Congratulations to the Phnom Penh Post for launching its first daily edition on Friday.
In this era of newspaper downsizing, it is great to see The Phnom Penh Post expanding from two times per month into a daily operation.
Disclosure: I joined in the round of investment that has helped the newspaper go daily.
Cambodia is country very much in need of a vibrant free press and I look forward to reading what the Phnom Penh Post team can accomplish.
I have not yet seen a physical copy of the daily paper, but here’s some reviews from bloggers who have:
Surprisingly, its price is now down to KHR 2,500 per copy from previously KHR 4,000, despite being 100% color. Readers can also access the PDF version of the paper from its website, simply by signing a free membership. I hope the paper will keep this free service available always. That’ll be a really awesome way for me to catch up with news at home!
Kudos to the Post team for the innovation!
First, congratulations to Michael Hayes and the new owners–we finally have a REAL English language newspaper here in Cambodia, something that looks, feels, and reads like an honest to goodness, daily newspaper. That is a good thing.
On the positive side, I have no problems with the editorial. Good, solid content. 24 pages, color photography. Plenty of national news, with a nice mix of regional/international/wire service stuff. Also good to see travel, lifestyle, and sports sections. Business stuff is also good.
Along with the TV listings, cross word puzzle, sodoku (always a fave of mine), I particularly like the flight listings. That’s good not only for the tourists, but also very handy for us expats who do a lot of traveling in the region.
The negatives: Production quality needs to improve (but I think they know that already). Off color, sometimes blurry photos and ads. That will take time to fix, especially with the press machines they’ve brought in, but those are relatively minor issues. There were also some weird layout decisions, especially that large, awkwardly positioned headline on the bottom of page 1. But that’s another minor point.
Secondly, what about Siem Reap news? They made all this fuss about opening a Siem Reap bureau, but I saw a grand total of ONE story from Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat. There’s a lot of stuff happening in Siem Reap right now on many levels—-business/tourism development issues, social/political issues, and environmental issues. It’s all ripe fruit, ready to be picked. Where is it? More Siem Reap news please.
Finally, why is the bi-weekly Theary Seng exercise in narcissism in the business section? Come to think of it, why should it even be in the paper at all? Her column has been going downhill for months, to the point where her psychodramatic ramblings are verging on camp. I say this sadly, since there is much that T.S. does in her work with the Center for Social Development that I admire.
I read the insert section, which contained a message from the new owners of the Post. This part from the owner’s message was interesting:
Face it, few other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have open elections and a free press, a healthy-looking business climate, and a firmly founded and budding civil society.
If doubtful, check out the current social and political volatility in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, investigate the elections—or absence thereof—in Brunei, Laos, and Myanmar, and glance at the circumscribed press in that trio of nations and in Singapore and Vietnam.
Interesting that they diss Myanmar in that last paragraph, especially since the new owners are involved in running the Myanmar Times and have been careful not to piss off the government there.
I wonder if anyone in the Burmese embassy in Phnom Penh read that piece, and sent it over to the junta boys in Myanmar for their perusal. Hmm.
So what about Bernie’s Bulletin—uh, I mean–the Cambodia Daily?
What is publisher Bernie Krisher going to do next? What will be his answer? The Post has raised the bar. Compared to the Post, the Cambodia Daily with its archiac A4 paper format, boring layout, and black and white photography, looks like a high school newspaper, club newsletter, or church bulletin.
The Daily also has ZERO web presence–thanks to grumpy old Bernie’s Luddite-like inclinations. and the PP Post is already building a solid news site that will be updated daily. That is also not good for the Bulletin—sorry, I mean—the Daily.
Bernie better have a good answer. Otherwise, once the Post starts ironing out the production glitches, and continues to improve its content, look for advertisers to start deserting Bernie’s Bulletin in droves.
And the other English daily in Cambodia? That be the Mekong Times.
That thing is on fumes, and is barely worth mentioning. Look for it to fold or be sold any day now.
Looking forward to reading issue #2 of the new Post, which comes out Monday. They will publish Monday thru Friday.