Elise Hu

Elise Hu is an award-winning correspondent assigned to NPR's newest international bureau, in Seoul, South Korea. She's responsible for covering geopolitics, business and life in both Koreas and Japan. She previously covered the intersection of technology and culture for the network's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

Hu joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters at The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu has taught digital journalism at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools and serves as a guest co-host for TWIT.tv's program, Tech News Today. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Heavy Police Presence At Ferry Demonstrations Bring Seoul To A Halt

Riot police at the entrance to a subway station in central Seoul.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:08 pm

A weekend of planned vigils and marches to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly Sewol ferry sinking in South Korea has turned into tense clashes between demonstrators and police.

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Parallels
10:38 am
Wed April 15, 2015

A Year After Ferry Disaster, South Koreans Await Answers

Relatives of victims of the Sewol ferry accident stand before a banner featuring victim photos during a protest. More than 300 people, most of them high school students, died in the accident. Nine people remain missing.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 4:39 am

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Parallels
2:34 am
Wed April 15, 2015

The All-Work, No-Play Culture Of South Korean Education

Students take the annual College Scholastic Ability Test, or college entrance exam, at a high school in Seoul last November. Students face enormous pressure to do well on the test and get into a top university. Airplanes are grounded on the day of the test so they won't disturb the students.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 2:39 pm

In South Korea, grim stories of teen suicide come at a regular clip. Recently, two 16-year-old girls in the city of Daejeon jumped to their deaths, leaving a note saying, "We hate school."

It's just one tragedy in a country where suicide is the leading cause of death among teens, and 11- to 15-year-olds report the highest amount of stress out of 30 developed nations.

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Code Switch
3:14 am
Tue April 14, 2015

How Asian-Americans Found A Home In The World Of K-Pop

Asian music hitmaker Jae Chong, at work in a studio in Seoul. His work is all over Asian charts, but his passport is American.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:33 am

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Parallels
11:22 am
Fri April 10, 2015

A Forgotten Generation: Half Of South Korea's Elderly Live In Poverty

Koreans — many of them elderly — line up to receive 500 won, or about 50 cents, from Shin Banpo Church in southern Seoul. Each week, organizers say, a few hundred seniors show up at each church that offers the service, and the line starts hours in advance.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:50 pm

South Korea may be known for its high-tech advances, luxury skin care products and rapid economic rise, but these days, the generation largely responsible for all that growth isn't faring so well. South Korea has the worst senior poverty rate among developed nations, and the options for seniors are slim.

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Parallels
8:37 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Pew: Japan And U.S. Respect Each Other And Distrust China

Responses when Japanese were asked, "Which of these characteristics do you associate with American people?"
Pew Research Center

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:55 pm

This year, the U.S. and Japan mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a bitter time that left deep wounds. In the 1980s, Japan and U.S. were at times economic adversaries, caught up in bilateral trade disputes.

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The Salt
2:36 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Koreans Have An Insatiable Appetite For Watching Strangers Binge Eat

Rachel Ahn, who goes by "Aebong-ee," is among the top 100 most-watched mukbang stars in South Korea.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:14 pm

Move over, cooking shows. In Korea, the big food fad is eating shows, or mukbang. Korean viewers are so glued to watching strangers binge eating that the live-streamers consuming calories in front of webcams are becoming minor celebrities in Korean culture.

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Parallels
8:50 am
Thu March 19, 2015

A Chinese Tourism Boom Has South Koreans Cramming

Language instructor Soh Bor-am teaches eight Mandarin classes a day, as Chinese tourism to South Korea swells.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:02 pm

Perhaps nowhere is the growth of the Chinese middle-class more visible than at top tourist destinations, which these days are teeming with Chinese travelers. The Chinese are traveling abroad in numbers never seen before, and it's felt strongly in South Korea, which finds itself scrambling to keep up with an estimated 4 million Chinese tourists a year.

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All Tech Considered
3:55 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Anthem Hack Renews Calls For Laws To Better Prevent Breaches

Anthem says 80 million company records were accessed in what may be one of the largest health care data breaches to date.
Aaron P. Bernstein Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 1:46 pm

The call for more systemic changes to prevent mega-hacks is getting louder after hackers hit Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurer. The company says cyberthieves gained access to the addresses, employment information and Social Security numbers of 80 million customers and employees.

Eighty million individuals is a lot — it's roughly the populations of California, Texas and Illinois combined.

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All Tech Considered
3:25 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Does Facebook Cause Depression? Depends On How You Use It

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 8:52 am

Another day, another Facebook-makes-us-sadder study. This time, it's from the University of Missouri, and it comes with a key caveat: Facebook can make us sadder, the researchers find, but only if you're using it to lurk from afar — to check on how an old acquaintance is doing, for example, without actually engaging that person with "likes" or comments.

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All Tech Considered
6:03 am
Wed February 4, 2015

FCC Chairman Wheeler Backs Regulating Internet As Public Utility

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his plan in a Wired op-ed on Wednesday. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposal Feb. 26.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 9:48 am

Updated Feb. 4, 11:52 a.m. ET: Wheeler Outlines His Proposal In Wired.

Today is the day net neutrality watchers had been waiting for, according to numerous reports. After months of debate, discussion and the culling of nearly 4 million public comments on the matter, the Federal Communications Commission appears poised to decide how it will regulate the Internet.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Just Plane Sad: A Show Of Support For SkyMall

SkyMall art by Kevin and Miles Taylor.
Kevin and Miles Taylor

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 4:30 pm

Whether it was the $85,000 personal submarine craft, the telepathic obstacle course or the yeti yard ornaments we could never quite afford, in-flight catalog SkyMall — and the kitschy items sold inside its pages — are going to be hard to forget.

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The Two-Way
10:56 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Goodbye, Garden Yeti: In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Files For Bankruptcy

A signature SkyMall item: The hot dog bun toaster.
SkyMall

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:00 am

SkyMall, the ubiquitous in-flight catalog that reliably greets you in the seatback pocket, is falling victim to technological innovation.

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All Tech Considered
4:14 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Remaking Vegas In A Tech Billionaire's Image: Will It Last?

Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh is spearheading an effort to revitalize downtown Las Vegas and make it a tech hub, home for small businesses and a creative community.
Isaac Brekken for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:08 am

This story is the latest in NPR's Cities Project.

Fifteen minutes north of the iconic Vegas Strip is the economically depressed downtown Las Vegas, a much-forgotten part of town. It's also an area of tremendous change in recent years, since it's the heart of tech billionaire Tony Hsieh's ambitious Downtown Project — an effort that's part urban revitalization, part social experiment.

Three years in, it's not going as quickly as he expected.

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All Tech Considered
6:03 am
Thu January 8, 2015

The Unstoppable Selfie Stick Trend Has Invaded American Shores

A couple uses a selfie stick on a Mexican beach.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 11:43 am

Selfie sticks first proliferated in Asia, where so many tech trends seem to originate, for better or worse. Tourists wielding giant poles with their cellphones attached at the end stood before the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, smiling for their faraway phone cameras. Or they whipped these rods out in Myeongdong, a shopping promenade in Seoul.

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