From 1984-87, I lived and worked as a journalist in Seoul, though I returned to Wisconsin from May 1985 to February 1986. When I returned to Korea, I took on two jobs in journalism-related work, both arranged by the same publisher. I also met some women that would play key roles in my life.
It seems I arrived halfway-through preparations for my first magazine issue, so if I did any reporting immediately, it was minimal. I did catch on to my copy-editing duties during the first couple of weeks there, though.
My second issue was more involved. Mr. Kim made me tourism specialist, too, so I wrote ten stories published in that issue; thus, I had to travel about Seoul a bit. Although I’d been in the habit of taking buses and taxis at Yonhap, with Business Korea, I took many taxis, rarely a bus. My Korean was poor, but a lot of the people I was dealing with spoke fairly decent English, and I’d gotten used to travelling about in Seoul, when I worked for Yonhap.
Among the staff working for Mr. Kim then were Laxmi Nakarmi (from Nepal, our managing editor, who was married to a stay-at-home Korean mom); Erwin Schroeder (from Mizzou); Ollie Gadacz (from Toronto); Sohn Jie-Ae (our star reporter at 23, who went on to work for the New York Times, then CNN, where she is Seoul Bureau Chief now; she has also been a president of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club); Lee Byang-Jang (Ms. Sohn’s husband, who works for Newsweek in Seoul); John Gerhart (from Princeton, a part-time copy-editing assistant, who also taught English at Yonsei University); Ms. Wang (a petite, cute reporter, who would accompany me to Pusan that year, when I did some freelance photography for Greenpeace, relating to whaling); and the vice president for Mr. Kim’s entire company (which also did advertising and public relations), another Mr. Kim, I believe. There was also a female university student who kept dropping by for advice from me about graduate schools, who became a regular staffer after I left. Also after I left for new work in Seoul that November, David Johns moved from Yonhap to Business Korea.
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As time passed, I wrote stories ranging from yogwans (Korean hostels), the fur coat industry ,and profiles of foreign ambassadors, to the upcoming Seoul Olympics. I also freelanced for one of Mr. Kim’s clients, Korean Air’s Morning Calm Magazine. I wrote about a half-dozen full-length features for the latter, including one or two with a pen-name, Joseph David. Mr. Kim didn’t like to give me many credits with my own name, David J. Marcou, because I had a restricted visa, and was not supposed to be working full-time in South Korea.
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