HOWTO Thai politics Thailand

Thai army declares martial law — how to follow the news

2014 05 20 bkk post coup rumors

Our main story today:

Thailand’s armed forces declared martial law early Tuesday, saying the move was intended to curb the country’s sometimes violent political conflict and wasn’t a coup d’état.

Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha issued a pair of statements at 3 a.m. and later appeared on television to say that martial law was necessary across the country to address the worsening security situation. The army later said it would censor media it deemed inflammatory. Thailand is bitterly divided between supporters of its populist government and its conservative opponents who have been massing on the streets for over half a year in a bid to topple the administration.

In the military’s first announcement, Gen. Prayuth said the escalating violence related to political protests in and around Bangkok have “a tendency to stir riot and serious chaos in several areas, which affect national security and people’s safety.”

Before Gen. Prayuth went on air, Army-run television station Channel 5 ran a ticker message across the bottom of its screen urging the public not to panic.

“The army aims to keep peace and maintain the safety and security of the people of all sides,” it said. “Please do not be alarmed and carry on with business as usual. This is not a coup.”

For ongoing updates, see our live stream of photos, text stories, and Tweets.

I also suggest checking out Bangkok Pundit, Saksith Saiyasombut, and — for academic and historical perspectives — New Mandala.

There’s also my 109-strong Twitter list of Bangkok journalists.

(Image above: The front page of The Bangkok Post on January 27, 2010.)

Bangkok HOWTO Thai politics Thailand

Bangkok protests: What happened today and how to follow the news

Anti-government protesters, whose rallies I’ve written about before, stepped up their demonstrations today. Above is AP video of scuffles that broke out with police.

Here’s a recap of what happened today:

Other stories:

Regarding economic implications, The WSJ quotes an analyst as saying:

“Investor sentiment on Thailand is in the doldrums at the moment,” said Barnabas Gan, an analyst covering the country for OCBC. “The current protests right now basically confirmed the pessimism that global investors have” over the country, he said.

There’s more from Bloomberg. And The NYT has some color from the Finance Ministry:

By late afternoon, protesters could be seen napping and snacking in two of the ministry’s conference rooms, but they had not yet penetrated the main offices. Riot police have been deployed in Bangkok for several weeks, but no police officers were visible in the compound.

Mr. Suthep said protesters had chosen to occupy the Finance Ministry because it is at the heart of the government.

“From now on, this government can no longer transfer money,” he said. “Not a single coin will be used by the Thaksin regime anymore.”

Monitoring the protest sites

Richard Barrow maintains a Google map of Bangkok protest areas:

View Protest Areas in Bangkok in November 2013 in a larger map

I also suggest following Richard on Twitter for updates.

My Twitter lists

Blogs to watch

Advice for US citizens

The US Embassy’s American Citizen Services Tweeted this tonight:

Follow me on Twitter

As always, follow me on Twitter for the latest.

HOWTO Journalism Tech

3 Digital Tools I Used to Write my Master’s Thesis

In April, after more than six months of work, I submitted the thesis I wrote for my master’s in business and economics journalism.

At more than 11,000 words and 41 pages long, it was the longest story I’d ever written.

I interviewed dozens of people, analyzed hundreds of pages of court documents, submitted and tracked multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, read several books on my topic, and composed perhaps twenty drafts of what became the final piece.

I’ll tell you more about the story itself in the weeks and months ahead, I’m sure. For now, though, I wanted to share the top three digital tools I used to organize my writing and research.

1. For writing: Scrivener

2013 04 24 scrivener

I’ve been using the Writing app Scrivener since 2007. It’s less a word processor than a tool for organizing all sorts of digital materials and creating an environment where you can more easily produce text.

I made ample use, for example, of the folders shown on the top left corner of the image above. These folders allowed me to organize various snippets of text; keep running lists of items to investigate; maintain outlines and timelines; and more. I could always keep my main draft open and navigate, with just a click, to another item — as opposed to having to open several Word files and toggle between them.

When conducting interviews, I also relied on Scrivener’s split screen function. I kept my questions in the top pane and typed my sources’ answers in the bottom pane as we chatted. Scrivener also has an excellent full screen mode, which is helpful when you simply want to focus on the text.

The Mac version of Scrivener is $45. For more information on the app, here’s a detailed review of the app’s many features. And here’s a post about using Scrivener for dissertation writing.

