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Seoul Correspondent

Posted: 15 Dec 2020 Closes: 14 Feb 2021
Seoul Competitive
Permanent & Full-time JR005907

The Financial Times has a vacancy for a Seoul Correspondent.


We are looking for someone to be based in Seoul as a Superstringer. The person should be independent, motivated and entrepreneurial. The position would suit a keen reporter who wants to make their mark at the FT covering one of the most interesting stories in the world.


This is a challenging job that gives scope to cover an unusually wide range of subjects, including: North Korea's nuclear programme, South Korea’s world-beating response to the coronavirus pandemic, Samsung’s latest innovations in smartphones and semiconductors, and, simmering tensions between Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.  


The divided Korean peninsula has become a top international issue following Pyongyang's rapid advancement in nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Diplomacy has lost its way in recent months and, with a new US president taking office, the geopolitical outlook is far from certain. The peninsula remains a uniquely tense environment, where developments have significant implications for global diplomacy – notably the contest between the US and China.


At the same time, there are unmistakable challenges facing North Korea. While markets and trade have become a more important part of life, and the regime has made clear there is scope for further economic reforms, the economy faces its biggest crisis since Kim Jong Un took power. Cultivating sources across government, diplomats, military, human rights and defectors is critical to the role.


The South Korean economy, meanwhile, is also facing challenges and the correspondent will need to build a strong grasp of its many and varied significant industries – beyond electronics giants like Samsung, SK Hynix and LG, the country’s car, ship and steel-makers remain globally important, and each faces existential threats from rising Chinese competition. 


Despite recent efforts at reform, the country's dominant conglomerates remain immensely powerful and opaquely run, while foreign investors are increasingly critical of the nation's standards of corporate governance and lax regulatory oversight. The correspondent will need to build an understanding of the complex structures through which the groups’ founding families maintain control, and how these are being rearranged to pass control to the next generation. They will also need to pay attention to the country’s efforts to move beyond the chaebol, including tax-payer funded drives into IT, green technologies and biotech.


The role offers further variety via South Korea’s immense cultural and demographic shifts, from burgeoning feminism and the changing nature of families and other new challenges to deeply-rooted conservatism, to the global rise of Korean music, film and television series. It is also one of Asia’s more robust democracies, with a noisy protest culture and vibrant political scene frequently marred with allegations of corruption and abuses of power.


Key duties:

  • Knowledge of the Korean language would be very helpful; if the candidate does not have this already, they should be prepared to study it

  • Working with correspondents throughout the FT’s global network, particularly colleagues in Asia and Washington D.C, to highlight developments in the Korean economy and security, respectively

  • We place a strong emphasis on scoops and exclusive interviews but correspondents should be comfortable writing breaking news, longer features and in-depth investigative reports

  • Managing an experienced bureau of several colleagues

  • Demonstrate numeracy and proficiency in handling data, the ability to explain analyses confidently

  • Produce simple charts and identify opportunities to collaborate with Visual and Data Journalism team

  • Demonstrate an interest in reporting across all digital platforms

  • Engage with our audience through social media and interactive content


All staff are welcome to apply for Editorial vacancies as part of a flexible working arrangement. If you believe this role can be managed part-time or as a job share then please provide details as part of your application. All proposals will be seriously considered. While approval will be conditional on the demands of the role and team, the FT is committed to being responsive to the needs of its staff and the different ways they may want to work.


Applications should be made via Workday by 4 January 2021.

Financial Times

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