NK News
Database of North Korean Propaganda
-- Updated: August 22nd, Juche 94 (2005)

Who runs this site? Some kind of Commie bastard?

No. For more information, view this site’s mission statement.

Aha! So you're a knuckle-dragging, right-wing neo-con! I knew it!

Um...no, not really.

What can I find on this site?

This site effectively serves as a mirror for the KCNA's own official site, only it also offers searches, RSS/XML feeds, email newsletters, and other features.

Think of it as an intestinal parasite for the KCNA

Why was this site created?

For more information on this, view the Site Background.

What is STALIN?

STALIN is the name of NK News' own search engine, specially built to parse KCNA articles. It stands for STatistical Analyzer of Language In North Korean Propaganda.

Who thought up that lame-ass acronym?

At least it's more accurate than the Democratic People's Republic of Korea!

Hey, how come I can't find anything on this site about Kim Jong Il's legendary game of golf???

Kim Jong Il's first and only golf game has become something of an international urban legend. Rumors swirling around the Internet even allege that Kim cleared the course with 18 straight holes-in-one. Ridiculous!

The best documentation I can find about the event prevents a far more balanced and realistic picture. The actual story seems to be that, while playing on the PGA-level eighteen-hole par-72 golf course in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Il chalked up a much more modest 38-under-par 34. And it was five holes-in-one, not eighteen. At the risk of sounding a bit condescending, I must admonish readers of NK News to be sure they have their facts straight, and not get carried away by wild rumors or innuendo.

Unfortunately, Kim's foray into golf seems to have occurred back around October 1994, which predates the NK News database by over two years. If anyone out there has any official KCNA information on this event, please contact me. Needless to say, it will go straight to the top of the KCNA Hall of Fame.

What software/blogware was used to create this site?

This site was mostly built from scratch. For those of you geeks out there, it uses HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and MySQL. All open source!

When I go to view the full text of an article, a pop-up window appears displaying the article on the official KCNA site itself. Why not just show the full article here?

The full-text article is not displayed at this site because of (brace yourself for massive irony)...copyright laws!

Yes, that’s right, the most fiercely Marxist-Leninist nation on Earth guards its own statements by invoking laws designed to protect property rights and imperialist profit margins. While at the KCNA site, scroll down on any article and you’ll see a copyright stamp at the bottom. While researching, I found out that some site was posting KCNA articles prior to K.N.S’s own postings, which started in Dec ’96. K.N.S. tried to find out who it was and shut them down. Since the K.N.S. is little more than a mouthpiece for the Kim regime, this is akin to a U.S. President copyrighting his State of the Union address, and then shutting down anyone who posts it for critique or satire.

Maybe it’s a fair policy, though. After all, if the KCNA decided to start charging for their articles, millions of teenagers could end up flocking to this site to download those same articles to their iPods for free, depriving Kim Jong Il of his hard-earned royalties. Remember, copyright laws are there to protect the artist.

Speaking of copyright laws, is Paramount Pictures going to sue your ass off and take everything you own for using the screen captures of Kim Jong Il from "Team America: World Police"?

I called up Paramount's legal department in Los Angeles and informed them of NK News. The guy I spoke to was pretty cool. He was laid back and mellow about it. He said Paramount's main concern over copyright issues is with preventing movie piracy and people using their copyrighted materials to make money without a licensing agreement, both of which are perfectly understandable. My site falls under the 'editorial' category, and since the Web is such a new medium anyway, a lot of these issues are still being hammered out. If Paramount ever does decide they have a problem with NK News, their first step would be to issue a 'Cease & Desist' order. Suing my ass off would follow only if I didn't comply.

In any case, NK News doesn't earn me a dime, and I imagine the use of the Kim Jong Il puppet, if anything, would serve to remind people of the movie, perhaps stimulating a few more sales and rentals.

Sometimes when the KCNA webpage popup comes up, it appears to be the wrong article.

Try scrolling up or down within the popup. Sometimes the article in question won't be perfectly centered vertically, due to the way HTML anchor tags work.

I signed up for the KCNA email newsletter, but haven't received anything. What gives?

When you first sign up, the server sends an activation link to your email, which you will need to click to finish the signup process.

If you haven't even received the activation email, there's a chance NK News messages may be getting blocked by over-aggressive spam filters. This seems especially prevalent with free accounts from providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail. For instance, I cannot receive NK News emails on my own personal Yahoo account...and I built the damn site.

The ISP offered the explanation that the server on which NK News now resides was once used to send out spam (it wasn't NK News, I can assure you), and that the server's address might have landed on some kind of blacklist. You might want to tweak your email account's spam settings or sign up using a different email address. If you have any questions or concerns beyond that, please contact me.

I'll probably look into this issue again at some point.

Your (insert technical problem here) doesn't work right.

I'm happy to look into problems people report, but it's extremely helpful if you offer specific, detailed information, not just something like "The fonts are messed up. Your site sucks."

Specifically, on what browser and operating system does it suck? Or if you have a problem with the RSS newsfeed, on what service does it suck? Specifics will help to reduce or eliminate any suckiness.

Specifics are good.

Does this site have any plans to (obtain venture capital funding / charge for services / sell shlocky merchandise / develop business-to-business commerce)?

Typical imperialist thoughts! Steadfast in the Juche idea, NK News will never stoop to accept such bribery.*

In all seriousness, no. This site is completely non-commercial, run at the author's expense. Among other things, this keeps the site well within the Fair Use doctrine for copyright purposes.

* Except food, hard currency, or ballistic missile expertise.

What’s up with the “Juche” thing in some of the datelines on this site?

“Juche” is the North Korean ideology of extreme national self-reliance, first developed in the 50’s by a high-ranking official (who later defected), but heavily emphasized by the regime starting around the early 70’s. It is used in part to justify shutting the country off from the rest of the world.

Numbering years by Juche is the North Korean equivalent of the western (Gregorian) “A.D.” or “C.E.”, except that it starts from the year of birth of Kim Il Sung (1912) rather than Jesus Christ. The idea, obviously, is that Kim Il Sung was such a monumental demigod that time should be centered around his birth. For more on this, visit the Gregorian-Juche Era conversion tool.

Interestingly enough, this “year zero” philosophy was also practiced by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, who reset the world’s timeline according to their revolution. They thought their ideology was so perfect and complete, in and of itself, that whatever came before it in the river of history was irrelevant and could be discarded.

If the leader of your own country ever implements some kind of “year zero” policy, I suggest getting the hell out of Dodge.

Has there been any official response from North Korea concerning this site?

Not so far. But given their total lack of irony and pop culture savvy, I've often wondered if they might give me a medal declaring me a "Hero of the People" or something like that.

Do you think the Dear Leader himself has seen this site?

It's possible. Kim is reportedly fluent in Korean and Russian, but also knows some English, and is rumored to be an avid Internet surfer. He is also supposed to have a somewhat self-deprecating sense of humor in private life. Who knows, maybe this site would appeal to his ego, though it mocks him.

I find North Korean propaganda not quite militant enough for my taste. Is there any nation out there with more fiery rhetoric?

Nope. You’ll have to make do.

I see this site has KCNA content in English and Spanish, but what about Korean? Huh?

Not any time soon, that's for sure. I've wasted enough time on this site already.