Jean H. Lee said her departure was amicable and “no surprise” to AP management
January 6, 2015
Six days after the December 24 NKNews article on the Associated Press news operation in North Korea, AP’s founding North Korea bureau chief has resigned after a nearly 20 year career with the media organization.
Jean H. Lee has been a focus of scrutiny on the agreement the AP signed with the North Korean government to open the AP’s news operation in January 2012 and the news reporting under the terms of operation mandated by AP’s New York management in the three years since it opened.
Lee says that her departure was planned long prior to the recent scrutiny focused on AP’s North Korea operation. Other AP news staffer’s involved in the news production from North Korea contend that friction between Lee and AP’s management in New York over the public portrayal of the AP’s news operations in North Korea were central to her abrupt departure.
While she spoke several times at length off the record with NK News about her tenure with the AP’s North Korean news operation, she declined to publicly go into any details on either her time as AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief or the reasons for her departure from the AP. “I stand behind my work and accomplishments….I was the central figure behind the making of the first U.S. news bureau in North Korea. But it’s time for me to move forward….(I) advised the AP this week that I would not be back,” Lee said in an email exchange. “If anyone within AP or outside the organization is spending their time gossiping about the circumstances of my departure, then I would probably suggest they focus their energies elsewhere.”
Jean Lee will be a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.
Here is a copy of her notice of resignation she sent to Associated Press management and senior editors on December 31 obtained by NKNews – North Korea News:
From: “Lee, Jean H.” <[email protected]>
Date: December 31, 2014 at 8:05:08 PM GMT+5:30
To: News – International COBs <[email protected]>, News – Asia News Staffer <[email protected]>, News – Asia Desk <[email protected]>, News – North American Desk <[email protected]org>
Cc: “Daniszewski, John” <[email protected]>, “Lyon, Santiago” <[email protected]>, “Nimmons, Ellen” <[email protected]>, “Anthony, Ted” <[email protected]>, “Joshi, Vijay” <[email protected]>, “Dharapak, Charles” <[email protected]>
Subject: Farewell and happy new year
AP friends and family,
Nearly 20 years after I began my career with AP as an intern in the Baltimore bureau, it is time for me to say goodbye. It has been an incredible ride, with memorable assignments spanning from California to Cape Town and culminating in the biggest challenge of my career: opening the AP bureau in Pyongyang. Along the way, in all corners of the world, I’ve had the honor of working with some of the finest journalists in the industry. Many of you have been like family to me, and always will be my family.
You can find me as @newsjean on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or at [email protected]
As we say in Seoul: Fighting!
Best wishes to all in 2015.
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