The Society of Publishers in Asia salutes journalistic triumphs and challenges at 2010 Awards for Editorial Excellence

Reflects on reporting conducted under harsh and threatening circumstances

Hong Kong, June 9, 2010 – The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA), an organization dedicated to best practices in professional publishing, presented 85 awards for outstanding journalism at its annual SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence gala dinner at the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong last night. Special guest speaker Ms. Marites Danguilan Vitug, editor-in-chief of Newsbreak Magazine in the Philippines gave first hand experiences in reporting under difficult circumstances to an audience of nearly 300 senior media executives, editors, journalists and industry affiliates from all over Asia.

Ms. Vitug’s stirring words provided strong support to the goals and aspirations behind the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence that were established in 1999 and dedicated to encouraging editorial vitality, raising journalistic standards and supporting free speech throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

This year the awards saw a record 564 entries vying in 17 categories among English and Chinese regional, local print or digital publications and wire services.

“Much of the reporting was conducted under harsh and threatening circumstances,” noted Mr. Peter Stein, Chairman of the SOPA Editorial Awards Subcommittee. In some cases, journalists were attacked or injured during their reporting assignments. “Their tenacity and courage set worthy examples for the rest of the industry,” Mr. Stein said.

The awards this year included a new category “Excellence in Multimedia News Presentation” which seeks to recognize excellent digital journalistic work, an area that is growing rapidly as more content moves to the web and other portable devices. Multi-angle, multi-dimensional story telling and innovative, interactive presentation further engage the audience.

Mr. Terence Tung, SOPA Chairman said: “The SOPA Awards have become more established and well recognized in the last 12 years. Certain award-winning pieces demonstrate exceptional team reporting qualities. By the same token, through collaboration our industry has been able to weather the challenging market conditions over the past two years. SOPA aims to align the interests of publishers and foster industry development in the region. It is imperative to stress the creative vision that only professional publishing can provide.”

The entries were assessed by 109 high caliber judges worldwide under the stewardship of Head Judge Professor Rusty Todd, the University of Hong Kong’s Director of Business Journalism, who ensured that the judging process has been conducted with the highest standards of journalistic integrity. The judges comprised journalists, designers and photo editors from leading publications, as well as notable academics from the media departments of prestigious universities.

The SOPA Awards are sponsored by Invest Hong Kong (Main Sponsor) and the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong (Silver Sponsor) and also supported by a number of international media organizations including the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), WAN-IFRA and World Editors Forum.

At the gala dinner, a cheque for HK$30,000 was presented to the Hong Kong Red Cross on behalf of SOPA.

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