ST bags three wins and three merit prizes for coverage of Covid-19

The Stories of A Pandemic Awards span three categories - best story, commentary and visual. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A series of Straits Times stories about how the pandemic has affected the job prospects and life plans of young people across the region has been honoured by philanthropic group The Majurity Trust.

It rated the reports in the Insight feature "Will Covid-19 create a 'lost generation' in Asia?" as the best story for November in the group's monthly Stories of A Pandemic (Soap) Awards.

Journalists Yuen Sin, Sue-Ann Tan and Michelle Ng, India Correspondent Debarshi Dasgupta, Japan Correspondent Walter Sim and Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang spoke to youth in Singapore and across Asia about how they were altering their life plans in areas such as jobs, housing and personal development.

Ms Yuen, 28, said: "We hope these stories can help readers better understand the psyche and perspectives of youth who are coming of age amid an unprecedented crisis, and who will be the ones showing us the way forward in a post-Covid-19 world."

ST also bagged two other wins and three merit awards at the Soap Awards, which recognise contributions by writers, photographers and artists who provided impactful stories related to the pandemic.

The awards span three categories - best story, commentary and visual - with the latest batch for entries published between last September and January this year.

The judges are veteran journalists and editors in Singapore.

Senior executive photojournalist Neo Xiaobin bagged the best visual award for September for her portraits using visual projections.

These images were an ode to how the pandemic affected people from various walks of life and accelerated everything digital.

They were produced for Home in Focus, a weekly series of visual features by The Straits Times Picture Desk that documents various facets of Singapore.

Visual projections by senior executive photojournalist Neo Xiaobin. PHOTO: ST FILE
Visual projections by senior executive photojournalist Neo Xiaobin. PHOTO: ST FILE

Ms Neo, 37, said: "When Covid-19 hit last year, the immediate focus at first was on the medical front. As time passed, there was a need to look at how the pandemic has impacted everyone in the community."

She added that the pandemic has forced everyone to embrace a "virtual reality" as people moved online to learn, work and communicate. "It changed the way we lived as we learned to deal without physical presence."

ST associate editor Chua Mui Hoong won December's best commentary for a piece on bosses opening up about their mental health struggles.

The merit award for best story in November went to Ms Yuen and fellow ST reporter Hariz Baharudin for their features on the digital divide caused by Covid-19.

"Quest to bridge the digital divide" by Ms Yuen and fellow ST reporter Hariz Baharudin won the merit award for best story in November. PHOTO: ST FILE

The ST Picture Desk bagged a merit award for best visual, also in November, for pictorial representations of words they associated with 2020, like "trapped", "surreal" and "space".

Pharmaceutical scientist Ranjani Rao clinched a merit award for October's best commentary for her piece published in the ST on how her life experiences in various countries have shaped her identity.

Meanwhile, a cartoon by artist Sonny Liew and the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health infectious diseases expert Hsu Li Yang won best visual for December.

#TAPED is one of ST Picture Desk's pictorial representations of words they associated with 2020, which won a merit award for best visual. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
#HEAL: The Straits Times photojournalists' personal take on their word of the year. PHOTO: ST FILE

The work, which explains the science behind the coronavirus and vaccinations, was carried in the ST's science pages and offered exclusively to the paper.

Other Soap award winners include a team from Channel News Asia who bagged January's story of the month for their feature on how people's lives have been changed a year into the pandemic.

Journalists Navene Elangovan and Tan Yin Lin from TODAYonline also won the same award in January for their story on how TraceTogether users responded when the Government first said their data can be obtained by the police for criminal investigations.

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