KCETLink, the new national independent public media organization created by KCET’s recent merger with the Bay Area-based independent media company Link Media, invites viewers to tune in to “LinkAsia” on KCET every Friday at 10:30 p.m. beginning Jan. 11.

The first program offering from Link TV on KCET’s broadcast schedule since announcing the merger in October, “LinkAsia” hosted by TV personality Yul Kwon, is a weekly half-hour roundup of culture, political and technology news from Asia combining official state news with social media and contributors throughout the region.

“LinkAsia” host Yul Kwon (Photo courtesy of Link TV)

“LinkAsia” provides U.S. audiences with official news from Asian nations’ commercial and state-run TV networks, along with translated social media chatter and on-the-ground correspondent reporting from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia.

Kwon, a former attorney and the first Asian American contestant to win the CBS reality show “Survivor,” said it’s critical for U.S. viewers, especially in Southern California, where there is such a large Asian population, to have a better grasp of what’s going on in Asia because of the region’s profound impact on the rest of the world.

“There’s nothing else like this in U.S. media,” he said. “We’re giving viewers a direct pulse into this incredibly dynamic area of the world by providing them with unfiltered news and perspectives.”

As a transmedia project, the “LinkAsia” blog curates Asian news from around the world and includes news and analysis from expert contributors located in Asia and the U.S., such as award-winning investigative journalist David Bandurski from the China Media Project.

Combining social media channels with stories from across the Asian region, “LinkAsia’s” Twitter channel, @LinkAsiaNews, can also be found on Storify (http://storify.com/LinkAsiaNews), monitoring both U.S. and Asian social media sites, including China’s Sina Weibo, to publish stories generated by social media trends across the globe.

The program’s list of news providers includes CCTV (China), NHK (Japan), MBC and MBN (Korea), NDTV (India), VTV4 (Vietnam) and citizen journalism organization Global Voices Online.

Correspondents include Charlie Custer of noted blog China Geeks; Ajoy Bose, veteran political reporter based in New Delhi; and Nguyen Qui Duc, Vietnamese author and reporter. George Lewinski, former senior editor at PRI’s “The World” and foreign editor at NPR’s “Marketplace,” is the series producer; and Wendy Hanamura, former Tokyo-based correspondent and CBS news reporter, is executive producer.

“This is a digital and broadcast news program that sits at the intersection of culture and journalism in Asia – featuring news and stories directly from Asia and we’re thrilled to be able to offer it to Southern California audiences on KCET’s schedule,” said Paul S. Mason, chief strategy officer of KCETLink. “Our team is monitoring what’s being reported and how it’s being reported in China and Japan and beyond, not only in official news, but in social media across the region, to cultivate understanding about what’s really happening over there – and why it’s deeply relevant to U.S. audiences.”

Funding for “LinkAsia” is provided by the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and the Fund for Commonweal. The advisory team includes Maureen Fan (award-winning former Washington Post Beijing bureau chief), Clayton Dube (director of the USC U.S.-China Institute), Daniel Okimoto (Stanford University professor emeritus and co-founder of the Shorenstein-Asia/Pacific Research Center), and others.

“LinkAsia” has covered ongoing reporting and analysis about stories including Kim Jung Il’s death and the future of North Korea under new leadership, free speech and censorship in China, democracy across Asia, the ongoing investigation into the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, and Taiwan’s enthusiasm about NBA phenomenon Jeremy Lin.

“LinkAsia” airs weekly on KCET Fridays at 10:30 p.m., repeating Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.LinkAsia.org, follow @LinkAsiaNews, and like www.Facebook.com/LinkAsia.

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