Sunday, July 21, 2019

What shape will the new Nation take?

Jun 09. 2019
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I understand that newspapers worldwide are facing challenges and are scrambling to find a way to survive online. While The Nation has announced its intention to follow this trend, it seems to have no plan as to how to achieve it.

Is there a brand-new website and user-friendly app ready to launch when the print edition ceases? I hope so, because the current arrangement is very old-hat and difficult to navigate. Thanks to the curious slideshow that dominates the front page, it is not even clear what the major story of the day/hour is. A new era requires a new look, new energy, and new reasons for people to become engaged.

I also join those who are puzzled by the apparent decision to sack all the foreign staff (the recent statement that they would be kept on “for the time being” must be of little comfort to the individuals involved, who will presumably be required to continue working while the sword of Damocles swings above their heads). I would have thought that the bare minimum requirement for an English-language news website was staff with native-speaker competence in English. Given that The Nation itself reported that most of its online traffic comes from overseas, it is a doubly curious decision. Perhaps part of the “failure” of The Nation has been its inability to understand and adapt to the requirements of this readership.

If The Nation does not make this transition properly, it will quickly become a laughing stock, and go out of business altogether. And that would be a great shame.

R Debacleur

Bangkok

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