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.

The U.S. and China are the two largest economies in the world — and interdependent in a host of ways. But as leaders from both countries start annual high-level talks in Beijing, disagreements over how China does business are creating some trust issues in the relationship. "You might want to think of the US China relationship as kind of like an arranged marriage," says Arthur Kroeber, a Beijing-based economist and author of China's Economy: What You Need to Know. "They're not in it because...

Minhae Kim didn't check air pollution levels before bringing her one-year-old to Seoul's Yongsan Family Park. Perhaps she should have. On this day — and on most days this spring — the measures of the most dangerous kind of pollution in Seoul exceed the World Health Organization's recommended limit. And Korea ranks near the very bottom for air quality in Yale University's latest 180-country Environmental Performance Index. "People say the [poor] air quality here these days is because of China,...

"Seventy-one years ago, on a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed," President Obama said Friday, in the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Hiroshima, Japan. In 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on that city, killing an estimated 140,000 people. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. Within weeks, Japan surrendered, ending the war in the Pacific Theater. Today, the city of Hiroshima is home to...

Renewed controversy over heavy American military presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa swirled as President Obama arrived in Japan for the G7 summit. Just a week earlier, a former U.S. Marine allegedly raped and killed a local Okinawa woman , triggering protests on the island. "I firmly lodged a protest with President Obama about the recent incident in Okinawa," Shinzo Abe said after the two leaders met in Ise-Shima on Wednesday night. In fact, he said, "The entire time was spent on this...

Populations are shrinking so fast in East Asia that some Japanese and Koreans actually talk about the eventual extinction of their civilizations. To tackle demographic declines driven by low birthrates, the historically homogeneous South Korea is opening itself to more immigrants than ever before. It's happening most notably in a place called Wongok Village outside the city of Ansan, an hour's drive south of Seoul. At Ansan West Elementary School, the students represent dozens of countries —...

A once-in-a-generation gathering of the North Korean ruling party is happening in Pyongyang, where leader Kim Jong Un has laid out his plans for the country's future. But the new vision for North Korea — parallel economic and nuclear development — looks a lot like the old one. In a broadcast shown on state television, Kim spoke to thousands of the ruling party elite for a marathon three hours on Saturday, with occasional interruptions of frenzied applause from the audience. Kim reaffirmed his...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v02nlU_ZATk Speaking at the major event that's being closely scrutinized, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Friday his country had achieved "great success" and "unprecedented results" with a nuclear weapons test in January and a rocket launch of a space satellite in February. According to North Korea's KRT state television, Kim made the remarks to North Korea's highest political body, the Workers' Party Congress. The last time the congress was convened, in...

Tens of thousands of South Koreans compete each year for entry-level jobs at Samsung , the high-tech firm that's considered the country's premier company. Workers with previous job experience can join the company without taking the test, but Samsung uses the 160-question quiz to help whittle down potential applicants looking to start their careers. How would you do? Here are a few questions selected from practice tests available in Korea. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr...

Editor's note: To take a sample Samsung Aptitude Test, click here or at the end of this story. For weeks, young people who have already taken plenty of tests found themselves cramming for yet another one: the Samsung Aptitude Test, or SAT. "Sometimes I feel a little bit nervous, but now I'm OK," says Daewon Kim, who studied about nine hours a day in the lead-up to Samsung's two-hour employment entrance exam. On Sunday, as many as 100,000 South Koreans filled test centers across the country to...

A North Korean military intelligence officer has defected to South Korea, the South's Unification Ministry announced on Monday. While declining to give details, ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee confirmed the man is a colonel and called the defection "meaningful." He is believed to be one of the highest-ranking North Koreans to defect to the South. Jeong said the defection could be read as a sign of fissure at the top levels of North Korea's regime. The announcement comes just days after...

In democratic South Korea, you're free to express your opinion on most topics — except North Korea. Korean-American Shin Eun-mi learned that lesson the hard way. After a few tourist trips to the North, she shared her observations of North Korean people, landscape and culture in two books and several speeches in the South. "I said, 'North Korean beer tastes good, and the water of North Korean rivers is clean,' " Shin said in a phone interview. That's how she crossed the line in the eyes of...

In democratic South Korea, you're free to express your opinion on most topics — except North Korea. Korean-American Shin Eun-mi learned that lesson the hard way. After a few tourist trips to the North, she shared her observations of North Korean people, landscape and culture in two books and several speeches in the South. "I said, 'North Korean beer tastes good, and the water of North Korean rivers is clean,' " Shin said in a phone interview. That's how she crossed the line in the eyes of...

South Korea is a place where appearance really matters. The country's cosmetic surgery prowess is known the world over. It's one of the world's top plastic surgery markets , and by some estimates, more cosmetic procedures are performed here per capita than anywhere else on the planet — mostly facial enhancements such as Botox injections, eyelid jobs or nose jobs. But lately, a few doctors have been putting their highly sought skills to use in a different way. They're helping North Korean...

North Korea watchers haven't been getting much sleep this year. The Kim Jong Un regime started the year with a literal bang — a nuclear test on Jan. 7, marking its fourth such test in the past decade. That was followed by a rocket launch in February, and claims that it had a miniaturized nuclear warhead. On the heels of those already provocative acts, the country launched a flurry of short-range missiles from its northeastern coast on Monday, according to South Korea. And last Friday, North...

What started out as a budget tour to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, has stretched into an extended stay for 21-year-old University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier. State media reported Wednesday that North Korea's highest court convicted Warmbier of subversion and sentenced him to 15 years of prison and hard labor. The offense? According to an apparent confession, Warmbier tried to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. "North Korea's sentencing of Otto Warmbier to 15 years' hard...

