Elise Hu

Elise Hu is an award-winning correspondent assigned to NPR's newest international bureau, in Seoul, South Korea. She's responsible for covering geopolitics, business and life in both Koreas and Japan. She previously covered the intersection of technology and culture for the network's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

Hu joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters at The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu has taught digital journalism at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools and serves as a guest co-host for TWIT.tv's program, Tech News Today. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

Elise Hu can be reached by e-mail at ehu (at) npr (dot) org as well as via the social media links, above.

South Korean lawmakers voted 234-56 on Friday to impeach President Park Geun-hye. A constitutional court will now decide whether to remove from office the country's first female leader, who's been mired in a corruption scandal that has paralyzed the country's political system. "Regardless of the opinions in favor or against the impeachment, the public is watching with deep hearts," said National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun after the vote. "And hoping this doesn't repeat itself in the...

Japan has the dubious title of the oldest society in the world, with one in four of its citizens past the age of 65. And while the image of the elderly is typically of sweet grandparents, in Japan, senior citizens are committing petty crimes like shoplifting in bigger numbers than teenagers. Inside the office of a private security firm in Tokyo are video monitors that take up the entire wall, bisected into 16 boxes showing various camera angles on a nearby business. Mochizuku Morio shows us a...

A swirling cronyism scandal continues to grip South Korea, where prosecutors announced Sunday that the president is a suspect in a criminal fraud investigation that's already ensnared her close friend and senior aides. President Park Geun-hye made history, becoming the first sitting South Korean president to be a suspect in a criminal investigation. Mass demonstrations against the president have continued across the country. For the fourth weekend in a row, hundreds of thousands of South...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Now to South Korea, where a leadership crisis continues and the biggest demonstrations in decades have been going on for weeks. Demonstrators are calling on President Park Geun-hye to step down due to questions about her role in a corruption and cronyism scandal. And today, prosecutors identified President Park as a criminal suspect. NPR's Elise Hu has been following the story, and she's with us now from Seoul....

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans from across the country crammed into the major thoroughfare of central Seoul on Saturday, in an organized and peaceful protest against the embattled president, Park Geun-hye. The crowd of at least 500,000 people, according to Reuters, held candles and signs reading "Resign," sang pop songs and patriotic numbers, and marched together toward the Blue House, the presidential home and office complex. "It's an explosion of their feelings," demonstrator Jinwon...

In an English-language class at Seoul's Kookmin University, students practice conversation by discussing current events. And the election of Donald Trump is a global current event that's shaken them up. "In Korean, dey-bak means something happened unexpected," says Youjin Lee. Such as the unexpected result of the American election. It brings big uncertainty for U.S. foreign policy around the globe, including Northeast Asia. During the campaign, Trump argued that alliance partners don...

As if the presidential cronyism scandal gripping South Korea couldn't get any more soap-operatic, it turns out the shadowy ties between Korea's future president and a self-proclaimed shaman were actually dramatized in a Korean mini-series, or "K-drama," in the 1990s. The story of President Park Geun-hye's ties to a mysterious family with unorthodox and varied religious links is riveting South Korea. It's led to calls for her ouster and the lowest approval ratings of any president since the...

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye dumped her prime minister and finance chief Wednesday amid a widening abuse of power scandal that's threatening her job. The scandal involves a secret adviser, Choi Soon-sil, who is suspected of wielding tremendous influence on the president and enriching herself as a result. In and around Seoul's Gwanghwamun, a central square where ongoing protests take place, demonstrators show up to demand the president resign . " I think people must...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZrBDi-3ZeQ A political scandal on a scale that South Korea has never seen is putting the president's job in jeopardy. A public opinion survey released Tuesday shows President Park Geun-hye's approval rating at 10 percent , an unprecedented low. Over the weekend, as many as 30,000 South Koreans flooded into Seoul's downtown to rally for her resignation. All of this is over Park's reliance on a spiritual adviser , Choi Soon-sil, who may have been meddling in...

Tens of thousands demonstrated in cities across South Korea on Saturday, demanding President Park Geun-hye step down from office. Her approval rating has hit an unprecedented low of 14 percent and Park's ordered all 10 of her senior aides to resign, following revelations an unelected, unappointed confidant was receiving advance copies and altering dozens of confidential policy speeches. They have led to charges that the friend is a secret "puppet master" and the real power behind "the throne....

It's the most pressing problem, but fire-prone phones aren't the only challenge facing the world's leading seller of mobile phones. In Samsung's home country of South Korea, the conglomerate was already feeling the heat from investors, who want to streamline its complicated corporate structure, and from critics, who say it's not changing from its previously top-down, "militaristic" ways. In South Korea, Samsung's next moves matter. That South Koreans call their country the "Republic of...

Cup Noodles, the dorm-room staple that cooks in three minutes, turns 45 this month. There's no better place to celebrate than its very own museum in Yokohama, Japan. "This is the museum that really honors the creator of instant ramen and Cup Noodles," says museum manager Yuya Ichikawa, who leads me on a tour. Here you'll find a floor-to-ceiling display of every flavor of instant ramen put out since the mid-20th century; a kitchen to prepare fresh ramen noodles; a sprawling assembly line —...

