Romance, sex, nightlife and anything to do with visas were the topics you cared most about this past year, according to the numbers. We won’t judge you.
Rejoin us after the list to see those stories we hoped would get more attention. But first, here are the 13 most popular Khaosod English stories of 2017 by the acclaim of you, our discerning readers!
Who knew a write-up about an academic look at farangs, the women who love them and the men spurned by those women would draw so much interest and debate? That’s one of those rhetorical questions.
If there’s one common thread uniting residents of the capital city, it’s their affection for fun after dark. So when the rug was suddenly pulled out from under the free-wheeling scene and it became difficult to find a drink after midnight, readers responded to this explainer of what was going on.
From the Only in Bangkok file came what was essentially an environmental and resource issue that took a signature twist when it turned out a rapacious appetite for water at Bangkok’s sex joints was to blame.
Perhaps it was memories of the California Wow implosion several years ago or just the number of people affected that drove interest in this story of another major fitness chain going belly up. Or maybe it was the rhyming headline.
Thailand’s schizophrenic and ever-shifting immigration policies are often faulted as problematic and inconsistent by its foreign residents. Stories about visas therefore are heavy on “reader impact” and therefore reads.
There is no group out there as beautiful or erudite as Khaosod English readers. When we put out the call for you to share your moments of festival fun, you delivered – to our great delight. Thank you.
Such a popular topic – and draw for toxic comments.
“Bus plunge” stories are a trope of daily news perhaps nowhere more than in Thailand. But this entirely avoidable disaster pulled together threads of poor road safety, lack of accountability and sheer human tragedy right at the outset of the year.
Also on the topic of safety – or lack thereof – are the regular stories out of tourist deaths in the waters off Phuket and Pattaya. The bodies pile up, yet nothing seems to change.
Sheer delight. In a year the internet has faked news, poisoned democracies, spread hate and divided societies, along comes a reminder that we can easily be united by something joyful.
A little bit of the 2017 Trump Effect probably rubbed off on this story about a Thai-American overachiever suddenly confronted with politics becoming very personal – through no fault of his own.
We were particularly proud of our live coverage of the funeral rites in October for King Bhumibol. Along the way, one reporter’s account of a secret rite that changed how many saw what was happening was deemed worthy of a standalone report.
It’s rare for the stories that we as news nerds get most excited about to match those which win a mass audience. We were deeply gratified to see that happen with this beautifully crafted report tying together political realities old and new with a thread of the mysticism that is so captivating, both literally and figuratively.
Conversely, there are the features and enterprising stories we poured our hearts and time into, hoping they would set the world on fire. They may not get the most clicks and shares – but don’t worry, we’ll keep doing them.
This was a difficult story to tackle. As journalists committed to truth and justice, we often write about the pro-democracy community. But we’re also committed to following stories wherever they lead and holding people accountable without fear or favor. So when whispers spread that the activist community can be a hostile place for women, we spared no effort in investigating and deeply reporting accounts of sexual violence – and attempts to cover it up. A month after we reported this, the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke and powerful figures began to be held accountable worldwide as #MeToo came to define 2017.
Few are as vulnerable to Thailand’s shifting political winds as its most vulnerable citizens. The junta’s attempts to replace the populism of previous governments with its own brand of the same seemed well-intended but poorly conceived. We tried to unpack the issue with deep, explanatory and ongoing reporting culminating in this feature report that attempted to explain it all and examine the issues.
We like the internet. As much as we love print media, we’d rather be pushing online frontiers than proofing plates before they go out to the press. Our most ambitious multimedia reporting experience of the year went into distilling government policy into this highly clickable, interactive explainer of the issue.
Like many of you, we see stories of mendacity and injustice follow the same time-worn and predictable arcs, and wonder why larger questions aren’t asked. Then we ask them, and do our best to tell you what we found out. So when the national anti-corruption agency’s vows to thoroughly investigate powerful figures were dutifully reported by the media, we took a critical look at its track record in holding anyone accountable. What we found was an agency with a massive budget – and little to show for it.
Part of our editorial mission is to tell stories from the ground-up rather than the top-down by putting the humans affected above the outsized personalities. When it came time to cover the culmination of a year’s mourning.
Covering the funeral would not have been complete without acknowledging its surprise conclusion which left many mourners confused about what had happened.
A narrow range of “culturally acceptable” body types combined with stigmas against seeking psychological help make for a dangerous mix when it comes to women’s health. We were fortunate to find one brave young woman with a poignant story and fearlessness in sharing it.
The dominant political narrative of the year has been the junta’s pivot toward electoral politics with an eye on maintaining power. It’s been a transparent exercise, if unintentionally, despite the unconvincing denials.
Anything we missed? Anything you’d like to see more of in 2018? Contact us or leave a comment.