The five-game clash pitting man against machine is over, with Google's artificial intelligence program winning the series.The program — called AlphaGo — took four of five games against Korean Lee Sedol, an 18-time world champion of the board game Go. "I feel a little regrettable because I believe that there is more that a human being could have shown in a match against artificial intelligence," Lee said following the final match. The matchup had all the mood and atmosphere of a prize fight. A...

For Natsumi Miyakawa, a young resident of Japan's Tohoku region, March 11, 2011, should have been a day to celebrate. It was her junior high school graduation day. Instead, there was chaos and sadness. "Everything was scary," she recalls. In the coastal city of Ishinomaki, where she now lives, 3,700 people drowned in the tsunami resulting from a magnitude-9 earthquake. A hilltop saved lives. "People came to escape to this hill," she says. "And there is a kind of legend that has been passed...

Temporary is lasting a long time for evacuees in neat blocks of prefabricated housing in Fukushima city. The wood siding on their tiny homes looks new. But these trailers are stretching into their fifth year of use. Saki Sato, 77, shows me around her home, where she lives alone in a kind of limbo. Each room is about the size of a king-size mattress. She is among the nearly 60,000 Japanese who still find themselves in temporary trailer homes after having to flee five years ago following a...

About 4,000 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, have landed in South Korea in the past few weeks, to serve along the border of the two Koreas. As policy makers contend with the thorny security challenges of the region, soldiers are adjusting to more day-to-day challenges. Fresh off the planes from central Texas, the men and women of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team say it's the snow that made the most noticeable first impression. "We left Fort Hood at about 60 degrees, 70 degrees....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krCzDybujR8 In the central Japanese mountain village of Damine, children have kept up an unbroken tradition of performing Japan's classical theater, kabuki , year after year for more than three centuries. But as people age or leave for opportunities in cities, the village is running out of performers. The annual kabuki festival in Damine features a daylong program in February that always closes with a finale starring the village's children. Locals begin the day...

As the international community grapples with how best to stymie North Korea's nuclear development, South Korea is making one move on its own. It's shutting down the last remaining vestige of inter-Korean cooperation, the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The special zone, located north of the border just six miles inside of North Korea, employs an estimated 55,000 North Koreans. South Korea's government and industries pay to operate the park. A total of 124 South Korean companies run businesses and...

Rescue efforts continue in southern Taiwan, three days after a powerful magnitude-6.4 earthquake shook the island and killed more than three dozen people. But hopes of finding survivors were fading. Early Monday, more than 100 people were still unaccounted for from the Golden Dragon apartment complex, the center of most rescue efforts. This weekend, there were countless stories of death — and life. One rescue caught on Taiwanese news cameras shows crews frantically yelling to help a 3-year...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: A magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck Taiwan. The epicenter was in the south of the country near Tainan City. Multiple buildings collapsed in the early hours of the morning while people were still sleeping. NPR's Elise Hu in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, and she joins us now. And Elise, where you were, did you feel the earthquake? ELISE HU, BYLINE: I didn't feel it, Kelly. I slept right through it,...

On the fifth floor of South Korea's sprawling National Library is a place far more fascinating than its name suggests: The North Korea Information Center. Here you can read every edition of North Korea's national newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun , dating to its first publication. Or peruse a collection of 100,000 North Korean books and videos — fiction, nonfiction and the complete teachings of the autocratic dynasty that runs the country. In a dictionary, you can find the "Song of General Kim Il...

North Korean state media said Friday that the country has detained a U.S. student from the University of Virginia for "anti-republic activities." The state-run agency, KCNA, said the student, Otto Frederick Warmbier, entered North Korea as a tourist but "with a goal to wreck the foundation of state unity ... under the manipulation of the U.S. government." The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it was aware of the report. The University of Virginia's website lists an undergraduate with that name at...

On the South Korean side of its 151-mile border with North Korea, banks of loudspeakers are back on , blaring propaganda. It's the South's response to the North's nuclear test last week. The speakers, which broadcast everything from news to K-pop, come on at random times, often at night, and can reach as far as 12 miles into North Korea. "I can't really make out what they're saying," says South Korean Nam Tae-woo, 83, who lives in a village just outside the demilitarized zone in the town of...

News of a North Korean nuclear test reached the rest of the world in short order, but days after the rogue nation claimed it tested a hydrogen bomb, 17-year-old Jinwoo Ha, in neighboring South Korea, said she hadn't heard. "Mmmmm, sorry, but I don't quite know about the issue, so can you please explain that?" she said, after being asked for her reaction to the test. She and several of her peers south of the border say they have more pressing matters on their minds. "We have to study, we have...

Deciphering events in North Korea often seems more like long-distance psychoanalysis than reporting. So it's not surprising there's a dearth of hard information about the country's latest nuclear test. In a statement heavy on propaganda and light on details, North Korea claimed it successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test Wednesday morning. Outside nuclear experts immediately raised their collective eyebrows, noting the country's past exaggerations of its nuclear program. Some details may...

Japan has made progress recently in getting more women to join the workforce. The latest numbers show a greater percentage of Japanese women work outside the home than American women. But for a rapidly aging and shrinking population, that progress may not be fast enough. One of the biggest reasons Japanese women choose to stay home is the lack of child care options. As of the latest count, in April 2015, about 23,000 Japanese children were on waiting lists for day care. Unable to find other...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqc40dZlmvU Editor's Note: NPR opened a South Korea bureau in March. Correspondent Elise Hu takes a look at the wonder and the wackiness of life and journalism in East Asia. After a K-pop-themed sendoff and an unexpected flight delay, my family and I arrived on a freezing night in early March to open NPR's newest bureau, in Seoul, South Korea. News greeted me on my first day — the Internet was just getting set up at the bureau when an activist slashed the face...

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