New Focus International is unique in two ways: it is the only outlet in the world that can offer North Korea reporting and analysis based on first-hand experience, from inside the workings of the DPRK system; and the only group in the world that has direct and independent access to sources inside the regime.
We are a distinctively authentic news platform. We translate and publish original reporting that depends on North Korean insights, analytical pieces rooted in 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 hide 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.
As a former counter-intelligence officer and poet laureate for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, Jang has unparalleled insights into the heart of the workings of the DPRK. Post-exile, he worked as a senior analyst at the National Security Strategy Institute in Seoul, but left his post to set up in 2011 the first independent news outlet run by 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.
Hyun Seong-il / Ko Young-hwan / Kim Dong-soo are our disclosed senior editors.
These three respected North Korea analysts are former DPRK diplomats 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 also working on a book of non-fiction about North Korea in the context of media and the arts.
Peter Ward is assistant editor.
Ward is a student of Korean history, research assistant to Andrei Lankov, and North Korean studies specialist residing in Seoul. He has a keen interest in North Korean refugee testimony, as well as the socio-economic realities of present day North Korea.
Sinae Hong and Sharon Kim provide translation assistance and Kenny Vaughan helps with business administration.
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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