By Inyoung Choi
This article is part of a series of articles celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The articles celebrate the accomplishments and efforts of two of The Daily’s former sports editors from the AAPI community.
A Minnesotan since moving to Minneapolis from Seoul, South Korea, at the age of four, Do-hyoung Park is the current Minnesota Twins beat reporter at MLB.com. Park joined The Daily halfway through freshman year and grew to be an active member of the Daily community throughout his Stanford experience. During his tenure at The Daily that roughly spanned six years, Park held numerous positions in sports, copy and business, including the roles of managing editor of sports, head copy editor and chief operating officer. Park graduated in 2017 with both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Tell us about your experience as a sports editor at The Daily.
Do-Hyoung Park (DP):
Halfway through my freshman year, I decided to join The Daily, just because it was so unlike anything I had ever done in my life up to that point. In high school, I absolutely hated writing. But when I got to Stanford, I figured writing at The Daily would provide a chance for me to get out of my comfort zone. At The Daily, I found an incredible community — ranging from students all the way up to Duran. Something clicked immediately; I knew that The Daily was a community that was going to mean a lot to me throughout my Stanford experience, and that’s exactly what it came to be. I was around for roughly six years. It almost became a joke that I’d be around at The Daily forever. Obviously, the work experience and the bylines I was able to get under my belt at The Daily were tremendous, but really what The Daily was to me was the people who had a really special space in my Stanford journey. The countless quotes that would go up on the quoteboard in all the late nights or the 2:30 a.m. Happy Donuts runs … I think that’s what The Daily was all about. That’s what I have nostalgia for when I look back on those days.
TSD: Did you have an interest in sports prior to Stanford?
DP: I joke with some of my friends that I might be the sports writer that is least diehard about sports. I grew up watching sports — mostly baseball and football — but it wasn’t an integral part of my life, as a fan or as a participant. Getting to Stanford was an eye-opening experience. Stanford’s athletic teams were successful across the board. Getting to know the student-athletes was incredibly accessible; for the most part, they lived in our dorms, ate at our dining halls and were around in our classes. That whole ecosystem at Stanford was fascinating, and it was at Stanford when I really became a true sports fan for the first time. Since I was covering sports, I guess I couldn’t be a “fan” in the truest sense, but I really did appreciate getting to immerse myself in the sports world a lot more than I had ever before.
TSD: How did you decide on pursuing a professional career in sports journalism?
DP: I like to think that all of this happened because I was in the right place at the right time. I don’t like thinking about my future; I like to roll with the punches as they come and flexibly take advantage of opportunities that arise. I was a chemical engineering major with a minor in CS, so working in sports wasn’t something I had consciously crafted as a career decision. But I knew that sports meant a lot to me during my college experience, and when I happened to stumble upon MLB.com’s associate reporter program and got the opportunity, I was stunned. Coming back from that experience, I finished up my master’s in chemical engineering and stuck around at The Daily for an additional year. It became clear that I wanted to give sports writing a shot, and I was fortunate in that my editors from my internship kept me in mind, and things opened up at the right time.
TSD: What is it like working in sports today when there are limited options for live sports?
DP: I think all of us obviously want sports to return. As sports writers, it’s challenging because we have to find ways to cover athletes and these teams from afar. We lose a lot by not being able to talk to athletes every day in person and build relationships with them as we would normally in a regular season. Even so, everybody is still looking for ways to create original fresh content that will engage readers. We’re doing a lot of historical content; it’s been really cool to get the chance to learn about the history of my team and of other teams that my colleagues cover. This is almost a “pseudo offseason” — which is different and challenging, but I’m approaching it by trying to do the best we can do.
TSD: As a Korean American baseball writer, what do you think about ESPN’s live coverage of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) league and the attention Korean baseball has garnered as a result?
DP: My dad is a huge diehard LG Twins fan. Being able to watch my dad’s baseball team through a window into Korea in my very own living room is something that’s still so absurd yet so cool to me. I think it’s cool for American fans to get the opportunity to see how a different culture in a different country puts their own spin on baseball. It’s an intriguing look into how this game could be played differently. I wish I could speak more to the ESPN broadcast, but because I understand Korean I usually find myself watching the Korean broadcasters. Maybe I should start tuning into more ESPN broadcasts and explore the intersection between the American and Korean sports worlds.
TSD: What does your Korean American and API heritage mean to you? How does it impact how you see yourself in sports journalism?
DP: I’ve had an interesting relationship with my Korean identity throughout the years. Because Minneapolis isn’t the most ethnically diverse place in America, I initially just found myself as a kid wanting to be like the other kids. I noticed differences between myself and others. For example, my mom packed food that was different from everybody else’s food. At my friends’ houses I didn’t need to take my shoes off at the door. I think I spent a lot of time in my early years trying to become as “American” as I could to fit in and not feel like a stranger around my friends. But at Stanford, and particularly now in my career, I think I took a 180 in that I’ve come to take a stronger interest in learning where I came from and where my family comes from. Especially in my current line of work — where not just Koreans, but just Asian Americans as a whole are not very strongly represented — I take a lot of pride in my identity. But also, at the same time, I am cautious to be a “sports writer that happens to be Korean” as opposed to the “Korean sports writer.” Given that I’m still early in my career, I haven’t thought too deeply about how my identity impacts my work. But hopefully, as I get deeper into this career, I’ll be able to learn more about what it means to be a Korean American baseball writer in the U.S. and how that perspective will help me grow as both a writer and a person.
Notable articles by Park: