April 11, 2000 20:13
Choe Sang-hun, the Korean correspondent of the Associated Press (AP) has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, it was reported Tuesday, along with three other AP reporters for their series on Nogeun-ri, where U.S. soldiers allegedly killed hundreds of civilians during the early stages of the outbreak of the Korean War in July 1950. The AP team rewarded were reporters Charles Hanley, Martha Mendoza, Choe Sang-hun, and investigative researcher Randy Herschaft.
Choe said AP reporters had received 46 Pulitzers over the years, but that everyone was excited since it is the first time AP received a Pulitzer for journalism. The 38-year-old reporter thanked the conscientious U.S. Army veterans and the Korean survivors, who helped to reveal the truth.
Choe said he first became interested in the Nogeun-ri case in 1998, when the Korean government refused the request for re-investigation submitted by the surviving families of the killings there. In April 1998, Choe presented a plan to the AP head office in the States and started collecting materials interviewing the surviving families' members. He then exchanged hundreds of telephone calls with the Nogeun-ri villagers and other AP reporters, conducting meetings through the Internet as well.
Finally after 16 months of background investigation, AP released its first article on September last year and major U.S. newspapers, such as the New York Times reported the news in their headlines. Choe said that the report would never have been made without the support from AP, such as providing a special documents researcher, Herschaft, and had it not been for the great teamwork with the other reporters.
Choe majored in Economics at Yeungnam University, and graduated the Interpretation and Translation School of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS). He worked for the Korea Herald in 1991 and moved to AP in 1994. Besides Monday's Pulitzer prize, Choe has been awarded received six other Korean and foreign journalism prizes. Choe is to leave for Washington D.C. at the end of this month to receive the Johns Hopkins University's Nietze School of Advanced International Studies SAIS-Novartis Prize for Excellence in International Journalism. The ceremony for the Pulitzer Prize will be held in May.
(Shin Dong-heun, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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