Media Magazine

In Thailand: Covering a Historic Election

Posted on the 05 July 2011 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

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Front page announcing the winner: the first female prime minister for Thailand and for Southeast Asia

TAKEAWAY: Covering the national election in Thailand, we show you some pages from The Nation.  It was a historic first for Thailand and for Southeast Asia: the election of the first woman prime minister PLUS: Today pop ups

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Front page was split in half, to offer fair coverage to both rival parties just before the election.

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Second day after election front page

Leroy Sylk, design director of The Nation,of Thailand, sends us this material, showing how he and his team covered the recent national elections.

Here is how Leroy explains their strategy:

For our Saturday edition—a day before the crucial election—we went in for a rather strange display! As you will see, we split the cover in half and featured the two biggest rivals. This is to be totally fair to both major political parties, giving both equal coverage. So to the reader, if he or she looks at at the top half of the folded newspaper, he/she sees one of the parties; when the bottom of paper is flipped, the reader sees the other party, all with masthead and all. So whichever way you look at it, one or the other can be the lead

To announce the results, Leroy opted for the poster style front page:

Our front page doesn’t feature any story, just quick info and a large image. We decided to go big on top with the number of seats won by the two biggest parties as everyone had their eyes on this. We followed this up with a two-word headline, being a bit playful with winner Yingluck’s name. Under that we run 2 quotes—of the winner and the outgoing PM. Just below this is a one line subhead which gives the most important development following Yingluck’s win, and then we went for a massive photo. As you’ll see, below the photo is a box of which parties and how many of their MPs may band together to form a coalition government—because that’s what everyone is watching—while the other box at the bottom is not just an “inside” box, but doubles up as an info box, telling the reader in a nutshell what else is happening, including analyses and a comment.

Reaction to coverage>

Really positive. Our A1s were posted on Facebook and Twitter and received a lot of compliments not only for design but of course also for content. We created a special election page on Facebook and a special account for Twitter, both of which received thousands of fans and followers thirsting for news updates in the run-up to the election; thankfully, the interest still continues… 

The 2011 Thailand elections at a glance

When were the elections?
  They were held on July 3 Sunday and called historic simply because it ushers in Thailand’s—and Southeast Asia’s—first woman prime minister.

The winner?
  Yingluck Shinawatra, whose brother, Thaksin, was PM when he was ousted in a coup a couple of years back; he now lives in exile in Dubai. His sister Yingluck is now forming a coalition government (that’s why the headline on front page reads: It’s Yingluck-y).

TheMarioBlog post #800


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