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The Phnom Penh Post’s evolution in the digital age

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The Phnom Penh Post's CEO Alex Odom.

The Phnom Penh Post’s evolution in the digital age

With the industry changing in big ways, The Post is making some changes of its own. Post Media CEO Alex Odom explains the paper’s place in a digital world and why – even with more readers turning to non-traditional outlets for news – high quality journalism is more important than ever.

From The Phnom Penh Post’s underdog beginnings as a fortnightly labour of love in 1992, to its transition to a daily paper in 2008, to the launch of its dedicated Khmer edition a year later, Cambodia’s newspaper of record has worked hard to keep up with the demands of an ever-growing, ever-changing readership.

Now, in an age of digitisation that has seen news consumption shift to the web – and, increasingly, smartphones – The Post in recent years has worked just as hard to expand its digital formats and evolve into a well-rounded multimedia entity without forgetting the commitment to high journalistic standards that made us a trusted name in the first place.

As a reliable source of news and information about the Kingdom – from its politics to its investment climate – The Post is now reaching more readers across more mediums than ever before.

After being promoted to the chief executive officer of Post Media in early 2016, I have made it my mission to improve the standing of both our English and Khmer publications, building on the success of the print editions to bolster an online presence and active social media following that are some of the largest in the country.

With more than 5.5 million Facebook followers between The Post and Post Khmer – which has the third most-liked Facebook page in the entire Kingdom – Post Media has grown to a be a market leader in the country’s social media landscape.

In an effort to adapt to this landscape, Post Media is increasingly working to bring stories to life through video content. In the first six months of 2017 alone, Post Media’s videos reached more than two million viewers, with live-streamed coverage of the recent commune elections bringing in nearly one million more.

We’ve also sought to dabble in the lighter side of video with the introduction of Post Rap News in Khmer. This fresh, edgy and creative format has proved a tremendous success. Traffic shows that the new program draws in up to 75,000 viewers every week.

Statistics show that the number of people who have access to the internet in ASEAN countries increases by six percent annually, and eight percent annually in Cambodia alone. In addition, about six million of Cambodia’s estimated population of 15 million own at least one smartphone.

This gives citizens access to news and information anywhere and anytime, making the importance of independent reporting shared across social media platforms all the more important.

That quality of reporting has earned The Post dozens of international awards over the course of its 25 years. Just last month, Post Media took first place at the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards for “Excellence in Reporting on Women’s Issues” for its series on the Kingdom’s commercial surrogacy industry. The paper was also given an honourable mention for its breaking news reporting on the assassination of Kem Ley, the revered and outspoken analyst and critic.

Even in a changing media environment that often favours clicks over depth, it’s stories like these that form the backbone of The Post’s mission. With that in mind, even as the format of our offerings continues to evolve, our stance as a paper is the same as it was in 1992: we are committed to delivering intelligent, in-depth, and independent coverage of Cambodian affairs to our readers, whether they find our stories on the printed page, their desktop computers or on the screens they carry in their pocket.

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