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.

Pages

Parallels
4:04 am
Fri June 26, 2015

A Showdown Looms At South Korea's Gay Pride Parade

A religious activist is carried away by police after he tried to stop a gay pride parade in Seoul last year. Christian activists are planning to disrupt the parade again this year.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 8:40 am

In Seoul, a gay pride parade 15 years in the running is at the center of heated controversy between LGBT groups and Christian activists, who threaten to do what it takes to stop the marchers.

The growing visibility of South Korea's gays and lesbians has led to louder opposition from church groups in recent years, and this weekend's event has organizers preparing for confrontation.

Read more
Parallels
1:41 pm
Tue June 23, 2015

Best Frenemies: Japan, Korea Mark 50th Anniversary Despite Rivalry

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (left) speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at their meeting in Tokyo. The two countries are marking the 50th anniversary of establishing relations. While leaders in both countries stressed the importance of the ties, a bitter history continues to strain the relationship.
Issei Kato AP

Originally published on Wed June 24, 2015 7:59 am

This week, Japan and South Korea are marking the 50th anniversary of an important treaty — the one that normalized diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two nations signed the landmark 1965 treaty after years of war and the Japanese colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

But to celebrate, both countries are having to hide ongoing bitterness.

Read more
Parallels
4:35 am
Sun June 14, 2015

MERS Is A Health Crisis With Political And Economic Costs

A medical staff member wearing a protective suit waits to enter an isolation ward for patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, in South Korea.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 1:05 pm

In South Korea, schools are starting to reopen and hundreds are coming out of quarantine as the Asian MERS outbreak appears to slow down. Middle East respiratory syndrome has infected 150 and killed 16 people in South Korea since mid-May. And as it has become clear in the past week, this health crisis is coming with political and economic costs.

Read more
Goats and Soda
6:34 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

Creepy Or Comforting? South Korea Tracks Smartphones To Curb MERS

A woman on a street in Seoul checks her cellphone. The government is ramping up efforts to control an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome by monitoring the smartphones of those under quarantine.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 7:55 am

More than 3,400 people are now under quarantine in South Korea's fight to contain an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome — a deadly virus that can cause severe pneumonia and organ failure.

So far, South Korea has reported 122 MERS cases. And the government is actively tracking the whereabouts of people possibly exposed to the virus.

Chung-ahm is a Buddhist monk who's quarantined in the Jangduk village in southern South Korea.

Read more
Goats and Soda
2:35 am
Fri June 5, 2015

South Korea's MERS Crisis Exposes Public Distrust Of Leaders

South Korean school students put on face masks during a special class on the MERS virus at an elementary school in Seoul.
Jung Yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 6:58 am

More than a thousand schools are shut down in South Korea, a response to rising fears over MERS — Middle East respiratory syndrome. The virus has now infected 41 people, of whom four have died, since the South Korean outbreak began May 20th, and it's exposing widespread distrust among South Koreans that their leaders can adequately handle the crisis.

Read more
Goats and Soda
4:00 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Classes Canceled, 1,300 Quarantined In S. Korea's Scramble To Stop MERS

Since the first case on May 20, confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, have swelled to at least 30 in South Korea.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 6:59 am

More than 1,300 people in South Korea are under mandatory quarantine as health officials scramble to contain the largest outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, outside the Arabian Peninsula. So far, at least 30 people in South Korea have contracted the virus, which has no known vaccine or cure. Two of them have died since the outbreak began May 20.

Read more
Goats and Soda
3:19 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

South Koreans Mask Up In The Face Of MERS Scare

A South Korean walks through a market in Seoul wearing a mask. South Korean President Park Geun-Hye scolded health officials over their "insufficient" response to an outbreak of the MERS virus.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 3:51 pm

South Korea is contending with the biggest Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, outbreak outside the Middle East.

