For years, doing an undercover expose on North Korea has been the aim of any aspiring journalist. Known for it’s frequent widespread famines, provocative missile testing and blatant disregard for human rights, the hermit kingdom has for a long time been a highly desirable trump card for writers in travel based games of social one-upmanship.
“I just feel like I owe it to myself to experience the kind of increase in Instagram followers going to North Korea will bring me,” said Gavin Bloomington, an enthusiastic new-media journalist. “I know the North Korean government only shows you what they want you to see but seeing that online is just not the same as actually being there and seeing it yourself y’know?”
“Plus I’m not going to do the basic Pyongyang state approved display villages, tourist guff,” said Bloomington. “I’m going to see the real North Korea. I’m sure I’ll be able to give my dozens of handlers the slip and find some underground bars and back alley brunch joints where authentic North Koreans hang out.”
Many critics of these social-media boosting tours of North Korea have pointed out that the extortionate visa fees paid by eager bloggers directly funds the troublesome regime. Bloomington urges his twitter followers to see beyond this. “I will be able to make the bold statement as a daring traveler who stared a fascist regime in the face and issued a series of negative Tripadvisor reviews,” said the renegade. “Figuratively and also quite literally funding the tactical starvation of millions, the lavish luxuries of Kim Jong-Un and the many concentration camps is just a byproduct my readers will have to live with.”
Just before leaving for North Korea Bloomington was starting to have doubts about his calling. “Is North Korea actually interesting enough though?” he pondered. “The culture of oppression would be cool to lift the lid on but there’s no way I could survive being disconnected from my twitter followers if the internet is really as censored as people say. That just wouldn’t work for me.”
“Journalism is meant to be written in 140 characters or less,” says Bloomington. “Its first impression, as you see it reality and doesn’t involve in-depth studies or long boring articles. Maybe I should leave my trip until it’s trending heavily to make sure my sacrifice doesn’t go to waste with a lame amount of retweets.