ST wins big at Asian awards

HONG KONG - After more than three decades of its controversial one-child policy, the Chinese Communist Party relaxed the rule last year.

Whether the reform was too little too late - given Chinese couples' modernising views and the painful memories it stirred up in older generations - became the focal point of The Straits Times' coverage on the policy shift.

Yesterday, its China bureau chief Kor Kian Beng, 36, and correspondent Ho Ai Li, 34, won the gold award in the newspaper feature article category at the 13th Asian Media Awards in Hong Kong.

The Straits Times also received the gold award for feature photography in its package on the Singapore Armed Forces' combat parachutists, and a silver in the breaking news category for its coverage of the Malaysian election results.

"ST's overseas bureaus have won a reputation for in-depth and insightful reporting over the years," said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez. "The gold award for our China bureau chief for his piece on China's fertility policies, and silver for our Malaysia team for ST's coverage of the general election, are testimony to this."

Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes The Straits Times, clinched three silvers for production quality and another two for magazine design, for a total of eight awards at the Publish Asia 2014 conference.

Mr Kor, who accepted The Straits Times' awards, said the gold showed that the concept - to look at the momentous policy change across generations and cities - had paid off. "This award will galvanise my team and me to work harder to understand and report on this complex society that is on the move," he said.

The win for the paper's coverage of the Malaysian elections was gratifying because the race had been unpredictable until the end, said Malaysia bureau chief Carolyn Hong. "There were so many rumours," she said. "It was a constant battle to decide which of them was accurate news, and which was just speculation."

Foreign editor Ravi Velloor added: "The proof of the pudding was that Malaysians in large numbers turned to us for credible, unbiased coverage of their elections. Many of our reports were reproduced in Malaysian media."

The photojournalism award was a bonus for photographer Alphonsus Chern, 34, who had pursued a project on the SAF's Basic Airborne Course for years.

Mr Fernandez added: "The hard-won awards are recognition for these journalists, but just as important is the signal they send to our readers on how we at ST keep trying our very best to deliver quality content."

This article was published on April 25 in The Straits Times.

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