Sohn Suk-hee

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Sohn Suk-hee
Sohn Suk-hee 20170509.jpg
Sohn in 2017
Born (1956-07-27) 27 July 1956 (age 63)
EducationKookmin University
University of Minnesota
OccupationFormer news anchor, professor and television/radio personality
Current JTBC president and CEO
Years active1984-2020
Height177 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Spouse(s)Shin Hyun-sook (1987-present)
Sohn Suk-hee
Revised RomanizationSon Seokhui
McCune–ReischauerSon Sŏkhŭi

Sohn Suk-hee (born 27 July 1956) is a former South Korean anchor and currently serving as JTBC's president and CEO. He was also a former professor at Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, South Korea.

He is considered one of the most influential figures in South Korean media.[1]


Early life and education[edit]

Sohn was born on June 20, 1956, but wasn't registered until July 27 of the same year.

When Sohn was in elementary school, he lived in Pil-dong, Jung-gu. He was stubborn and tough at the moment. ‘This student is such a thick head’ was written in his report card when he was second grader. He used to play with the orphans near the Toegye-ro, but he was so poor that he was in the similar position with them. Later, his family moved to Seongbuk-gu. After he graduated Sorabol middle school, he entered the Whimoon High School and became a member of the broadcasting club. There, he met Song Sueng Hwan, who planned Nanta. His experience in there played the crucial role of becoming an announcer. In 1976, he entered Kookmin University and studied Korean Literature. Students in Kookmin University called him ‘school uniform’, because he had only worn black clothes. In 1979, he joined the Army in Busan.

1984-2013: MBC[edit]

Sohn Suk-hee joined MBC in 1984 as an announcer. In 1985, he became an anchor of 1minute News, Morning News and Work Site 85. He was also an MC of Teenager Special. In 1986, he was an anchor of the Midnight News and Here is MBC. He was an MC of Health at 100 years. In 1987, he became the weekend anchor of MBC Newsdesk until 1989. In 1989, he became the main anchor for the Sunday news programme, News Center and an MC of Scholarship Quiz. In 1990, he became an anchor of the Evening News.

In 1992, he joined the MBC labor union. That same year, Sohn participated in a strike after MBC did not air an episode of famed investigative journalism program PD Note, which was about a prediction about a collapse of rural economy caused by the 1992 Uruguay Round. MBC's CEO at the time, who wanted the ruling party to rule continuously, estimated that the episode would bring disadvantage to the ruling party at the next presidential election. Many MBC journalists decided to go on a strike to clamour for transition of MBC to an impartial broadcasting company, and Sohn was one of them. The strike lasted 52 days, and Sohn was arrested for leading the strike and was detained in Yeongdeungpo detention center with several of his colleagues during the strike. During his detention, he drew attention by speaking, “Do not change what you think is right. Keep your principle before you die."

In 1993, he came back with being an MC of Making Mornings, Choice, Saturday is Good, and An Opening Dawn.[2] In 1994, he made his return to breakfast television by anchoring for News Wide, and its successors MBC News Today (1995), Good Morning, Korea (1997) and Morning News 2000 (1999-2000). He also hosted both Jazz Concert in the Midsummer Night and the 1994 MBC Riverside Music Festival. He was also the host of Sohn's Morning. In 1996, he was an MC of Police, Finding Suspects. In 1997, he hosted a documentary Sohn Suk-hee's Adventure to America. In 2000, he was a MC of 2000 Today. He was an MC of Wow! What a Wonderful World[3] and Media Criticism in 2001. He also hosted the radio show Sohn Suk-hee's Focus until 2013. He also hosted 100-Minute Debate, which went on to become one of the most popular talkshows in Korea from 2002 to 2009. In 2010, he narrated the documentary Lion Queen.

On 9 May 2013, Sohn Suk-hee was named the new president of JTBC’s news reporting department. And he said that officially, “I know there is opposition to my choice. But I hope people can wait for me to carry out what I have been contemplating about true journalism. I will do my best to let them understand it in the future.”[4]

2013-present: JTBC[edit]

Hong Seok-hyun said JTBC could succeed after several attempts to recruit him. He said that he wants JTBC to be a network with talented people, and Sohn Suk-hee was a man he could find who can broadcast very fair. On 9 May 2013, a report was made that Sohn joined JTBC as president of its news department. In an interview with Sisa IN, he said “The tone would be different from the JoongAng Ilbo. As long as I have the full power of the press section, it seems to me that I will do my job”. Starting on September 16, 2013, he became the solo anchor for JTBC News 9, replacing Jun Young-gi and Hwang Nam-hee, who eventually assumed the sub-anchor post on JTBC News Morning&.

On 16 April 2014, JTBC News 9 reported the sinking of MV Sewol. While he was interviewing Baek Jeom-gi, a shipbuilding engineering professor at Busan University, he was unable to speak for a while.[5] On April 18, two days after the incident, Sohn had a ground-breaking interview with deep sea diving expert Lee Jong-in, where he talked about an equipment called the "diving bell" that could be used for search and rescue operations even through tough water conditions. Lee said that he tried to offer the diving bell and other diving equipments to the South Korean coast guard for their search efforts, but they declined him.[6] After the interview was aired, online community sites were flooded with criticisms from outraged netizens in response to the government's slow response towards the incident. Several days later, the South Korean coast guard allowed the use of the diving bell.[7] Sohn Suk-hee was also praised by viewers as he was the only news anchor who covered the search and rescue efforts live from Jindo.[8] From 24 to 29 April 2014, JTBC News 9 was conducted from Jindo, Jeollanam-do. This led to national interest and trust, and recorded audience ratings close to terrestrial broadcasters. On 22 September 2014, JTBC News 9 was reorganized into JTBC Newsroom.

