Asian Digital Media Awards 2019: Winning works by The Straits Times

The Instagram: News Challenge bagged the Gold award for the Best in Social Media Engagement category, while War on waste: The dirty (brown) secret, an interactive project about the e-commerce industry, won a Silver in the Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Services category.

SINGAPORE - The Straits Times emerged with five awards at the 10th edition of the Asian Digital Media Awards on Wednesday (Oct 30), including for Best in Social Media Engagement and Best Digital Project to Engage Younger and/or Millennial Audiences.

Singapore Press Holdings' flagship title bagged two golds, two silvers and one bronze at the awards, which were held at Hong Kong's Ocean Park Marriott Hotel.

The awards, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra), saw 151 entries from 24 media companies across 11 Asian markets.

Other winners at the event include Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, Indonesia's Kompas Daily Newspaper and Reuters.

Here is a closer look at ST's wins.

1. Best in Social Media Engagement - Gold award

Instagram: News Challenge

The Instagram: News Challenge, an ST current affairs quiz that tells users how well-informed they are when it comes to local and regional news.

Launched in May this year, the weekly quiz was conceptualised as a fun, interactive way to engage the younger audience, which makes up the bulk of Instagram's user base.

It has since helped to grow ST's Instagram account, which has increased its follower base by over 60 per cent this year to 230,000.

Mr Gregory Phua, 32, social media specialist and the creator of the quiz, said: "Instagram stories is a growing space, and more and more young audiences are using it.

"We launched the News Challenge quiz to allow readers to stay on top of the news, and get the right facts in a fun and engaging way."

2. Best Paid Content Strategy (incl. pay wall, membership or crowd funding models) - Gold award

A machine learning-enabled personalised experience for audience engagement & subscriptions

To grow readership across ST's digital platforms, ST adopted a machine-learning tool that customises news and updates for the reader by studying user behaviour on the news website.

With the tool, users can easily follow news and updates on topics that are of interest and matter to them, in the form of targeted reads and videos that cater to their preferences.

3. Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Services - Silver award

War on waste: The dirty (brown) secret about e-commerce

No one can deny the joy of unwrapping a parcel, and the creators of this interactive project are well aware of that.

This piece opens readers' eyes to the huge amount of packaging waste that the e-commerce industry is guilty of generating by letting them unbox a parcel virtually and drawing their attention to the wastage that is being created.

Ms Denise Chong, 45, ST's senior executive content producer, said the project's light-hearted spirit came through in the form of a fun experience for readers.

"This helps to make unpacking the serious subject of the environmental impact of e-shopping waste more approachable," she added.

4. Best Digital Project to Engage Younger and/or Millennial Audiences - Silver award

ST & BT Podcasts reach younger audiences

For their efforts to strike a chord with the millennial audiences, ST and BT jointly won a silver award for Best Digital Project to Engage Younger and/or Millennial Audiences for their podcasts, which allow users to listen to bite-size news and analyses on the go since they were launched in March this year.

These include Money Hacks, a fortnightly series that gives readers tips on being financially savvy, as well as #PopVultures, a commentary series that takes a close look at news that is rocking the pop culture landscape.

5. Best in Social Media Engagement - Bronze award

Where's Merly? A National Day game challenge for Singaporeans

In this interactive online game created to mark Singapore's 53rd birthday, readers were challenged to spot 53 items related to Singapore hidden in an illustration of a crowd watching the National Day Parade (NDP). They were also able to learn fun facts and trivia along the way.

Infographics journalist Billy Ker, 31, said that he spent more than 50 hours working on the artwork, painstakingly drawing more than 700 characters in the NDP scene.

"To make it more fun for both me and the readers, I've added in more than 40 hidden 'easter egg' characters in the crowd aside from the 53 items to find, such as local icons including Singa the Lion and Phua Chu Kang, as well as pop culture icons like Marvel and Star Wars characters."

"I think these additional characters add flavor to the artwork and makes the process of finding the 53 items more fun and captivating."

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