Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 16th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Lee Chang-Hun, South Korea—The Blind Anchorman
 [Blind Eyes that See the Light] 

I shall dedicate all my passion to spreading hope and dreams as an anchorman.
--Lee Chang-Hun
 

Lee Chang-Hun, who keeps his fingers on a Braille machine and never looks into the camera during news reports, is the first blind anchorman in the world. Lee appears on television for 5 minutes at noon in the program named News12 on the Korean Broadcasting System, also known as KBS.
 
When Lee was 5 months of age, he suffered from Meningitis and the illness left him completely blind, without the ability to sense even the slightest fluctuations in brightness, according to the diagnosis. Lee’s disability became the reason for some of his relatives to convince his parents to abandon him. Without the ability to see, Lee developed sharper ears that enabled him to perceive and conceive the society mostly from news broadcasts, as well as a dream to become an anchorman.
 
Lee, being disabled, recognizes the importance of social welfare for the handicapped. He hopes that he can exert himself through the media to empower the handicapped population socially.
 
It is fortunate that KBS, in April 2011, decided to promote social welfare for the disabled by expanding their production team and holding a series of activities, inclusive of the employment of a disabled anchor. Lee and 29 others were chosen among 523 applications, and eventually Lee stood out from 9 other handicapped men and women in the final selection, becoming the first blind anchorman not only on KBS, but also the first in the world.
 

On the 25th of July, 2011, the 26-year-old swore his oath with passion during his grand inaugural ceremony held by KBS, “I shall dedicate all my passion to spreading hope and dreams as an anchorman.” KBS also commented that BBC had arranged a week for a handicapped news anchor with facial malformation. But there had not been any news channel in the world that dedicated a program to a blind anchorman. Lee’s young and passionate image also attracted international media coverage from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and many other countries.
 
Since October, 2011, Lee has been behind the anchor desk for over a year, and never forgets his intent, “It is my opinion that only with my devotion to this job can the society be enabled to understand us, and to provide more opportunities for other people with disabilities.”
 
Lee Chang-Hun has surmounted the everlasting darkness and enlightened the world by spreading hope and dreams. The blind anchorman has also brought dignity and confidence to the handicapped society.
 
One Step at a Time

Lee Chang Hun, born in Jinju city in 1985, had suffered from Meningitis twice five months after birth, depriving his ability to tell bright from dark and leaving the baby completely blind. While many others tried to persuade his parents to abandon this child, Lee demonstrated with his self-confidence that he did not bring agony to his family. His extreme diligence brought him into Soongsil University after graduating from Seoul Theological University, where he received master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Social Welfare respectively. Lee had also been active in extracurricular activities despite his disability. He was Head of Student Council in middle school. He also participated in choirs and bands, performed in musicals and broadcast shows and was also a sportscaster.
 
Although there were not many job opportunities for the handicapped, Lee was able to become a news anchor to voice for the disabled because of his education as well as his experiences as a sportscaster.
 
Broadcasting: Light and Hope

In April 2011. When KBS announced their plan to recruit a handicapped news anchor, Lee was very excited. The chance for Lee to fulfill his dream had finally arrived. At the same time, he recognized the challenges ahead: the nation-wide selection, one vacancy for hundreds of dreamers. The competition was inevitably fierce.
 
To realize his dream, Lee was subjected to very rigorous training. He not only studied many professional materials, but also acquired audio recordings by which he carefully analyzed voice qualities of KBS news anchors, including their intonations and pitches. Although he wasn’t able to see these anchors, when it came to the characteristics of their voices, Lee was able to speak of all the details.
 

Among 523 applications, KBS picked out 30 of them to evaluate their news anchoring abilities. After the evaluation, 10 applicants were selected to attend the final interview. On the 19th of June, Lee stood out from the rest and became the first blind anchorman ever employed by KBS. Although there were rumors that Lee stood out from the rest with his handsomeness, the true reason he became the champion was that he was able to fluently and accurately read the copy directly from the Braille machine without memorizing the script in advance.
 
After trials and tribulations, in his grand inaugural ceremony, his trembling voice unveiled his aspiration for the position, “I shall dedicate all my passion to spreading hope and dreams as an anchorman.”
 

In South Korea, 5 percent of the population is disabled. Of all 2.5 million handicapped people, only 44% is regarded as capable of bread winning, with most job positions provided for them being temporary replacements and low-salary occupations. It is mandated in South Korea that handicapped employees should at least compose of 3 percent and 2.3 percent of total staff in public and private sectors respectively, but the actual figures are much lower. “I have advocated and hoped that disabled citizens should be granted the opportunity to contribute their talents to the society across all disciplines.”
 
KBS introduced an apparatus that transcribes news copies into Braille texts, enabling Lee to report live news on television. Tactile paving was also implemented in the studio. Lee Chang-Hun also listens to all the news stories from the previous evening to the morning and updates all the news copies before he sits behind the anchor desk in order to fluently deliver his news broadcasts. “I hope that, apart from seeing me as a blind person, people would recognize my anchoring abilities, change their attitude towards and diminish discrimination against the disabled.” Lee remarked.