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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.

Elise Hu can be reached by e-mail at ehu (at) npr (dot) org as well as via the social media links, above.

North Korea has returned a New York University student and South Korean national who had been detained in Pyongyang since April. 21-year-old Joo Won-moon was in North Korean custody after he crossed the border from China into North Korea, hoping to help strengthen ties between the two Koreas. "I thought some great event could happen and hopefully that event could have a good effect in the relationship between the North and the South," Joo told CNN in an interview in May. He was dropped off in...

This summer, NPR is getting crafty in the kitchen. As part of Weekend Edition 's Do Try This At Home series , top chefs are sharing their cleverest hacks and tips — taking expensive, exhausting or intimidating recipes and tweaking them to work in any home kitchen. This week: We go to Seoul, South Korea, to make banchan — those endless small plates of pickles and veggies that traditionally accompany rice or soup. The Chef Korean-American Dan Gray has lived in Seoul for more than a decade. He...

In Seoul, a gay pride parade 15 years in the running is at the center of heated controversy between LGBT groups and Christian activists, who threaten to do what it takes to stop the marchers. The growing visibility of South Korea's gays and lesbians has led to louder opposition from church groups in recent years, and this weekend's event has organizers preparing for confrontation. "In the Bible, homosexuality is sin. And to publicize your personal, private identity like that is a problem,"...

This week, Japan and South Korea are marking the 50th anniversary of an important treaty — the one that normalized diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two nations signed the landmark 1965 treaty after years of war and the Japanese colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. But to celebrate, both countries are having to hide ongoing bitterness. On Monday, the anniversary day, protesters outside each country's respective embassies in the other country held up signs of acrimony. ...

In South Korea, schools are starting to reopen and hundreds are coming out of quarantine as the Asian MERS outbreak appears to slow down. Middle East respiratory syndrome has infected 150 and killed 16 people in South Korea since mid-May. And as it has become clear in the past week, this health crisis is coming with political and economic costs. "Even though you feel anxious," South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a televised message, "please cooperate so the economy isn't weakened."...

More than 3,400 people are now under quarantine in South Korea's fight to contain an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome — a deadly virus that can cause severe pneumonia and organ failure. So far, South Korea has reported 122 MERS cases. And the government is actively tracking the whereabouts of people possibly exposed to the virus. Chung-ahm is a Buddhist monk who's quarantined in the Jangduk village in southern South Korea. We called him up because we couldn't visit him in...

More than a thousand schools are shut down in South Korea, a response to rising fears over MERS — Middle East respiratory syndrome. The virus has now infected 41 people, of whom four have died, since the South Korean outbreak began May 20th, and it's exposing widespread distrust among South Koreans that their leaders can adequately handle the crisis. "Right now the fear is nationwide and we can't go anywhere. It's not like we can take a family trip because the kids are on holiday; we can only...

More than 1,300 people in South Korea are under mandatory quarantine as health officials scramble to contain the largest outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, outside the Arabian Peninsula. So far, at least 30 people in South Korea have contracted the virus, which has no known vaccine or cure. Two of them have died since the outbreak began May 20. Scientists are trying to figure out why a single imported case led to so many secondary infections. The Centers for Disease...

South Korea is contending with the biggest Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, outbreak outside the Middle East. Nearly 700 are in isolation to contain the outbreak. As of Tuesday, health officials have confirmed 25 cases of MERS in South Korea; among them, two people have died. Fears about the disease, which has no vaccine or cure , are fueling skyrocketing sales for at least one industry: surgical masks. On a street in Seoul known by locals as "pharmacy street," you'll find endless...

A deadly virus with no known cure — Middle East respiratory syndrome , or MERS — has infected 13 people in South Korea since mid-May. The fast spread of the disease, from the first case confirmed on May 20 to more than a dozen by Saturday, is prompting criticism of health officials for not moving faster to quarantine suspected patients. "We will set up a tighter quarantine system to dispel public concern," Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo told The Korea Times. "Since the first case was found,...

The much-publicized peace walk across the inter-Korean border was really a bus ride. South Korean immigration officials insisted that a group of 30 international women, including American feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem and two Nobel Prize laureates, take a ride across the border for their own safety. Still, Steinem said, just getting agreement to cross at all — from two nations still technically at war — counts as a win. "It was an enormous, enormous triumph," Steinem said, after crossing...

