Young Journalist winner behind big scoop on Olympics TV coverage

Journalist of the Year Christopher Tan (left) and Young Journalist of the Year Chua Siang Yee at the SPH English Malay Tamil Newspaper (EMTM) Division Annual Awards ceremony.
Journalist of the Year Christopher Tan (left) and Young Journalist of the Year Chua Siang Yee at the SPH English Malay Tamil Newspaper (EMTM) Division Annual Awards ceremony. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

When Straits Times sports reporter Chua Siang Yee was in primary school, his mother would lock him in a study room at home on a weekly basis, and force him to read newspapers such as The Straits Times and The New Paper.

She was Chinese-educated and did not speak English, but wanted her son to have a good command of the language.

Mr Chua, 27, said he hated it at first as it felt like punishment. But he grew to like it, especially reading the sports pages of ST and TNP.

"It struck me that maybe I can do this as a living, because it is something that I enjoy and I thought I could be remotely decent at it."

Mr Chua did not disappoint his mother. After an internship with TNP in 2010, and completing a degree in communications at the University at Buffalo, he joined ST's sports desk in 2013.

Yesterday, he clinched the Young Journalist of the Year award at the Singapore Press Holdings' annual awards ceremony for its English/Malay/Tamil Media group.

One of his biggest scoops was a report on how Singapore might not be able to catch last year's Rio Olympics live on television since the deal made was for only delayed telecasts. Following his story, a deal was inked that allowed Singaporeans to witness swimmer Joseph Schooling make history by winning Singapore's first Olympic gold medal.

Mr Chua was also part of an ST team - comprising colleagues from the digital and sports desks, including assistant sports editor Rohit Brijnath and correspondent Jonathan Wong - that won the Best Cross Media Story of the Year award for its coverage of Schooling's victory.

Mr Chua, who also won a Story of the Year award by the Singapore Swimming Association last year, thanked his mentors at the sports desk for their guidance.

"All I did was work a little bit harder... A lot of times, I benefited from knowing the right people, finding out more and getting both sides of the story," he said.

"It can be disheartening when we get stonewalled, but (being a journalist) is also about overcoming these setbacks and finding different ways to get more information."

Yuen Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Young Journalist winner behind big scoop on Olympics TV coverage'. Print Edition | Subscribe