Understand Asia

Asia Undercovered was launched by Nithin Coca in 2018 with a simple goal – highlight the Asian trends, people and stories that were not getting enough global attention. The impetus was the election of Donald Trump in 2016, which shrank the already small space for Asia coverage in most English-language media, a situation that has only gotten worse.

Where others zig, we zag. We avoided stories about Trump, Covid-19 (unless it has a specific local context), and in general the few topics that get widespread attention in the English language media, such as the Hong Kong protests or the US-China trade war.

Instead, Asia Undercovered shares quality features and investigations in local outlets, focusing on regions that are ignored by foreign media, along with original media analysis, breaking news backgrounders, critiques, and special issues focusing on specific topics. Everyone gets the free, biweekly undercovered news roundup, with additional weekly content for subscribers.

Become a Subscriber

Subscribing to Asia Undercovered means you value quality local journalism, understand the importance of knowing what’s happening in Asia, and believe in our mission.

For $9 a month, or $90 yearly, subscribers get, in addition to the free bi-weekly undercovered news round up, access to additional content, including

  • Breaking News Backgrounders – When news breaks in Asia, we’ll gather links to stories and research that give background and context to what’s happening.

  • Media Analysis – think Columbia Journalism Review, but focused on how western media outlets cover (or miscover) Asia.

  • Subscriber-only Community Conversations – Including, in the future, live Q&As and virtual events.

For two years, Asia Undercovered was free, a passion project. The founder, Coca, wrote the newsletters during his spare time, and paid out of his pocket for special editions. That was clearly unsustainable. This way, the newsletter can expand and grow. The more people who subscribe, the more opportunity we will have to commission stories from local journalists in Asia.

Too expensive? We offer discount and free subscriptions for students, readers from low-income communities, or those you donated in the past – please email me for a code. I also offer monthly trials upon request – contact us here to get one.

Gift Subscriptions You can also give Asia Undercovered as a gift.

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Testimonials

"Great – and welcome – initiative by Nithin highlighting what’s happening in #Asia that is often diluted by noise from elsewhere."

— Rajnesh Singh, Internet Society

This little gem of journalism covers all of Asia and gives insights into the countries' politics, culture, current events and much more. I found Asia Undercovered by chance and haven't found anything as good as Asia Uncovered for stories on Asia. It has greatly increased my appreciation and understanding of Asia.”

— Eileen, subscriber since 2018.

Nithin Coca, [has a] newsletter promising no-Trump stories, and will instead try to remind everyone that there are just as important issues in our own backyard. I love this guy. Please subscribe.”

— Alan Soon, Splice Media

A weekly newsletter covering topics the author feels to not get enough coverage in the mainstream press. Covers all of Asia, not just Southeast Asia. A good one for quirky and interesting stories.

— Stuart McDonald, TravelFish

Who’s behind Asia Undercovered?

Editor: Nithin Coca

Coca is an Asia-focused freelance journalist who focuses on stories about interconnections across borders. He’s been based in the region, on and off, since 2013, and has traveled to and covered stories in nearly every Asian country, for outlets including Financial Times Chinese, The Nation, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, The Diplomat, and Coda Story. His pieces have also been translated and republished in Japanese, Chinese, German, Indonesian, French, Spanish, and Dutch.

Learn more about Coca’s work, and read his articles here.

Media Appearances

Guest on weekly live episode of Shingetsu News Speakeasy (Japan) on Chinese and Japanese rail infrastructure projects in Indonesia.

Interviewed for a segment on Southeast Asian Censorship for KJZZ’s The Show (Phoenix, Arizona NRP outlet), on my feature for The Diplomat. How Universal Is Internet Censorship In Southeast Asia?

Quoted in The News Lens (Taiwan) for FEATURE: Clock Ticks as Indonesian Execution Spree Looms. “I think [international lobbying] had a reverse impact, domestically at least.” Amid criticism, “especially from Australia,” Indonesians “became more nationalistic and more pro-death penalty than they would have had there been no international outcry.”

Contributors: Daniela K. Münzel

Münzel is a currently London-based communications specialist who has worked in the development and UK-charity sector, with a focus on advocacy, digital campaigns and community engagement in public health, mental health and child rights. With a Japanese heritage and having spent several years in Asia for work, Münzel initially got involved two years ago while based in Thailand, assisting Coca’s journalism work and in the early development of Asia Undercovered, with a desire to better understand Asia and to play a role in bringing important stories from the continent to the forefront.

Münzel has been the primary author of several special issues, including.

FAQs

Can I donate more, or pay a lump sum?

Certainly! We understand that a monthly or yearly plan doesn’t work for everyone. If your donation exceeds the annual/monthly rate, we’ll automatically add you the paid list.

Donate via KoFi/Stripe

Donate via Paypal

Can you include my story (or something I read) in the newsletter?

We’re always looking to feature original reporting on undercovered issues, particularly from less-covered regions of Asia and especially from local journalists. You can contact us here.

Do you publish original content?

That’s the plan! This will depend on how many people sign up for paid subscriptions. You can pitch us an article idea here – but first, be sure to read back-issues of the newsletter, especially the special editions.

Are you on social media?

You can follow Coca on Twitter here, where we regularly share Asia Undercovered highlights, or connect with him on LinkedIn. He’s not on Facebook or Instagram (here’s why).

Do you share your own articles stories in Asia Undercovered?

Almost never – in two years, I (Nithin) mentioned an article of mine just once. Asia Undercovered isn’t a platform for self-promotion – it’s a platform to highlight and bring attention to the great work of other mostly local journalists in Asia.

That being said, I (Nithin) do have a personal list in which I send updates about my own projects, articles, and more. You can sign up for that here.