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
6:47 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 11:08 am

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
9:38 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 3:39 am

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Parallels
1:34 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 1:39 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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Parallels
10:22 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 10:50 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
7:37 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 4:55 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
1:36 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 4:14 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
7:50 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 1:02 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
2:52 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 12:46 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
2:25 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Does Facebook Cause Depression? Depends On How You Use It

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 7:52 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
5:03 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 8:48 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
1:46 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 3:30 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
10:08 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 7:00 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
2:46 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 10:08 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
5:03 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 10:43 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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All Tech Considered
3:03 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

The 2014 Tech Trends We'll Still Be Talking About Next Year

A video about the Apple Watch is shown during an Apple special event in Cupertino, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 4:35 pm

And just like that, 2014 is coming to a close. We live in fast-moving, hyper-connected times in which it seems technology is driving numerous cultural changes. NPR tech reporters Laura Sydell, Aarti Shahani and I looked back on a few ideas and topics that intrigued us this year but will continue to get attention in the year ahead.

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Technology
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Online Sellers Pop Up In Real Life, For A Limited Time Only

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 10:13 am

One-click shopping is changing the ways people shop and retailers sell their wares. But some online retailers are opening physical stores — some of which last as short as a day. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on July 28, 2014.)

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All Tech Considered
6:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

In Its Strange Journey, 'The Interview' Becomes An Art House Film

The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain will show The Interview starting on Christmas Day.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:59 am

A buddy flick about killing North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un will be shown on Christmas Day after all, at least in about 200 independent theaters. This kind of small-scale distribution model and the politics surrounding The Interview give what was once a big-budget Hollywood release the spirit of an art house film.

In the satirical film, which is at the center of a geopolitical tussle, Seth Rogen and James Franco play television producers who get an interview with Kim but are then hired by the CIA to "take him out."

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Movies
3:08 am
Wed December 24, 2014

More Than 200 Theaters To Show 'The Interview' On Christmas Day

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 5:46 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Tech Considered
3:18 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Tech Week: Instagram Vs. Twitter And Europe Vs. Google

Instagram topped Twitter in active users in its latest count.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

If you've been too busy finalizing holiday vacation plans and buying gifts, we're here to catch you up on the tech headlines you may have missed from NPR and beyond.

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All Tech Considered
8:08 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Tech Week: Online Threats, N. Korean Threats And RIP Clip Art

Sony Pictures is still investigating who hacked its systems and leaked sensitive information, including unreleased films.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

The week in tech began with arguments before the Supreme Court and ended with another data breach. This time it's the clothing chain Bebe. Here's a look back at other tech stories you should know about from NPR and beyond.

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All Tech Considered
3:30 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

North Korea's Cyber Skills Get Attention Amid Sony Hacking Mystery

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen in The Interview. The North Korean dictator promised "merciless counter-measures" if this film was released.
Ed Araquel AP

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 10:32 am

The most closed country on earth — North Korea — is now denying its involvement in one of the biggest corporate hacks in history.

Someone attacked Sony Pictures Entertainment last week and made public troves of stolen data, including five unreleased films, medical records and salaries of nearly 7,000 global employees. But before a recent denial — another North Korean diplomat played coy about the country's involvement.

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All Tech Considered
12:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

As Supreme Court Considers Online Threats, An Update On Justin Carter

An undated photo of Justin Carter, who's facing a felony "terroristic threat" charge in Texas.
Courtesy of Jack Carter

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 9:57 am

The Supreme Court is tackling an interesting question Monday: When is a seemingly threatening online message a crime?

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The Two-Way
8:06 am
Thu November 27, 2014

A Nationwide Outpouring Of Support For Tiny Ferguson Library

The Ferguson Public Library.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 10:12 am

The Ferguson Public Library is just a block away from the center of demonstrations at the Ferguson Police Department. As we've reported, when violent protests this week led to the burning of more than a dozen businesses and the uncertainty caused schools to close, the library stayed open.

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

The Psychological Effects Of Seeing Police Everywhere In Ferguson

A police officer guards a closed street where protesters and looters rampaged businesses following the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 7:31 am

After a night of unrest and violence, police are posted at every intersection in Ferguson, Mo. National Guard troops man camouflaged Humvees in strip mall parking lots. The governor ordered more. Is it making the community feel safer?

One thing's for sure: It's keeping people from moving about as they normally would during this holiday week.

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The Two-Way
12:26 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Crowds Confront Police, Businesses Burn In Ferguson Chaos

Police gather on the street as protesters react after the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 7:07 am

In the moments before midnight in Ferguson, so many businesses were ablaze at once, and so many demonstrations had broken out in St. Louis County neighborhoods, that a local officer put it this way: "We've lost control of the area a little bit; we recommend just getting out of the area completely."

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All Tech Considered
1:35 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Silicon Valley's Power Over The Free Press: Why It Matters

Facebook may not create stories, but it's the largest distributor of news stories for many news organizations.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 3:26 pm

A big shift happened in news and information over the past few years: The people who write news and information no longer control the distribution of it. Technology companies do.

Specifically it's Facebook and Twitter — the large social platforms created in Silicon Valley.

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All Tech Considered
3:30 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Tech Week That Was: Obama Rocks The Net Neutrality Debate

Oh, what a tangled web. President Obama weighs in on regulating the Internet.
Michael Bocchieri Getty Images

Each week, we take a look back at headlines in the technology and society space, but Monday's net neutrality move by President Obama was the biggest headline by a mile. So we've tweaked the typical roundup to focus on net neutrality, with some additional headlines at the end.

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All Tech Considered
8:13 am
Wed November 12, 2014

The Data You're OK Sharing And What You Don't Want Others To See

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 9:28 am

How do Americans feel about privacy? It depends on what you consider "sensitive" information. A Pew Research Center survey finds that a vast majority of respondents are concerned about government surveillance and the commercial use of personal data, but they are OK with sharing some personal information — just not certain types.

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All Tech Considered
2:30 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

HealthCare.gov's Tech Improvements Mean You Can Now Window Shop

Consumers can window shop on HealthCare.gov leading up to open enrollment, which starts Saturday.
AP

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:59 am

HealthCare.gov barely worked when it launched last fall, with only six people able to enroll in a plan on opening day.

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All Tech Considered
8:14 am
Mon November 10, 2014

The White House Is Backing Strong Open Internet Rules

The White House is backing the Internet.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 1:34 pm

On the same morning net neutrality demonstrators showed up at FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's house to protest a plan that could let broadband providers charge for "fast lanes" to the Internet, the demonstrators found unexpected support from the White House.

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