ST, SPH pick up awards for innovation

ST business editor Lee Su Shyan and Mr Jerry Siah, head of operations in SPH's marketing division, at the Inma Global Media Awards ceremony held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday night.
ST business editor Lee Su Shyan and Mr Jerry Siah, head of operations in SPH's marketing division, at the Inma Global Media Awards ceremony held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday night.PHOTO: INMA

The Straits Times' Innovation Lab has won an international award for being the "best new concept to incubate products".

Parent company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) also picked up an award for its innovative interactive advertising and another for its mobile apps at an awards ceremony held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday night.

The competition was organised by the International News Media Association (Inma), a leading organisation dedicated to surfacing the best ideas in media.

The lab, an initiative of ST's Digital team to ensure the newspaper keeps abreast of technological innovation and digital trends, takes an "entrepreneur" approach to developing new forms of storytelling and reaching new readers.

The space, located within the ST newsroom, is where journalists and technology people can mingle, exchange ideas and conduct simple experiments.

Said ST editor Warren Fernandez: "The Straits Times has been on a journey to transform itself into a fully multimedia newsroom these past years.

"This has meant constantly trying new ideas and testing out new concepts for our products to meet our readers' information needs. The Innovation Lab was conceived in that spirit and we are glad that it has been recognised with this award."

ST digital editor Eugene Leow added: "Winning a prestigious international award that recognises our effort to be innovative and creative is testament to our journalists, who are constantly thinking about new forms of storytelling."

The paper also won first place for "best execution of print advertising" for its interactive e-paper.

An exact digital replica of the newspaper was developed to add interaction and animation to the advertisements. It allows readers to contact advertisers via one-touch call, messaging, e-mail, or directly through their websites.

This innovative feature was launched as the ST Classified app in July last year. Its interactive features are now patented and were the brainchild of Mr Jerry Siah, head of operations in the marketing division, and project manager in the IT department Wong Zung En.

AsiaOne, Asia's leading news and information website, was placed third in the category of "best use of mobile" for its mobile apps for the iOS and Android platforms.

New features include more varied content from a much wider range of partners, such as BBC, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and Vulcan Post. The apps were also refreshed with a sleeker, cleaner and more modern design.

SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said: "These awards demonstrate our desire and ability to constantly innovate and engage all our stakeholders in the face of challenges in today's media industry.

"As Asia's leading media organisation, we will continue to strive and excel in all our businesses by enhancing our media offerings and staying ahead of the competition."

The Inma Global Media Awards competition received 699 entries from 264 news brands in 40 countries, and was judged by an international panel of 41 media executives from 19 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'ST, SPH pick up awards for innovation'. Print Edition | Subscribe