2. For organizing data: Excel

2013 07 27 excel mac

Excel? You better believe it. I used spreadsheets to keep track of:

  • Court materials — I listed dates of various documents, their titles, a description of contents, URLs if they were online, and even the files’ location on my hard drive.
  • Sources — I kept track of names, job titles, contact information, and more.
  • Timeline — My story spans several years, so I used a simple timeline to keep track of the chronology of events. This was helpful when it came time to construct my narrative.

Excel is part of Office for Mac. Microsoft’s home and student version is $139.99.

For more, see this overview of Excel for journalists.

3. For bookmarking: Pinboard

2013 07 28 pinboard

I bookmarked hundreds of items online while researching my story, and Pinboard was a huge help. The Web-based bookmarking site is a kind of “antisocial social bookmarking” service.

That is, Pinboard offers all the benefits of social bookmarking, like the ability to access your saved sites from any browser or computer. But unlike many such services, Pinboard allows you to keep your bookmarks private.

You can also assign your bookmarks tags, so they’re easily sorted by keyword, and use a browser bookmarklet to quickly save a site and apply a label like “read later.” So as I came across various news accounts, books, interviews, and other materials online, I simply added a bookmark in Pinboard and could later go back and filter the sites by keyword.

Pinboard is bare-bones, fast, and easy to use. It was approximately $9 when I signed up last year, I seem to recall, and now costs $10.16. This is a one-time fee that rises as more people join the site.

So those were my top three digital tools: Scrivener, Excel, and Pinboard.

What about you? Have some favorite apps for writing or data organization? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment below.

HOWTO Thai politics Thailand

Thailand elections: how to follow the news online

On Sunday, Thais will vote in a national election for the first time since 2007. Here are some resources for following the events online.


Local media

Thailand’s two most prominent English language newspapers will be providing coverage, naturally:

Thailand-focused blogs

Some good resources include:

Background info

Google News

  • And of course, a Google News search for “Thailand election” will return plenty of material.

Update: July 2, 2011 — corrected link to Asia Foundation’s primer.


How to transfer domains from GoDaddy to DreamHost

I wrote the following text a few months back, and in an effort to publish some long-neglected drafts, I decided I’d dust it off and share it.

My Web host is DreamHost, but a while back I registered several domain names at I’m happy with Dreamhost and figured I’d consolidate my domain names and hosting with one service.

While others have various complaints with GoDaddy, I simply found their Web site and user experience to be unwieldy. So here’s what I did. Note that some steps might be slightly different now, but I think the process is mostly the same:


  1. Log in to your account at using the fields at the top of the home page.
  2. Mouse over the Domains tab on the top left, and click Domain Management under My Account, on the right.
  3. Click on the domain name itself (not any of the icons to the right), which will bring you to the Domain Details page.
  4. If your domain name is locked, click the Manage link to unlock it. If you use private registration, turn this off.
  5. You will receive an email from Go Daddy several hours later called Item Cancellation Confirmation. You don’t need to wait for this email, though.
  6. Meanwhile, you will receive, in a few minutes, an email called Domain Status Change Notification. You don’t need to do anything. Just review it to make sure it says your domain name has been unlocked.
  7. Go back to the Domain Details page, and to the right of Authorization Code, click Send by Email.
  8. In a few minutes, you will receive an email called “DOMAINNAME>>Information you requested.” In the email, copy the authorization info.

To Dreamhost

  1. In a new tab or window, log in to the DreamHost control panel via the home page, and click Reg. Transfer, under the Manage Domains heading on the left side. You will be charged $9.95 for each domain you want DreamHost to manage, but that includes a one-year renewal.
  2. In the box labeled “Transfer domain registration(s) to us,” enter your GoDaddy domain name and click request transfer. This will take you to a new page that will ask for your transfer authorization code.
  3. Go back to GoDaddy’s domain manager. Move your cursor over the Domains tab in the upper left corner and click Pending Transfers. Click the box next to your domain name and click Accept/Decline above. Click OK twice.
  4. In 15 or 20 minutes, you’ll receive an email from DreamHost with the subject line Domain Registration Transfer COMPLETED for DOMAIN NAME. The email will contain a link to your domain name. You can visit the site now, but it may take a few minutes to bring up the DreamHost parked page.
  5. You should now see the domain name listed in your DreamHost panel. You can now add hosting, if you want.
  6. You will receive an email from Go Daddy with your domain name in the subject line telling you that the transfer is complete. You will receive a second email with “Your Recent Domain Name Transfer” in the subject line saying “sorry to see you go.” You don’t need to do anything.