New Focus International is distinctive in two ways: it offers North Korea reporting and analysis rooted in first-hand experience of the country’s workings; and maintains direct, independent access to sources within the economic and power structures of the DPRK.
We are a distinctively authentic platform. We translate and publish original reporting that begins with North Korean insights, analytical pieces on North Korea’s reality, and features that provide portrayals of what life is really like within the DPRK.
We are the only media organization editorially led and informed by North Korean exiles from many levels of society – including its highest – with reliable contacts in the Sino-DPRK border regions, in Pyongyang itself and among North Korean officials who serve in the diplomatic and business sectors.
Launched in August 2012, we have no political or institutional affiliation and have been self-funding from the start.
Our stated aim is to prepare the ground for an authentic discourse on North Korea: it is not only a country with no free press, no freedom of speech, nor open access to international communications; the outside world continues to interpret North Korea on the basis of fundamental misunderstandings, while the DPRK leadership maintains a disciplined doublespeak and many façades in order to obscure its workings from the world.
We believe that without a penetrative understanding of North Korea that takes genuine insider perspectives into account, there cannot be a sound basis for commentary or proposals regarding the country.
Jang Jin-sung is founder and director.
Jang is a former counterintelligence officer and poet laureate for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Post-exile, he worked as a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul, but left his post to set up in 2011 the first independent news outlet run by and for North Koreans – New Focus.
He is well-respected by the North Korean exile community and keeps contact with high-level North Korean officials in China, as well as inside North Korea itself. His memoir, Dear Leader, is published by Random House (UK/Worldwide) and Simon & Schuster (US/Canada) in May 2014.
Hyeon Seong-il / Ko Young-hwan / Kim Dong-soo are our disclosed advisors.
These three respected North Korea analysts are former DPRK officials whose combined first-hand experience spans North Korea’s foreign policy and its relations with African and European countries (including with the UN FAO).
Shirley Lee is international editor.
Lee launched the English-language service of New Focus. Trained as a Classicist and Persianist, Lee is the translator and editor of Jang’s memoir. She is currently working on a book of non-fiction about North Korea.
Sinae Hong, Sharon Kim and Jumin Kim provide translation assistance.
The Daily Telegraph - North Korea’s real reason for starting World War III: to save its 35,000 sacred statues
Huffington Post – “Truth is stronger than nuclear weapons”
BBC Newshour - “North Korean poet thanks Lord Byron”
Der Spiegel - “Parallels to Divided Germany”
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