The Straits Times won its 13th global award for reaching young readers: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) World Young Reader Prize for public service (silver).
The award is for the broadsheet's impact journalism hackathon, the MCCY-Straits Times Idea Jam, of which the jury said: "It was a very clever idea to use journalistic practice (interviewing, background research and presentation process) for another purpose - in this case, to improve the impact of volunteers."
First, teams of students and working adults worked with facilitators, including ST journalists, to shape their ideas for various non-profit groups, learning about research and interviewing.
They then pitched their concepts to an expert panel. The best qualified for up to $3,000 from the National Youth Council's (NYC) Young ChangeMakers grant to turn them into reality.
The four-day event was accompanied by a print and online campaign to inspire service learning among young people, which ran from last October to April this year.
Milestones in excellence
The ST Schools team has chalked up 13 major awards since it first started in December 2004.
Its recent major awards include:
- The World Association of
Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) awards a World Young Reader Prize brand commendation to the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship (The Big Spell), developed with the Ministry of Education.
- The Big Spell wins Panpa's
Best Newspaper Event 2012 award.
- Wan-Ifra's Asian Media
Award for Community Service (Gold) goes to the teachers' handbook, 48 Values From The News: The Straits Times Guide To Building Character.
- Wan-Ifra awards its top
World Young Reader Prize for Learning With The News to the 48 Values book and special editions of IN for Racial Harmony Day and National Day, and the use of The Straits Times nationwide within the Education Ministry's curriculum for Character and Citizenship Education.
- The International News
Media Association awards The Straits Times' Schools team with third place in the public relations or community service campaign category for the 48 Values book.
- Wan-Ifra awards a World
Young Reader Prize for Enduring Excellence for The Straits Times Schools programme's consistently strong production of young reader content, events and engagement campaigns.
The Sunday Times ran a guide to service learning and problem solving from last October to December, while related content was hosted on ST's Idea Jam microsite. In April, special editions of ST's publications for schools, IN and Little Red Dot, focused on volunteerism and service learning.
One idea from the event that became a reality was a loom-band- making workshop for people with disabilities and their caregivers to bond. The workshop took place twice in February.
A group of students from Nanyang Technological University and ITE College West - Idea Jam participants Chong Hui Xiang, 25, Lim Zong Rui and Benedik Tan, both 19, along with friends Ruain Ramos, 19, and Tan Hui Xian, 22 - designed the idea for BizLink, an organisation that offers employment assistance and training to people with disabilities and special needs.
Campaign partner, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), regarded Idea Jam as a show of might for volunteers.
Said Parliamentary Secretary for MCCY Low Yen Ling: "The international recognition won by Idea Jam affirms the power of the MCCY-ST collaboration, and how our youth's ideas and passion for the less advantaged can be a positive force re-energising our community.
"By combining the influence of the media with the wide outreach of the ministry, we are able to present our youth with the platform to introduce their fresh perspectives and new ways of helping those in need. "
Likewise, NYC deputy chief executive Ng Chun Pin said Idea Jam "creatively and effectively engaged youth to contribute back to the community, thereby creating a vibrant youth landscape." Mr Ng is also MCCY senior director (youth).
For ST, the event was a way to get young people to better understand marginalised groups in Singapore, said Schools editor Serene Goh.
"It's rewarding for us to help our readers make an impact in the community, by showing them the techniques we use to identify issues."
There was no top winner for the public service category.
ST shares the silver award with Mathrubhumi and Malayala Manorama, both from India's Kerala state, while Nigeria's Daily Trust earned a Special Mention. Winners will receive their prizes at the Wan-Ifra India 2015 Conference & Expo on Sept 3 in Mumbai.
ST's ongoing engagement efforts with young people have also made it a finalist for the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa) Best Young Reader Programme, for which the results will be announced in September.