By CLIO CHANG for Nieman Reports

In March, when a man shot and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, across three different spas in the Atlanta area, one thing quickly became clear: the mainstream press wasn’t equipped to cover the news in the way that the local Korean press was.

Atlanta K, a small local Korean-language outlet run by Sang Yeon Lee, broke the news overnight that at least two of those killed were ethnic Koreans. Eventually, it was revealed that four of the women — Hyun Jung Grant, Yong Ae Yue, Suncha Kim, and Soon Chung Park — were spa workers of Korean descent. Much of the fuller reporting about the victims, including statements from their friends and families, originated from outlets like Lee’s, which were closely connected to and well sourced within the affected communities.

“Some readers … told me that they don’t trust mainstream media,” and some were disappointed by the way they were reporting, Lee says, pointing to other outlets’ preoccupation with the spa industry, rather than focusing on the lives of the women themselves. Continue reading

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