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'This Medal Belongs to OhmyNews Citizen Reporters and Staff'
OMN CEO Oh Yeon-ho receives Honor Medal in Journalism from U of Missouri
Cynthia Yoo (cloudatlas)     Print Article 
Published 2007-10-10 14:29 (KST)   
Oh Yeon-ho, center, sits with fellow medal winners Frances Lewine (left) and Wayne Brasler (right). Directly behind Oh is Paula Madison.
©2007 C. Yoo
On the evening of Oct. 9 at the University of Missouri in the city of Columbia, OhmyNews CEO Oh Yeon-ho accepted The Missouri School of Journalism's Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in recognition of his pioneering work in engaging citizens as journalists for democracy.

Oh joined a distinguished group of medalists including Frances Lewine, who "has been a leader in the struggle for women's equality in journalism during her more than 60 years in the newspaper industry." Another fellow medalist tonight was Wayne Brasler who has devoted more than 40 years to teaching high school journalism. Paula Madison also won the Missouri Honor Medal for her trailblazing work in bringing diversity to U.S. newsrooms.

In their acceptance speeches, medalists thanked their families and their mentors from school and from work. Medalists also gave thanks to the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri for providing them with exceptional educational and career opportunities.

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However, when Oh came up to the podium to accept his medal, he thanked only the citizen reporters and staff reporters of OhmyNews.

"Today I receive this medal but the honor does not belong to me. It belongs to our 60,000 citizen reporters and to our staff reporters who have joyfully joined this new world of citizen journalism."

Oh stated how this great experiment of OhmyNews has tried to bring participatory journalism, participatory democracy for his country.

Then, Oh became visibly emotional as he spoke about the abuses of freedoms in past Korean dictatorships. Oh rallied himself as he promised the audience that he would continue to fight for the freedom of speech and he pledged to pursue meaningful ways for citizens to engage with one another.

"The goal is not more information, the goal is a happier, more fulfilling life."

The goal of finding happiness and fulfillment through free and creative expression was an important theme in the many lectures, seminars and interviews that Oh gave throughout his two-day stay at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

In the morning, before a packed audience of journalism students and faculty members, Oh urged them to find those issues and causes that resonate with their ideals and dreams.

"You must find those stories and news that make your heart beat. News that you can feel and be passionate about, that's real news."

During the lecture, one audience member thanked Oh Yeon-ho for OhmyNews. This audience member helped to break a story about a man in India who suffered a terrible injustice. But through the publication of the OhmyNews article, the Indian man was able to regain a measure of his dignity and justice.

"That was the most fulfilling journalistic experience of my life and I thank you for that."

Throughout these past two days at Missouri, or Mizzou as it's known affectionately, Oh met with many students, teachers and fellow journalists. They all came to hear Oh speak about the special experiment of OhmyNews and many came away with the knowledge that citizen journalism is indeed possible and is perhaps essential to democracy.
OhmyNews citizen reporter Cynthia Yoo reported from the University of Missouri campus.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Cynthia Yoo

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