Yongusil 8: NK-News.net and the “STatistical Analyzer of Language IN north korean propaganda”
KCNA and Key Word Searching | Accessing searchable archives of North Korean media output and material is the bane of many a scholar’s research life. Both KCNA (in its Japanese and native formats) and Rodong Sinmun (in English and Korean), are key-word searchable to a degree, but both have an visual and graphic presentation that is difficult to follow, a search system which is difficult to trust, and a tendency to go offline for extended periods of time just at the moment when instant recollection of the Young Generallismo’s words on a particular issue is vital. Now, of course, in the days of commodification and monetization there are ways of accessing key word searchable and archived North Korean material along with your morning coffee, but for a pretty price. This author likes a free lunch and believes that in academic circles it is still possible on occasion to get one courtesy of a now aged and slightly underused source.
NK News and STALIN | In this Yongusil, this author points you to perhaps the oldest extant searchable online archive of North Korean presentational and narrative material out there, NK-News.net. NK-News was created back in the heady days of the mid 2000’s, before Twitter and social media and apparently in the wake of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s epoch defining Team America: World Police (judging by the number of appearances by the Kim Jong-il puppet from that film within the website). The website author managed to create an early functional search algorithm for KCNA, which to date has still remained useable, naming the system STALIN (Statistical Analyzer of Language in North Korean Propaganda). STALIN still apparently collects and collates an archive of KCNA postings (in both English and Spanish), day by day, which can be keyword and date searched to one’s hearts content. STALIN also has added functionality and resilience given that its algorithm uses the KCNA’s Japanese mirror website instead of its North Korea based home site which is often out of action or under attack from anonops activists.
Visualizing KCNA Output | This author actually extracted an enormous amount of KCNA content and researched distinct elements of KCNA content (such as environmental and developmental projects, specifically at Taegyedo on the West Sea cost), from STALIN during the course of his doctorate and heartily recommends it within the context of academic analysis and research. The main site still features the intensely useful bar graph visualization tool for content and themes (here demonstrating the apparent importance of the Sepho Grasslands Reclamation Project to North Korean media and presentation narratives during 2012 and 2013), as well as its advanced multi-word and multi-character search option. NK-News.net seems a little forlorn and forgotten in these days of shiny website design and complex social media platforms, but as some of our readers no doubt say… “an oldie can definitely be a goodie.”
Addendum | Plus, obviously I haven’t even mentioned that eternal joy of NK-News.net, the Random Insult Generator, analysts can amuse themselves endlessly with vicious denigration from KCNA’s deep wells of anti-imperialist vitriol.