The U.S. is targeting a Chinese company and the people who run it for allegedly helping North Korea with its nuclear weapons program. It closely follows the North's fifth nuclear test, which took place earlier this month. "Each new nuclear test...spurs this kind of scramble to do something," says John Delury, a professor of international relations at Seoul's Yonsei University. "And sanctions is the kind of preferred choice." Targeted sanctions will hit a Chinese conglomerate based on the...

The ground had barely stopped shaking from North Korea's most recent nuclear test last week when the international condemnations began. President Obama called the test destabilizing and provocative. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the test displayed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's "maniacal recklessness." Even North Korea's longtime ally China said it "resolutely" opposed the test. Almost as fast came calls for additional sanctions on the North. But North Korea is already one of...

North Korea and South Korea maintain strict separation most everywhere in the world. Yet oddly, one of the few places they intersect is Laos, the small, communist nation that's long had ties with the North and now has growing links with the South. "As strange as it sounds, Laos is kind of this remote battleground for inter-Korean politics or competition and diplomacy," says Sokeel Park , research director for Liberty in North Korea , a private South Korean organization that assists North...

Laos has a grim claim to fame, as the most heavily bombed country in history. And today, more than four decades after the U.S. dropped those armaments, millions of unexploded bombs remain. President Obama on Tuesday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the small, communist Southeast Asian country and promised to double U.S. funding to help educate residents about the dangers and clear the bombs that remain in the ground. "Given our history here, I believe the United States has a...

Recently inaugurated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is "expressing regret" for his comments at a fiery press conference, in which he called President Obama a "son of a bitch" or "son of a whore" (depending on how you translate the Tagalog) and threatened to swear at him in a planned bilateral meeting. The White House canceled the meeting shortly after Duterte's comments. "We ... regret [the remarks] came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president," Duterte's office said in a...

The North Korean regime's network of overseas restaurants have enjoyed a bit of renown this year, after the defection en masse of 13 restaurant workers from one of the Pyongyang dining outposts in Northeastern China this spring. Those restaurant workers are now in South Korea, having absconded in a coordinated defection that is the biggest mass-defection from North Korea in history. That North Korea-run restaurant from which the 12 waitresses and their manager escaped is now closed. But South...

The shops here in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, hum along without air conditioning, and there are as many tuk-tuks as taxis to take you where you want to go. The rather sleepy place is about to get shaken awake as throngs of global leaders, and their traveling entourages and press, descend on the small nation, starting Monday. Laos is hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN summit, and the country will mark President Barack Obama's final stop in Asia as president. "It's...

A zombie flick is smashing box office records in South Korea. Train to Busan has been seen by an estimated 11 million Koreans — a fifth of the population — and broken numerous records, including the highest single-day ticket sales in Korean film history. The plot isn't complicated: Everyday South Koreans find themselves trapped on a speeding bullet train with fast-multiplying zombies, creating the kind of claustrophobic feel that freshens up the zombie trope. But beyond a fast-paced...

As part of the project A Nation Engaged , NPR and member stations are exploring America's role in the world heading into the presidential election. On a sweltering July morning, divers in full gear from the U.S. Navy's mobile diving and salvage unit jump one by one off a Pearl Harbor pier in Hawaii. Tethered to air supply hoses and armed with heavy equipment, the units dive about 20 feet deep into the Pacific to weld thick metal, a necessary skill in disasters or conflicts when...

Something curious is happening to North Korean officials abroad. A growing number of diplomats and other North Koreans working for the regime overseas are defecting from their posts. At least, it certainly seems that way if you are following the South Korean media. South Korea's government confirmed the most recent case , of Thae Yong Ho, the deputy ambassador at North Korea's embassy in London. He managed to get himself and his family on a flight to Seoul, the capital of the South. But what...

Japan's emperor is hinting he wants to leave the Chrysanthemum Throne. 82-year-old Emperor Akihito gave a rare televised address Monday — only his second in history — in which he reflected on his advancing age, the tough daily schedule of his ceremonial post and the toll it was taking on his health. "When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being as I have done...

The stabbing death of a young woman in a Seoul subway station and the gang rape of a teacher have stirred intense public debate about the status of women in South Korea. By most measures, South Korea is a modern country with one of the largest economies in the world. But it has catching up to do when it comes to gender equality, and the recent events have burst open long-festering issues surrounding societal attitudes about women. In May, the Gangnam subway station in the Seoul district...

In Japan, the world's third largest economy, the Brexit means more bad news for a country already struggling with its finances. Following the British vote to leave the European Union, the Japanese stock market on Friday saw the largest single day drop since the year 2000 (though it did rebound a bit on Monday). Japan's exports instantly became pricier — and less competitive — as the value of the Japanese yen soared. Japanese households, meanwhile, are still cautious about spending money...

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