Expats in Thailand mourn the passing of The Nation newspaper

Published:  17 May at 6 PM
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Thailand’s daily English language newspaper The Nation is closing after 48 years.

Expatriates in Bangkok are sad to hear their daily dose of local and world news in its traditional format is about to disappear, but may well realise it’s an inevitable part of the rise of the internet and social media as the planet’s sole news source. Apparently, the closure wasn’t unexpected and is a decision all traditional media outlets will face sooner rather than later, as costs grow, advertising revenue shrinks and the demographics of readers changes.

In The Nation’s case, the closure wasn’t just the result of an increase in online news outlets, as it reflects the changing face of the expat community in Thailand. Numbers of non-English-speaking expats are growing at the same time as English-speaking expat numbers are in decline, with the same transition taking place in tourist arrivals and the expat property market. As a result of visa changes and other indications making expats feel unwelcome, long-term British expats are leaving for other destinations.

At the same time, the shrinking of sterling’s value due to Brexit combined with the possible manipulation of the baht are making life tricky for many Brit retirees on fixed incomes, with uprooting and finding another more welcoming beachside or big city home from home the only option for many. Also, the average age of expatriates in Thailand is falling, with younger people more likely to get their news online than in the traditional manner.

Advertising revenues, formerly a stable income for most newspapers, are shrinking fast as costs are far more expensive than those of online competitors as well as being non-measurable as regards effectivity. Finally, the introduction of the smartphone is sounding the final death blow for traditional newspapers, as it delivers instantaneous news-as-it-happens as well as hundreds of media choices. Even so, for expats who refuse to become addicted to online news, the demise of The Nation on June 28 will be a sad day.
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