In December 2019, Sohn Suk-hee announced his resignation as anchor of JTBC Newsroom following a large-scale organization reshuffle.[9][10] He has held this position for six years and four months, and will only focus on CEO duties. His final day was on January 2, 2020, during the second part of its annual New Year's Day debate. That broadcast recorded a rating of 4.9%.[11] The Times They Are a-Changin' was used as its ending theme once more as he resigned from his anchor position.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He married fellow MBC announcer Shin Hyun-sook in 1987, and has two children with her. Their marriage was one of the few unions between MBC colleagues until Moon Ji-ae and Jeon Jung-hwan married in 2012.


Year Organization Position
November 2018—present JTBC President and CEO
May 2013—November 2018 President, JTBC News Division
January 2011 Prosecutor's Office Policy Advisory Council Advisor
March 2006 Sungshin Women's University College of Humanities Department of Culture Communication Professor
2005—June 2006 MBC Director, Announcer Bureau
2004 Yonsei University Department of Journalism Adjunct Professor
2003 MBC Director, Announcer Team 1, Announcer Bureau
March 2002—2003 Director, Announcer Team 2, Announcer Bureau
September 2000 Sungkyunkwan University Department of Journalism Adjunct Professor
April 1999—March 2002 MBC Director, Announcer Bureau
April 1997—April 1999 Deputy General Manager, Announcer Bureau
November 1989—October 1992 Director, Ministry of Education and Culture, MBC Trade Union
1987—1989 Reporter, Social Affairs Bureau, News Division
1984—1987 Announcer

Broadcasting activity[edit]

Name Position Duration Network Notes
JTBC Newsroom Main anchor September 16, 2013—January 2, 2020 JTBC Formerly JTBC News 9; he also served as president of its news division until he was promoted to the network's president and CEO.
Documentary Prime: King Maker Narrator 2012 EBS Documentary
Changsha Special Documentary: Lion Queen 2010 MBC
100-Minute Debate Anchor/moderator January 18, 2002—November 19, 2009
Media Criticism Host April 28, 2001—January 11, 2002
Wow! What A Wonderful World 2000
Sohn Suk-hee's Focus October 23, 2000—May 10, 2013 MBC Standard FM
2000 Today December 31, 1999—January 1, 2000 MBC One-off special to celebrate the new millennium; hosted with Shim Hye-jin
News Today Main anchor October 17, 1994—February 28, 1997; April 26, 1999—December 31, 1999 As MBC News Wide in 1994, then later became Good Morning Korea in 1996; Morning News 2000 in 1999
Sohn Suk-hee's United States Exploration Host 1997
Live Breakfast 1993
Saturday Choice
Where The Music Is
MBC Newsdesk Weekend anchor March 7, 1987—May 27, 1989
Youth Music Camp Host March 8, 1986—September 1, 1988 MBC FM4U
0 O'Clock News Anchor 1986 MBC
MBC's Here
100-Year-Old Health Host
Quiz Famous Painting Tour
One Minute News Anchor 1984
Morning News
On-site 85
Special Youth Plan Host


He has been picked as the most influential journalist by Sisa Magazine[1] since 2007. JTBC Newsroom was also chosen as the most influential news program after reporting about the sinking of MV Sewol and the 2016 South Korean political scandal.


  1. ^ a b "Regulator looks to punish Sohn Suk-hee for 'unfair report'". The Korea Herald. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Announcer Sohn Suk-hee returned to MBC". Yonhap News. 12 October 1994. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Sohn Suk-hee emcees <Wow! e Wonderful World>". Kukmin Ilbo. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  4. ^ "JTBC chooses news chief". Sports KyungHwang. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  5. ^ 여객선 세월호 침몰...백점기 부산대조선해양공학과 교수 전화 연결, retrieved 1 June 2020
  6. ^ "이종인 "공기 주입, 생존자 있을 만한 곳에 해야…조타실은 의문"". (in Korean). 20 April 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  7. ^ "다이빙벨 안 쓴다더니 현장에? 대학서 빌려와 '논란'". (in Korean). 24 April 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  8. ^ ‘JTBC 뉴스9’ 손석희, 진도 팽목항서 생방송으로 뉴스 진행 Archived 2014-05-03 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "JTBC '뉴스룸' 손석희 앵커, 6년 4개월 만에 하차". (in Korean). 23 December 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ "손석희, JTBC '뉴스룸' 앵커 물러난다…후임은?". 중앙일보 (in Korean). 23 December 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. ^ "뉴스룸 손석희 마지막 방송 시청률은 4.9%". 비욘드포스트 (in Korean). 3 January 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. ^ 1월 2일 (목) 뉴스룸 엔딩곡 (BGM : The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan), retrieved 15 May 2020

External links[edit]