Newsweek Korea. She was also the news editor and staff reporter for her alma mater’s newspaper, The Stanford Daily.

Aram came to the Kennedy School to build a broader understanding of the political process. She says the Shorenstein Center has been an invaluable resource.“The caliber of the people that this place attracts is simply amazing,” she says. She notes working with Shorenstein fellows and attending the brown-bag speaker series as highlights.

After the Kennedy School, Aram plans to pursue a Ph.D. in political science with a continued emphasis in press and politics. She believes she can have the most impact by being at the cutting-edge of the transformation in media and political communication and sharing her findings with both the academic and practitioner communities. “I am grateful for the care that the Shorenstein Center’s faculty and staff have given me,” she says. “My biggest gift from the Kennedy School is the network of mentors and friends.”

Soomin Seo

Soomin Seo is a journalist with a vision. Her passion for media that can “transcend a linear model and promote democracy” has taken Soomin from Korea to Africa to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A first-year student in the M.P.P. program at the Kennedy School, Soomin began her reporting career in her home of South Korea, but periodically reported from North Korea where she was confi ned to a hotel with no cell phone and no Internet. She refers to her time there as a “privilege” and admits that it was her favorite place to work: “I didn’t have an editor checking in an hour before a story was due!”
Reporting in South Korea was much different, Soomin says, as reporters are quick to embrace new media technologies in precarious political situations. Soomin mentioned how South Korea is a test case for new media research like that being done by Nicco Mele, Shorenstein visiting faculty.

Her experience in reporting the tense relationship between North and South Korea prepared her for a shift to covering militant movements in other Asian and African areas. “I got along with the rebels,” she says, and found that she had her own story to share about overcoming poverty and conflict. In Darfur and Nigeria, Soomin met with little resistance as a journalist, mostly out of people’s curiosity: “I was the first female Asian reporter most people had ever met.”

The Shorenstein Center has played a crucial role in her studies, Soomin says. She appreciates the Center’s “culture of giving” and its interest in Asian affairs. “The Shorenstein Center is more than just a journalism school,” she says, “it shares my passion for discovering what the media can do for society.”

Soomin previously reported for The Hankyoreh, an independent South Korean newspaper, as well as The Korea Times, BBC Radio, The Straits Times and the feminist journal IF, the first Korean magazine championing a feminist agenda.

Aram Hur

Aram Hur's interest lies in the intersection of the press and politics, especially how the changes within media will affect power dynamic between politicians and the public.

Soomin Seo

Soomin Seo's passion for media that can “transcend a linear model and promote democracy” has taken Soomin from Korea to Africa to Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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