NKN 022: North Korea’s Market Generation

North Korea’s “Jangmadang Generation,” named after makeshift markets that sprung up of necessity during famine, may be the most transformational force the country has ever seen. Sokeel Park, from Liberty in North Korea, sketches out the market generation’s characteristics and explains why its members are so different from their predecessors.

The Girl with Seven Names: North Korean Author Hyeonseo Lee


It took Hyeonseo Lee ten years to reach South Korea after leaving the North, and she was separated from her family for 14 years. As she gets ready to launch her biography, she speaks with NKNews.org.



“Disappointment” in Pace of North Korea Reforms

Andrei Lankov says he’s disappointed at the apparent halt of reforms that were expected to sweep through North Korea’s economy. He deconstructs the speedbumps on NKNews.org.

NKN 019 Periscoping North Korea

Participants in a symbolic peace walk are breaking some new ground on using technology to send information from North Korea. It’s called “Periscope,” and it could turn into something big.


Martyn Williams, North Korea Tech

NKN 018 Crowdfunding News Coverage of North Korea

NKNews.org and “Byline,” a journalism crowdfunding startup, are teaming up in an effort to fund field reporting along the China-North Korea border.

The idea is to go out and get those stories that slip through the cracks of mainstream media… which has to spend most of its time and resources on the 700 pound gorilla stories of geopolitics, and nuclear weapons, and high-level diplomacy.

Want to get involved? Hear the founders of Byline and NKNews.org, Dan Tudor and Chad O’Carroll, in conversation on the latest NKNews podcast.

NKN 017 When North Korea Tried to Kidnap a Film Industry

Author Paul Fischer has retold in a compelling new English volume the bizarre abduction tale of Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee by North Korea.

It’s a gripping page-turner of capture and coercion — but also an exploration of the power of film in establishing Korean narratives on both sides of the DMZ.

“A Kim Jong Il Production,” on the latest NKNews podcast.


Paul Fischer, Author, “A Kim Jong Il Production

NKN 016 “North Korea Confidential” — Skinny Jeans & Beyond

“North Korea Confidential” detours from the usual narrative of the DPRK primarily as rogue nuclear state or oppressor of human rights, instead focusing in on ordinary lives in an ever-shifting landscape of emerging capitalist-style market activity. Co-authors Daniel Tudor and James Pearson speak to NKNews.org.


Daniel Tudor, @Danielrtudor, Former Seoul Correspondent, The Economist, and Author, Korea: The Impossible Country

James Pearson, @pearswick Seoul Correspondent, Reuters

North Korea Confidential:  Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors

Byline:  Crowd-funded Journalism



NKN 015 “Behind The Curtain” — North Korea as Multimedia

Australian researcher Mark Fahey freely admits he’s been a bit obsessed with North Korea since he was a teenager.

At the height of the Cold War, he would listen to communist propaganda over global shortwave, and even corresponded with officials in Pyongyang and beyond.

He’s no communist sympathizer– rather, he says he’s passionately interested in how societies shape themselves with propaganda and other publicly disseminated information.

Fahey went to North Korea four times between 2011 and 2013 — often smuggling in multimedia gear he wasn’t allowed to take along — and “vacuumed up,” in his words, a digital treasure horde of content.

He’s making much of it available, for free, in a forthcoming interactive ebook, “Behind The Curtain.”  Listen to the latest edition of NKNews.org for a preview.


Mark Fahey, Author & Producer, “Behind The Curtain”



“Behind The Curtain” homepage



Mark’s earlier work:  “Finding Firedrake,” an attempt to map Chinese jamming capabilities



NKN 014 Part 2: Lankov on “Chinese” Reforms in North Korea

In part two of his interview with NKNew.org on Chinese-style reforms in North Korea, Professor Andrei Lankov says Pyongyang still fails to grasp key concepts about attracting the massive foreign investment it needs to salvage the economy– and the regime.


Andrei Lankov, Professor, Kookmin University, Seoul


Lankov’s Al Jazeera article on North Korea’s market reforms

NKN 013 Kim Xiaoping? Prospects for “Chinese” Reforms in North Korea pt. I



Many North Korea watchers say Chinese style reforms, like the ones Deng Xiaoping put into place in 1970, are the only hope for North Korea to remain viable as a state.  Now, Russian scholar Andrei Lankov says that’s exactly the path Kim Jong Eun has chosen.



Andrei Lankov, Professor, Kookmin University, Seoul


Lankov’s Al Jazeera article on North Korea’s market reforms