SINGAPORE: Coconuts, an alternative news site that operated in eight locations across Asia at one point, will be ceasing operations by the end of this year. The founder and CEO of the media site, Mr Byron Perry, announced this on Tuesday, Dec 19.
“It is with a mixture of pride, nostalgia, and sadness that we announce that Coconuts will cease publishing on December 31, 2023,” he wrote.
Mr Perry cited financial troubles as the reason for ceasing operations, writing, “These editorial and audience achievements have not converted into commercial success for the publication. Like many other independent news publishers, we have found financial sustainability to be incredibly elusive despite our best efforts.”
While there will no longer be new stories on the coconuts.co site, its archives will remain online for readers to access, giving Coconuts the opportunity to “live on”, as the company’s founder and CEO said.
He added that as the business, Coconuts Media will continue with BK Magazine, a print and online lifestyle magazine the company acquired in 2021, media site Soimilk, and the Grove brand studio “going strong.”
Mr Perry also thanked the site’s readers as well as the staff, adding that he remains hopeful to re-launch the site and publish new content again. He ended by writing, “But for now, we must say goodbye, so long, and farewell.”
The US journalist started Coconuts Media in 2011. Previously, he worked for Variety magazine in Hollywood and The Phnom Penh Post, an English newspaper in Cambodia.
He is believed to have taken inspiration from US sites such as Gawker, Buzzfeed and Vice and founded Coconuts from his flat in Bangkok. In the first few months after launching, he was the primary writer for the published content.
The founder and CEO has since returned to the US, and Mr Vim Shanmugam is now the general manager and chief marketing officer for Coconuts Media.
In 2015, Coconuts Media received an Honorable Mention from the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) for its Awards for Excellence for a piece about Bangkok’s street children titled “Hidden in Plain Sight.”
In the following year, Ms Laurel Chor, Coconuts Hong Kong Managing Editor, was given a SOPA Award for Excellence in Feature Photography for a feature about a woman in Hong Kong who suffers from the rare skin disease harlequin ichthyosis.
At its height, the media site covered local news in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Yangon, reaching millions across South East Asia. Coconuts also won a number of journalism awards.