Read more
Goats and Soda
5:44 am
Sat May 30, 2015

South Korea Struggles To Contain Deadly MERS Virus' Spread

In this photo from 2014, passengers walk past the Middle East respiratory syndrome quarantine area at Manila's International Airport in the Phillipines. The virus is now raising public concern in South Korea.
Aaron Favila AP

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 3:56 pm

A deadly virus with no known cure — Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS — has infected 13 people in South Korea since mid-May. The fast spread of the disease, from the first case confirmed on May 20 to more than a dozen by Saturday, is prompting criticism of health officials for not moving faster to quarantine suspected patients.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:34 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Controversy Follows As Activists Cross North-South Korean Border

Gloria Steinem and South Korean peace activists march along a military fence at a checkpoint after crossing the border separating North and South Korea.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 9:53 am

The much-publicized peace walk across the inter-Korean border was really a bus ride. South Korean immigration officials insisted that a group of 30 international women, including American feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem and two Nobel Prize laureates, take a ride across the border for their own safety.

Still, Steinem said, just getting agreement to cross at all — from two nations still technically at war — counts as a win.

"It was an enormous, enormous triumph," Steinem said, after crossing into the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Korean Air 'Nut Rage' Executive Freed From Prison

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-Ah, after being released by a Seoul appeals court.
Jung Yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:50 pm

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah, or Heather Cho, is out of prison after a four-month stay. If her name and alias don't ring a bell for you, the reason why she was jailed might.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:47 am
Mon May 18, 2015

In Seoul, Kerry Calls N. Korea Provocations 'Egregious,' 'Reckless'

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hold a joint news conference following meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:52 am

Given the always-present tensions in this region, it's no surprise that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Seoul on Monday was all about security.

"We are not seeking conflict, we are seeking a peaceful resolution of the differences that still exist after so many years on the peninsula," Kerry said.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:56 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

She's Almost Real: The New Humanoid On Customer Service Duty In Tokyo

Shoppers view and take photographs of humanoid robot "Chihira" at the information reception desk of Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo.
Chris McGrath Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 3:15 pm

The latest robot sensation in Japan is so lifelike that when she was on the floor of a Tokyo department store recently, she was confused for a human being. The new humanoid's name is Aiko Chihira, and she was working in customer service, clad in a traditional silk kimono.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:28 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Spy Agency: North Korea Executes Its Defense Chief With Anti-Aircraft Guns

A man watches a television showing news coverage of the reported execution of North Korea's defense minister, Hyon Yong Chol, at a railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 8:22 am

Just days after grabbing international attention for reportedly testing a submarine-fired ballistic missile, North Korea executed its defense chief on the order of dictator Kim Jong Un. That's according to South Korea's spy agency, which briefed Seoul's lawmakers on the development Wednesday.

Read more
Parallels
1:21 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

The First Place In East Asia To Welcome Same-Sex Marriage

Yae and Ren were married during Tokyo's Rainbow Pride Weekend in April. One Tokyo ward, or neighborhood, has recognized same-sex marriages, becoming the first place in Japan — or anywhere in East Asia — to do so.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 7:10 pm

Over Tokyo's Rainbow Pride Weekend in late April, Ren married her partner of four years, Yae, on stage before hundreds of Japanese strangers. They were proud to tie the knot and be part of a milestone in Japan and East Asia, a region where same-sex partnerships have never previously been recognized.

Read more
Parallels
4:05 am
Mon May 11, 2015

South Korea's Single Moms Struggle To Remove A Social Stigma

On Sunday, about 70 marchers gathered at Seoul's City Hall Square to raise attention for South Korea's single moms. The annual event is in its fifth year.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 9:40 am

Monday marks a different kind of Mother's Day in South Korea. It's Single Mother's Day, an effort by civic groups to raise awareness of Korean society's unwed moms.

Despite Korea's rapid economic advancement, the country has yet to catch up to the notion of nontraditional families. Single moms are still forced into the shadows of society — ostracized by family members, discriminated against at work and all the while, trying to raise children without a network of support.

Read more

Pages