HomeAsian AmericansPioneering Korean American Journalist K. Connie Kang Dies at 76

Pioneering Korean American Journalist K. Connie Kang Dies at 76

K. Connie Kang,  who is thought to be the first Korean woman reporter in the United States, passed away last week after suffering from pancreatic cancer, according to The Los Angeles Times. She was 76.

When she was a young girl, Kang’s family fled what is now North Korea. She grew up in Okinawa, Japan where she developed a love for the English language at her international school. The family would later move to San Francisco.

Kang received her undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Missouri. She later earned her masters in journalism at Northwestern University. After completing her studies, Kang worked as a staff writer at The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner.

In the spring of 1992, riots broke out in Korean neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Journalists struggled to interview Korean American residents because many of the residents did not speak English and the journalists did not speak Korean.

Kang was brought into The Los Angeles Times after the riots. She went on to cover the Asian community in Los Angeles. Hyungwon Kang, a former photo editor at the Times and Kang’s mentor, said Korean Americans in the area felt comfortable bringing their stories to Kang.

“She would be flooded with calls from Korean Americans who wanted to get their stories out there, because no one else in the mainstream media spoke their language,” Hyungwon Kang told The Los Angeles Times.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Kang was brought in to help cover the riots. In fact, she was brought in after to help increase the coverage of Korean Americans.

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