Asian Digital Media Awards 2018: Winning works by The Straits Times

Greendale Secondary School teacher Tan Jie Qi guiding her students while they use the NewsEd app. NewsEd received the silver award for best reader revenue initiative, and the gold award for best innovation to engage youth.
Greendale Secondary School teacher Tan Jie Qi guiding her students while they use the NewsEd app. NewsEd received the silver award for best reader revenue initiative, and the gold award for best innovation to engage youth.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Straits Times walked away with nine awards at the 9th Asian Digital Media Awards held on Thursday (Nov 8), including for best news site, best reader revenue initiative and best innovation to engage youth audiences.

Singapore Press Holding's flagship paper won two golds, three silvers and four bronzes at the awards, which were held at The Mira hotel in Hong Kong.

Organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) and Google, this year's edition saw 157 entries from 27 media companies across 10 Asian markets.

Here is a closer look at the wins ST bagged.

1. BEST IN LIFESTYLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT WEBSITE OR MOBILE SERVICES - GOLD AWARD

Asia's sacred art

Asia's rich religious history was brought to life vividly with this interactive project that allowed readers to see sculptures of Asian deities on display at the Asian Civilisations Museum in augmented reality.

Readers could zoom in or out or rotate the artefacts on display to learn more about them and their history.

ST's Web developer Chee Wei Xian, 23, who helped to produce the project, said: "We were working on extracting real life artefacts into digital data, and exploring a way to represent them in digital form that allows users to access the real-life based object without actually being at its location."

The project, which is also accessible on ST's mobile app, involved two app developers who helped to materialise the project on both the Apple and Android system for mobile devices.

2. BEST NEWS WEBSITE - SILVER AWARD

No One Dies Alone

In an extensive cross-media project, ST tracked the journey of volunteers from Assisi Hospice's No One Dies Alone programme as they accompanied Mr Tay Cheng Tian, a hospice resident who died of oesophageal cancer at age 54 in November last year.

The moving tale was one that social affairs correspondent Janice Tai, who wrote the story, spent a year on. After seeding the idea to the hospice, she had to earn the hospice's trust and source for a suitable candidate who was willing to have the last moments of his life documented for public consumption.

"Death is one of the most intimate experiences of our lives. One inevitably has to go through it alone, but how alienating it is to have no loved ones to be with us in those last moments," said Ms Tai, 30. "Yet trusting and opening up one's heart to 'strangers' during those intimate moments of urgent last days can be no less an estranging experience. This project showed me, and I hope to readers as well, what a courageous thing it is to love, and in turn, receive love, in the midst of pain, suffering and the transience of life."

Interactive graphics editor Rodolfo Pazos, 36, who worked on the visual story, said: "This story is emotional and the visuals that the photographer spent many weeks capturing really speak for themselves, so we wanted to make sure this was first and foremost when choosing how to present this story."

3. BEST READER REVENUE INITIATIVE - SILVER AND BRONZE AWARD

Silver: NewsEd


Greendale Secondary School teacher Tan Jie Qi guiding her students while they use the NewsEd app. PHOTO: ST FILE

NewsEd is a programme tailored for teaching that curates ST content and news articles for students to learn about current affairs. Educators can also create teaching guides on the portal.

One of the features include articles containing auto-marking, multiple-choice questions by the ST Schools team to keep students in touch with the latest news.

It also received gold award for best innovation to engage youth.

Bronze: ST Premium

ST Premium is an initiative launched in February this year, which makes exclusive stories, first-hand reporting and opinion pieces available for paying subscribers of the paper.

While breaking news stories on Singapore and the world still remain free to access, readers hoping to get more in-depth stories from ST's pool of experienced journalists can subscribe to ST Premium.

4. BEST INNOVATION TO ENGAGE YOUTH AUDIENCE - GOLD AND BRONZE AWARD

Gold: NewsEd

The news-based teaching portal NewsEd was also awarded in this category, aside from its win for best reader revenue initiative.

Bronze: Budget 2018: Game of $urvival

An interactive budgeting game which invites readers to pick a character and navigate their financial decisions, Game of $urvival was part of ST's extensive coverage for the Government's Budget this year.

Interactive graphics journalist Rebecca Pazos, who worked on the project, said the game took a few months to design, develop and research and began with the idea of a card game. Said the 31-year-old: "We executed this by picking three different characters from varied walks of life who then get randomised scenarios thrown at them and they have to stay within their budget."

Digital infographics journalist Billy Ker, who designed the look of the characters, said he wanted them to resemble blocks to evoke the feel of a board game.

"The style ended up harder than anticipated and it took up most of my time on getting it to look right on all the various scenarios and characters," said Mr Ker, 30.

5. BEST IN SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT - SILVER AWARD

What's Good

With the chaotic world that we live in, the everyday deluge of news, often bad news, can quickly get demoralising. To give readers a space for heart-warming stories about good deeds, good people, good things and to spread positive vibes, the paper started a Facebook group named What's Good.

According to senior executive content producer Denise Chong, members of the public can share "the upside of life with one another" via the group.

The 44-year-old said: "It's not confined to news reports. It can be about a sweet act of kindness, or a sweet dessert."

Launched in March this year, the group has more than 3,000 members now.

6. BEST DIGITAL NEWS START-UP - BRONZE AWARD

The ST Asia Report

The magazine and newsletter give readers highlights of ST correspondents' reportage from across the region. There is also a dedicated Facebook page. It is part of ST's efforts to ramp up its coverage of developments across Asia and globally.

Earlier this year, ST expanded its network of overseas correspondents to widen its readership and extend its reach as an authoritative observer of Asian and global matters.

Currently, there are 25 correspondents across 10 overseas bureaus including Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan and the United States.

Download and sign up for the newsletter here.

7. BEST DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN - BRONZE AWARD

Memories in Sydney

An integrated marketing campaign on travelling to Sydney, done in conjunction with Singapore Airlines, was recognised at the awards.

The project, complete with photos and videos, was organised into three different parts. The first section was a piece on the activities to do and places to eat in Sydney, while the second was a gallery of photos featuring the city. The third was a map that highlighted the locations mentioned in the story.

Such projects are part of ST's ongoing efforts to give readers high-quality branded content.