SOPA announces winners for 2009 Awards for Editorial Excellence

Hong Kong, 12 June 2009 – At a special gala dinner presentation at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) honoured 89 outstanding journalists in the annual SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence. Special guest Mr. Jimmy Lai, Chairman of Next Media Ltd. was interviewed live in front of nearly 300 senior media executives, editors, journalists and industry peers from across the Asia Pacific region.

The SOPA Awards were established in 1999 to honour high standards of journalism and the best work in Asia and this year saw a staggering 547 entries vying in 17 categories. This year also saw the introduction of a new category in digital journalism.

Entries were assessed by eighty-four high calibre judges under the leadership of Professor Rusty Todd, the Head of Judges, who ensured that the judging process was conducted with the highest integrity. Professor Todd is Director of Business Journalism at the University of Hong Kong.

“I was extremely impressed with the breadth and depth of work in many of the entries. There were some real gems,” said Mr. Kevin Brown, Chairman of the Editorial Awards Sub-committee. “The entries in certain categories broke new ground in terms of coverage particularly those involving scoops and human rights. In the latter, reporters often faced considerable risks and hardships and it was only through dogged determination to get to the bottom of subject that a story emerged. Congratulations must be given to all.”

SOPA Chairman Terence Tung said that the standards delivered by the winners are typical of the work that SOPA seeks to endorse. “There was some brilliant reporting and very enterprising coverage often delivered in very demanding and difficult conditions,” he said.

“I was particularly moved by some of the stories in the investigative reporting category with the winning stories being highly influential and meaningful, with an appeal to a global audience. I raise my hat to them all,” said Tung.

All the judges were from across the journalism spectrum including journalists, designers and photo editors from many of the region’s leading newspapers and magazines, together with notable academics from the media departments of prestigious universities.

The awards were divided into three groups: A, B and C.

  • Group A – English-language newspapers that circulate widely in three or more countries, English-language magazines with a circulation greater than 50,000 and English-language wire services.
  • Group B – English-language newspapers that circulate primarily in one or two countries and English-language magazines with a circulation under 50,000.
  • Group C – Chinese-language publications, including Chinese-language websites and wire services.

The SOPA Awards were sponsored by Invest Hong Kong (Main Sponsor), Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (Gold Sponsor) and Swiss Post International Management AG (Silver Sponsor). During the gala dinner, a cheque for HK$30,000 was presented to The Society for the Relief of Disabled Children on behalf of SOPA.

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