SINGAPORE - The Straits Times emerged a big winner on Wednesday (March 22) , sweeping most of the prizes at the Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) annual awards ceremony for its English, Malay and Tamil Media Group.
It won 15 out of 18 awards recognising its work in news and feature stories, as well as visuals and digital packages.
Senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan, 57, was named Journalist of the Year for his work in closely tracking developments on the beat since 1995.
With 34 years of experience in journalism, Mr Tan also won the Commentary/Analysis of the Year award for a commentary last July that weighed in on the potential safety implications of hairline cracks that were found on MRT trains.
ST sports reporter Chua Siang Yee, 27, who joined the newsroom in 2013, won the Young Journalist of the Year award.
He broke several stories last year (2016), including a scoop on how Singapore may not be able to catch the Rio Olympics last year live on television before a deal was finally inked at the eleventh hour that allowed Singaporeans to witness swimmer Joseph Schooling clinch Singapore's first-ever Olympic gold medal in the 100m butterfly event.
Senior technology correspondent Irene Tham, 42, won the Story of the Year award for her scoop on how all computers used officially by public servants in Singapore would be cut off from the Internet from May this year (2017) as a security measure.
Her story was picked up by various international media, including the BBC, The New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters.
Feature of the Year went to ST’s political editor Zakir Hussain, Indonesia Bureau Chief Francis Chan, 42, and Wahyudi Soeriatmadja, 46, for their coverage of the four Indonesians who tried to pass through Singapore in transit to Syria.
The team travelled to West Java to Ibnu Mas’ud, an allegedly radical Islam school, where the four suspects became radicalised.
Mr Zakir, 36, said: “Terrorism is a cross-border issue that required a team effort so I really have to thank the rest of the team. I think working with contacts from both Malaysia and Singapore also helped us piece together this important story."
ST executive photojournalist Ng Sor Luan, 38, won Feature Picture of the Year for her photograph of a 67-year-old fitness enthusiast.
Senior executive photojournalist Desmond Foo, 46, won the News Picture of the Year for his shot of Mr Muhammad Hatin Kamil, 25, who saw his best friend crushed by an oncoming SMRT train in a fatal accident in March last year (2016).
Headline of the Year went to ST's chief sub-editor Sim Mui Hoon, 54, for her headline "Do you see what IC?", while Layout/Page Design of the Year went to the paper's senior executive sub-editor Fraemone Wee, 40, for her layout/page design "50 parades. In photos".
ST also swept the multimedia awards, including the Best Cross Media Story of the Year for its coverage on Schooling's Olympic victory, Best Video of the Year and Best Interactive Infographics of the Year.
The New Paper won the Best Digital Package of the Year for its video series Taxi Talk by journalists Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman and Azim Azman.
The Business Times clinched the Infographics of the Year and Illustration of the Year awards thanks to senior correspondent Kenneth Lim and Infographics Editor Simon Ang respectively.
Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times' editor and editor-in-chief of SPH's English, Malay and Tamil Media Group, said good journalism remains at the core of the business, even as the group continues to work with new business partners to identify new revenue streams.
"The reason we keep doing this is that we believe in good journalism. It matters to you and me, it matters to our society, it matters to our country. Good journalism is our purpose...and we have to stay focused on that," he added.