ST wins three prizes at top Asian awards

The Straits Times's (ST) foreign editor Ravi Velloor (left), and ST's executive artist Manuel A. Francisco, who both won awards at the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) awards on 11 June 2014.

SINGAPORE - The Straits Times won prizes for editorial illustration, opinion writing and infographics at the annual Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) awards last night.

Executive artist Manuel A. Francisco took the top prize in the Excellence in Editorial Cartooning category.

His work accompanied a serious Opinion article about Japan's attempt to revive itself as a world power. Judges said the illustration captured perfectly the state Japan was in, with regard to its economy and overall security.

Mr Francisco, 44, who has been with the paper for seven years, said he was surprised by his big win, especially because he came up with his winning image almost "automatically". "The idea came really quickly," he said.

Sopa gives out the awards to honour journalistic excellence in publications in Asia. This year, it received more than 670 entries for 18 award categories.

The ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

ST foreign editor Ravi Velloor, 56, a veteran of 35 years in journalism, including 21 years at The Straits Times, won an honourable mention for Excellence in Opinion Writing for his piece calling for an Asia-wide natural disaster response body and emergency fund.

Judges said it offered a smart analysis of Asia's susceptibility to natural disasters, and came up with wise suggestions. ASEAN defence ministers accepted a proposal in his piece for a central command for disaster relief.

Executive infographics journalist Lim Yong also received an honourable mention for his infographic on innovative solutions and designs inspired by nature.

Mr Lim, 39, said the infographic, which included descriptions of "shark-proof" wetsuits and "painless" quill-inspired injection needles, was one of his most memorable.

"It was fun doing a topic I was interested in. I was fortunate to find a news peg in the form of the armadillo-inspired 'foldable' car," he said, referring to a small electric vehicle developed by a South Korean institute which made the news last September.

Meanwhile, The New Paper's photojournalist Jonathan Choo came up tops in news photography for his photos of last December's Little India riot. His images had captured overturned police cars, some of them in flames.

Other winners from the Singapore Press Holdings stable were SilverKris, the travel magazine of Singapore Airlines, which bagged the award for Excellence in Magazine Design. Luxury magazine The Peak received an honourable mention in the same category.

Straits Times senior correspondent Radha Basu was a finalist in the Excellence in Feature Writing category.

This was for her special report last year on the challenges faced by people who are caregivers for their family members, especially the elderly.

Senior executive artist Miel Prudencio Rosales Jr was also a finalist in the editorial cartooning category.

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "We at The Straits Times are fortunate to have writers and artists who can hold their own against the best, as these awards show.

"We are proud to have them as part of the ST team, which strives to do our best for our readers."


This article was first published on June 12, 2014.
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