Telum Talks To...Todd Ruiz, Regional Managing Editor, Coconuts Bangkok, Yangon and Singapore

Todd Ruiz shared how he and his team manage workflow and navigate through this unique time.

  • Although Coconuts is an online media, and they have been managing workflow via online channels, it was still a challenge and plenty of adjustments had to be made when there was a need to take operations fully online.

    “I’m kind of traditionalist when it comes to wanting to be in the newsroom with that energy and people for the give and take, for the ideas and the debates. It’s really irreplaceable”

    “It’s about communication and it’s about trying to preserve some of the same energy and creativity that you can get in person”
  • Lifestyle and travel topics have been covered less during COVID19, limited by the lockdown and social distancing policies. Coconuts has been covering a wider range of topics, including stories related to the pandemic.But these topics are more tailored to fit each region and its audiences.

    “There was some editorial debate on should we not write about COVID-19 because people are getting it from everywhere else and they are sick of it …So for us, it was more about trying to find ways to cover it that fit our style, fit our audiences in different cities…. ”
  • On how the media can remain telling positive stories during this grim time, Todd believes that it’s not the media’s job to balance the emotional triggers for the audiences but to serve readers everything that’s best.

    “I very much believe in stories about people, stories that are told from the bottom up rather than what ‘Permanent Minister of Whatever’ said today about something.”

    “With COVID we have looked for stories of people who make a difference, people who find innovative ways to help and have solutions, and people who’ve done things that try to relieve the suffering of others, whether it’s helping other small businesses to survive or street food vendors in Bangkok or migrant workers in Singapore sleeping in the rough.”
  • Coconuts has shifted to focus more on video content since COVID19 as people stay home more. They have broadcasted on Instagram live and doing online interview with less formal format. There are also new live programmes that they have just launched - I So Date and 30 Cuisines in 30 Days.
  • PRs have to be quicker and more creative than ever to respond to the situation and how to work around.

    “It’s going to take a lot of creativity…I would say, I think in the same vein that we are the newsroom…we are trying to serve our readers and anticipate some of those things and in practical ways connect the dots between their clients and the audiences as well.”

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Todd Ruiz


Coconuts Bangkok - CEASED DECEMBER 2023

Coconuts Singapore - CEASED DECEMBER 2023

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Coconuts Yangon - CEASED DECEMBER 2023

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