Niki Chatikavanij from Bitesize BKK talks a couple of wholesome information weight loss plan

While the Bangkoks are going through another round of lockdowns, they have adapted theirs Houses act as offices, gyms, art studios, and more. In our Lockdown lowdown let’s talk to professionals from different walks of life to discuss how to advance their careers, what to do to stay healthy in the new normal, and tips for a better life at home.

The vaccination rollout is slowly continuing and people are eager to resume normal lives. Since things are not going as expected, we turn on the news daily to keep up with the latest updates. But instead of keeping us updated, the news seems to stress us out even more. We are bombarded by a barrage of headlines about conflicting reports of company reopenings and the vaccination program that can certainly affect our mental health.

But thanks to a novel short message platform like Bitesize BKK, people can get the latest breaking news in a concise and powerful way through Instagram. Since each post has a short headline followed by a summarized report from multiple sources, you’ll know enough without overwhelming yourself.

It’s all thanks to founder Niki Chatikavanij who wakes up every day to filter the day’s important events so you don’t have to. We chat with her about how she manages to stay on top of things and she shares tips for healthy news consumption during these stressful times.

Bitesize BKK founder Niki Chatikavanij

What did you read at home

I usually switch between fiction and non-fiction to learn something new, so I often read two or three books at the same time (probably because I get bored easily too!). Fiction called “Post Corona” about how the pandemic turned tech giants into even bigger titans.

I also finished reading Billion Dollar Loser about the rise and fall of WeWork. It’s an accessible synopsis about Adam Neumann and everything crazy that went down.

I also spend a ridiculously long time reading Twitter threads and blog posts to learn how businesses and sharp minds work. It’s always good to learn from people who are way smarter than you, what I often find is a lot of people!

Did you start new activities during the lockdown?

Aside from browsing food delivery apps, I kept pace with my workouts during the lockdown while the gyms are closed. Since I spend more time at home, I try to exercise every morning because it keeps you active and fresh. I usually spend some time on the bike and then try to do weight training.

I have come to appreciate the slower life and also started assembling Legos to end some evenings. I just bought the newest Friends set!

Bitesize BKK on a digital billboard at an airport

How do you keep up with the ever changing breaking news cycles?

Since this is part of my daily work, I just have to do it. I usually start by looking for breaking news on Twitter, then I go to my go-to news sites; Bangkok Post, Bloomberg, CNBC and check out the daily news summaries that I subscribe to via email.

Because Bitesize BKK prepares the messages in a digestible and comprehensible way. We never want to be a “news breaker”. Instead, I would spend time reading a few sources and choosing what are the key takeaways for each story.

I think a lot of people these days just focus on the breaking news headlines but don’t dive deeper which means things get lost in translation.

My approach is to only consume from the media that you trust and maybe not try to consume everything at once. You are going crazy!

Why are people drawn to platforms like Bitesize for COVID-related news (or breaking news in general)?

I hope people will be attracted to Bitesize! Personally, I think it’s because people don’t have the luxury or attention span to spend time on different news platforms reading long articles. I always try to pick different stories from business, technology, and current events so that my followers get a little bit of everything every day.

I’ve always said that Bitesize BKK can keep you posted enough to hold your own at a dinner party or get informed during a meeting. We never pretend to be more than we are, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take my job seriously!

Bitesize also tries to make the news more accessible and fun with our bright graphics, headlines with a bit of humor, and interactive stories. I think that could be the key differentiator.

An example of one of the summarized news items from Bitesize BKK

Has the pandemic changed your media consumption?

Quite a lot. I have the feeling that with the pandemic you have to be “on” most of the time. People are really looking for the daily Covid-19 case report! In general, the pandemic has taught me to be more analytical and accurate about news consumption and reporting in general. A lot of misinformation is being spread during the pandemic and you really need to make sure that what you are reporting is really helpful, accurate, and verified.

Many people developed an unhealthy message consuming habit during the pandemic, which is understandable. But it’s all about balance. As a news agency, you have to be responsible for what you post and try to be helpful.

People often want to be the “news breaker” during these times, but it’s best to be a little late but have the right facts. There are enough sensations just for the sake of it.

What are some of your favorite ways to reduce stress?

Exercise for sure. Spending an hour training each day will help set the tone for the rest of the day and keep your mind and body very alert. Always Netflix or HBOGo in the evening – I now need something new to watch!

That being said, I like to spend Sundays exploring new take-out cafes. I feel like there’s a weekend likeness during lockdown!

What tips do you have for healthy news consumption?

Follow Bitesize BKK! Other than that, if headlines are stressing you out, try not to read news on social media platforms. Just stick to a quick scan of a few websites once in the morning and once in the evening to keep up to date. I would also recommend signing up for some email newsletters like Bloomberg’s “Five Things to Start Your Day” and that’s all you need to know.

I think news consumption is important because everything is interconnected – from stock market performance to cryptocurrency to Facebook’s latest policy change. However, during the pandemic, it’s easy to get carried away and fixate on unimportant details.

For example, don’t just read about the rare side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, read about the millions of people who have been vaccinated who are doing well. I think it’s all a matter of perspective. Consume enough to be informed but not too much to update the daily case numbers!

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