Kyunghyang Shinmun was founded in 1946 by the Catholic Church, which explains its name. Before the Korean War, it was edited by Fr. Peter Ryang, a refugee from the North, and its circulation was 100,000.Kyunghyang Shinmun was temporarily closed down in May 1959 by the Rhee administration on grounds of having printed "false editorials", but revived after the pro-democracy April Revolution of 1960. The newspaper is no longer associated with the Catholic Church.
In 1998, Kyunghyang Shinmun became an independent newspaper with employee ownership. The CEO is elected by the employees; the editor-in-chief, though appointed by the CEO, must be approved by a majority of the journalist-employees.
The newspaper employs 600 people, including 240 journalists and maintains foreign bureaus in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Beijing. It reports 1.3 million daily visitors to its website and 6.2 million daily page-views. The company also publishes a daily sports newspaper (Sports Kyunghyang), a weekly news magazine (The Jugan Kyunghyang) and a monthly lifestyle magazine for women (The Lady Kyunghyang).
Like the newer daily The Hankyoreh, Kyunghyang Shinmun leans toward anti-government reporting, describing itself as "moderate progressive".