Round Earth Media

Indonesia and Thailand

Journalism reaching broad audiences in the United States, Indonesia and Thailand.

Round Earth Media’s groundbreaking model paired Indonesian journalists and photojournalists with their American counterparts to produce under-reported stories, placing those stories in major media outlets in the US and in Indonesia.  

In Thailand, Round Earth paired students with early career Thai journalists, mentored by some of the most accomplished journalists and photojournalists covering the country. Their stories appeared in the United States and in Thailand. 

The Asia Reporting Project produced more than 50 stories for multimedia outlets in the US and in Asia. This work included a series of three stories for the New York Times.  Below, find interactive features that bring you all of our stories along with a behind the scenes look at Round Earth Media’s New York Times series.

This project was supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Our Stories

5-Star Bird Houses for Picky but Precious Guests: Nesting Swiftlets

By Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono
Photographs by Nyimas Laula

01/06/2024

Read The Story

It was terrific to visit part of Borneo and highlight a business that is little known to the world. Even though it seemed like many people were involved, the biggest challenge was finding farmers who would talk to us. So, when we finally met a farmer who happily and openly told us of his love of the birds, it felt like winning the lottery. And when he allowed us to look and take pictures inside his birdhouse, I knew we had hit the jackpot.”

- Journalist Muktita Suhartono

Left to their own devices, swiftlets usually make their nests in coastal caves, where harvesting them can be hazardous work. The key to attracting the birds to a man-made home, Mr. Zulkibli said, is treating them like ‘rich humans’ and guaranteeing their comfort and safety.”

Manhattan or Pulau Rhun? In 1667, Nutmeg Made the Choice a No-Brainer.

By Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono
Photographs by Nyimas Laula

01/06/2024

Read The Story

When I was assigned to the nutmeg story, I was excited because I had wanted to go back to the Banda Islands archipelago for a long time… With seven years between visits, I was trying to visually illustrate what has changed on the island and what has remained frozen in time, combined with a fresh new perspective from [Richard Paddock] and [Muktita Suhartono].”

- Photographer Nyimas Laula

While Rhun is little remembered today, some say the island’s role in world history is far larger than its size… In the words of the historian John Keay, Rhun is ‘the seed from which grew the most extensive empire the world has ever seen.’”

A President’s Son Is in Indonesia’s Election Picture. Is It Democracy or Dynasty?

By Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono
Photographs by Nyimas Laula

01/06/2024

Read The Story

Although nepotism and political dynasties are not new to Indonesia, they hadn’t reached the current level in decades. And as an Indonesian who was part of the student movement in 1998, it is saddening to see the events that we documented in our story about the president’s son and his rise to high office. I personally feel the situation is a one step forward, two steps back for Indonesia’s young democracy.”

- Journalist Muktita Suhartono

Before the ruling, Mr. Gibran dismissed rumors that he would run for vice president, saying he wasn’t qualified after serving less than three years as mayor. ‘I’m still very new,’ he said… ‘There’s still so much I must learn. From mayor to vice president is too big a leap.’”