AP Watch

Daniszewski in Pyongyang for AP Bureau’s Anniversary

Today’s installment comes to us from KNCA, no less: “John Daniszewski, vice president of the Associated Press of the United States, and his party arrived here by air on Monday.” Yes, that’s the entire story. Yonhap also picks up the story, but has little to add.

I suppose Daniszewski could have flown all the way to Pyongyang to ask KCNA to take his picture off its website, but I have to suspect that he’s there for more substantive discussions about AP’s work in North Korea. Speaking of the AP’s work in Pyongyang, it’s governed by two memoranda of agreement between AP and the North Korean government. Notwithstanding its own ethical standards about transparency and conflicts of interest, the AP has never disclosed those memoranda to its readers. Discuss among yourselves.

If this isn’t curious enough, KCNA fails to mention that this is the one-year anniversary of the opening of the AP Pyongyang bureau in anniversary-obsessed North Korea. Jean Lee’s Twitter feed and the AP Pyongyang “North Korea Journal” page are also silent — so far — about both Daniszewski’s visit and the anniversary. The relative absence of fanfare is noteworthy for two media organizations that had commandeered column space all over the world to give so much splashy attention to the opening of the bureau last year.


  1. Feel free to contact Mr. “D” with your questions and suggestions. I told him that as long as he remains in North Korea the regime will not conduct a nuclear test. I also suggested a scenic sightseeing destination near the nuclear test site and advised him to request a trip there.



  2. I think you need to give credit where credit is due.

    I’m only going by memory here, but I seem to recall when AP’s Pyongyang bureau first opened, it seemed like all of AP’s North Korea stories came out of there.

    It seems they’ve since learned what’s what, and let the Pyongyang bureau do its photography and Pyongyang coverage while doing the sensitive stories out of Seoul or Beijing. The end result is markedly improved on the past.

    I think most people had realistic expectations when the bureau opened, and never expected it to be a source of hard-hitting journalism exposing human rights abuses and dissent in the country and things like that. Obviously that was not going to happen, but if its aim was to be a foot in the door and provide images and supporting coverage of happenings in the capital then it’s done fine.

    That said it may be that he’s gone there to tell the regime to harden up or AP will leave.



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