In life there are so many questions. One of those questions is “What’s the weather like today?” When the answer to that question is known, people prepare their clothing for the day and decide what can and will be done on the day. However, do you actually know terms like northeasterly wind or high atmospheric pressure? In reality, meteorology terminology is typically unfamiliar language and most people have difficulty understanding it. To ease the general public, the weather is broadcast in simpler terms that make weather reports interesting and easy to comprehend. Without weather caster interpreting and presenting the weather each day, there’d be no link between weather patterns and people.
|ALL PHOTOS FROM KJE|
Q. You majored in Economics, yet you are working as a weather forecaster. What got you interested in the weather?
My father worked in management, so it was natural that I became interested in economics. However, after advancing my studies in the area at university, I realized the area did not suit me. I’m an active and progressive person, but I found the study of economics to be too academic and professional. In my twenties, a similar age to most Sookmyungians, I participated in various activities such as the England Global Explorer Program, Headline (formerly Sookmyung English News), Photography Club, and Sookmyung Discussion Contest. One day, while watching TV, I suddenly thought to myself, I’d love to be on TV, so I decided to double major with Communications and Media as my second major. Before becoming a weather caster, I tried my hand at being a TV host and a comedian. After a number of failures and heartache, I made the move to weathercaster and I have been with Yonhap News for over 6 years now.
Q. Would you tell us a bit about your daily work routine? In particular, what do you go through each day to ensure a successful broadcast?
Well, currently I’m on TV 6 programs a day and I do 10 live broadcasts on weekends. When the news is broadcasted in the morning, I am at work by 3:00 a.m. TV images are crisp and clear, so TV personalities must do their utmost to come across brilliantly. Before filming, everyone goes to hair and makeup and then we are given clothes that match the weather of the day. I read the weather pattern information from the Meteorological Administration and create a news script immediately from the data I’m presented. Next, I had rehearsal before going on air. When I first started, everything was so hard and I felt so out of place, but now thanks to years of experience, I can write a script and rehearse it perfectly within 30 minutes.
Q. Having worked in the field for over 6 years, you must have gone through tough moments. Would you share some of those with us? And, how did you overcome them?
Since our broadcast company prepares news 24-hours a day, I worked both day and night shifts. Whenever I was scheduled for the night shift but also had to do the next morning broadcast, I couldn’t sleep well. Also, because of the trend to shoot the broadcast in the field, out of the broadcasting station, I must brave the weather firsthand. Therefore, weather caster always must be in top shape and aware of their elements to brave the outdoors during filming. Personally, I exercise daily and eat regularly. Frankly speaking, before working in this industry, I didn’t really understand what forecasters said when they mentioned terms like northeasterly wind or high atmospheric pressure. However, over time and through study, I became familiar with those terms. I spent a lot of time talking with the National Weather Service and reviewing professional weather reports.
Q. The passion for your job really comes through when you speak. Are there any rewarding moments in your career as weather caster?
Without hesitation, I can honestly say predicting weather patterns is when I am truly happy. Since the weather can be changed from instant to instant, it is definitely not an easy task of predicting it. I get empowered when a viewer calls to my company to express gratitude, and in fact, that makes me more passionate in my work. I also get a sense of reward having completely so many forecasts correctly. Being in front of the camera for just one and a half minutes may not seem hard, but just think, you need to speak solely on one topic the entire time. One and a half minutes is not short. Most news programs are aired live, so I must work really hard and I am under a lot of pressure not to make any errors. However, the more I do, the more discover the pleasure of bringing the weather to people’s homes, and my job has definitely increased my ability to react quickly to rapidly changing situations.
Q. Personally, I’ve noticed that in Korea most of the weather casters are females. What do you think about this phenomenon?
Yes, that is true. There are few male weather casters in Korea. For some reason, males are not attracted to this industry. I really can’t comment on the specifics of why most of them are women, but I can say that a number of broadcasting companies have embarked on new recruitment measures to try and attract male applicants. In reality, recently, YTN hires ‘man’ weather cast. Also, some companies are concerned with TV viewer connection, so some broadcasting companies have established Facebook pages and other SNS accounts as means of better connecting with their viewers. I am often saddened by the fact that many weather casters are evaluated on their looks rather than ability, especially women. I’m not saying appearance is not important, but I wish people would judge us on our ability to do our job.
Q. Thank you for taking the time to meet SMT today. Could we ask what your plans are for the future?
Ultimately I hope to continue my work far after my upcoming marriage and even after I have children. Meteorology is just so fascinating because I can send weather information freely. To let you in on a secret, I sometimes turn difficult weather terminology into musical lyrics or showing the climate map more interestingly. The weather affects daily life, so I feel honored to be presenting it to the public on TV. I’m not sure why, but most weather forecasters retire from the job shortly after getting married. Maybe it’s due to the stereotype that weather casters should be young and bright. It’s my opinion that forecasters need the experience they gain over time so that they provide more correct and specific data to viewers.
Q. Before leaving us today, do you have any advice for Sookmyungians who dream of becoming weather casters like you?
Well, first I’d like to say that this career choice was the best fit for me. Make sure you truly have the desire to be a forecaster and maintain a keen sense of sincerity and responsibility to the weather if you decide this is the field for you. Do not get fooled by visions of grandeur, preparation for a single broadcast is hard. Still, I’d like to say, don’t miss out on school life. Indeed, attaining the credits you need and studying to get good academic results are important, but experience as much as possible. Gaining experience from as many activities as possible will help expand your social network. All activities you do in life will aid a broadcasting career as it’s all about cooperation, sociality, and team-work.
+ Graduate of Department of Economics’ 05
+ Yonhap News Weather Forecaster
Kim Seol Jieun firstname.lastname@example.org