Singapore Press Holdings wins big at Asian Media Awards

SINGAPORE – The Straits Times was recognised for its impactful editorial content, as well as its infographics and photos, at the Asian Media Awards (AMA).

In the 19th edition of the AMA, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) emerged the biggest winner, clinching a total of eight awards across four categories.

SPH flagship paper The Straits Times took home three bronze and two silver awards.

ST regional correspondent Leslie Lopez was awarded silver in the Best in Editorial Content category for his story “Jho Low reaches settlement with US authorities over 1MDB probe”.

Winning bronze in the same category was ST commentary “The puzzling case of SMC’s judgment on a doctor who was fined $100,000”.

Penned by ST senior health correspondent Salma Khalik, the story made waves for its critical take on whether the Singapore Medical Council’s judgment in the case of Dr Lim Lian Arn had been too heavy-handed.

Reflecting on her story, which was published in February last year, Ms Khalik said that it was part of a long saga that started when the council published its disciplinary decision for Dr Lim’s case.

He had failed to inform his patient of all the possible side effects of an injection that he had given her.

“What I did was merely highlight the various contradictory, and sometimes even ridiculous, actions and statements by the different groups,” Ms Khalik, 65, said.

She was glad, she said, that her story, which also won Story of the Year at SPH’s annual awards, “contributed to helping right a wrong”.

ST also impressed judges with its infographic “The Marvel Cinematic Universe: The story so far…”, which won silver in the Best in Infographics category.

Put together by a team of four artists and infographic journalists led by visual and infographics deputy editor Simon Ang, the graphic was the brainchild of infographic journalist Billy Ker, 32, who is known to his colleagues as the in-house Marvel cinematic universe expert.

The team, which also includes Ms Lee Yu Hui, 26, and Mr Bryandt Lyn, 32, had to distil 22 Marvel movies into defining frames before deciding which scenes they wanted to illustrate for the graphic.

The graphics also had to be colour-coordinated and form a coherent and compelling narrative.

Executive photojournalist Mark Cheong won bronze in the Best in Photojournalism category for a shot he captured of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating a goal that he had scored in a match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur.

Mr Cheong, 32, managed to pull off the difficult task of capturing the football star at the highest point of his jump.

ST was also given a bronze award for the overall design of the newspaper.

The annual competition is organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) and saw 255 entries from 46 media companies drawn from 13 countries.

This year’s awards were announced online, marking a first for the AMA, which traditionally honours winners at Wan-Ifra’s Publish Asia gala dinner.

Winners had already been notified in February, but the participating news agencies were officially informed via e-mail only on Tuesday (June 30).

The winners were chosen by a panel of 20 judges hailing from eight countries.

“All of us in the ST newsroom are heartened by these awards, not least since we are up against our peers internationally,” said Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of SPH’s English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times.

He added that staying focused on producing good original content is essential even as SPH moves into new modes of engaging audiences.

One silver and two bronze awards were also bagged by the Chinese Media Group’s photojournalists.

Photojournalist Benjamin Lim Zerui was awarded silver in the Best in Photojournalism category for Project Aurora.

During a recreational trip to Norway in April 2019, Mr Lim saw light flares in the sky and captured the moment with his camera. The photo was published in a picture spread in Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao in October that year.

Ms Lee Huay Leng, head of Chinese Media Group, said: “Our news photographers have consistently delivered good works and have garnered numerous accolades in the past. These awards have proven once again that they have succeeded in using photography as an effective storytelling device to engage our readers.”

Other news agencies on the awards list include the South China Morning Post, Nikkei Inc, Living Media India and the Star Media Group.

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