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah, or Heather Cho, is out of prison after a four-month stay. If her name and alias don't ring a bell for you, the reason why she was jailed might. She's the executive who wanted her macadamia nuts served on a plate and not in a bag, and was so outraged about the service on the airline for which she was vice president that she threw a tantrum when confronting the flight crew. As our Bill Chappell summed up in February : "Cho sparked an uproar after she...

Given the always-present tensions in this region, it's no surprise that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Seoul on Monday was all about security. "We are not seeking conflict, we are seeking a peaceful resolution of the differences that still exist after so many years on the peninsula," Kerry said. Kerry met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and his counterpart, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, before telling throngs of reporters that recent provocations by...

Just days after grabbing international attention for reportedly testing a submarine-fired ballistic missile , North Korea executed its defense chief on the order of dictator Kim Jong Un. That's according to South Korea's spy agency, which briefed Seoul's lawmakers on the development Wednesday. The execution reportedly took place in public, with hundreds of onlookers watching as Hyon Yong Chol was killed by firing squad, using anti-aircraft guns. The reported offense? Falling asleep during a...

Over Tokyo's Rainbow Pride Weekend in late April, Ren married her partner of four years, Yae, on stage before hundreds of Japanese strangers. They were proud to tie the knot and be part of a milestone in Japan and East Asia, a region where same-sex partnerships have never previously been recognized. While same-sex marriage has become increasingly common in the U.S. and Western Europe, it's still rare in other parts of the world. There are signs of change in some parts of Asia. New Zealand...

Monday marks a different kind of Mother's Day in South Korea. It's Single Mother's Day, an effort by civic groups to raise awareness of Korean society's unwed moms. Despite Korea's rapid economic advancement, the country has yet to catch up to the notion of nontraditional families. Single moms are still forced into the shadows of society — ostracized by family members, discriminated against at work and all the while, trying to raise children without a network of support. "We want the society...

Toshiba. Sony. Sharp. You know those brand names because they dominated the Japanese economy's global rise in the '80s. But that was 30 years ago. As the Japanese economy stagnates, it's unclear which new companies will replace them. Doga Makiura is Japanese, and a startup founder. But he's not a startup founder in Japan. He created businesses in other Asian countries instead. Why not be an entrepreneur in his native country? "Cause I think it's boring," he said. "There's a huge, bigger...

New York University student Joo Won-moon, who's a South Korean citizen, says he's healthy and being treated well in North Korean custody, according to an interview he gave CNN on Tuesday. Joo, 21, acknowledged he crossed the border into North Korea illegally, out of hopes for a "great event" to help strengthen ties between diplomatic rivals North and South Korea. "I thought some great event could happen and hopefully that event could have a good effect in the relationship between the North...

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tours the U.S. this week, he has a state dinner at the White House and will be the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress. But while he prepares to lay out a vision for the future, not all is well in his own East Asian neighborhood, where the past remains a huge source of tension. Ahead of his departure for the U.S., pacifists staged a rally and march through the ritzy neighborhoods of Tokyo, chanting "Knock it off, go away,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUOnYvrrgzk 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. Seoul police say they put 12,800 riot officers on the streets to manage demonstrations by families of Sewol victims and their supporters, who are demanding a thorough investigation of the ferry disaster that killed 304 people. More than 250 victims were students from...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEEouK5Y8CI As South Korea marks the first anniversary of one of its worst maritime disasters — the sinking of the Sewol ferry — many family members are still pushing for answers about what went wrong and why so many lives were lost. The capsizing of the Sewol on April 16 last year killed 304 people. Most of them were students from one high school. It's not hard to spot grieving parents in Seoul's central square: Their heads are freshly shaved. It's an Asian...

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. A relentless focus on education and exams is often to blame. For a typical high school student, the official school day may...

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. On Thursdays, churches give out 500 won coins — equivalent to about 50 cents — to individuals who line up. Throngs of Korea's seniors wait for hours to shuffle past church volunteers for...

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. Today, most Americans say they're pleased with the state of U.S.-Japan relations. In a new survey by the Pew Research Center , more than 8 in 10 Americans said they prefer that the two nations remain close or get closer. Three-quarters of Japanese surveyed around the same...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxoeAOeodsI 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. Rachel Ahn, who goes by "Aebong-ee" on her broadcasts , is kind of a big deal in the mukbang world. In fact, when we went to meet her, she wore a mask for fear fans would recognize her on the...

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