Simon Song (MJ 03), Zhang Jieping (MJ 06), Albert Wong (MJ 05) and Juying Qin (MJ 05) were awarded prizes at the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards for Editorial Excellence in May 2007.
Simon Song was awarded the Excellence in Feature Photography award for his photo essay entitled “Life in a Cage”. The feature was published as the cover story of the Weekend Standard magazine in September 2006.
Song’s essay profiles the lives of people living in cage homes in Hong Kong. According to Hong Kong government statistics, there are about 29 apartments providing 1,292 licensed cages for 878 people. All of them are elderly with very low incomes.
However, the Society for Community Organization estimates there are about 200 flats, most of them unlicensed, providing similar accommodation to about 4,000 people. “I was astonished to meet these people and see their cages,” said Song, who currently works as assistant photo editor at the South China Morning Post. “After the photos were published, a charity organization contacted me and said they would like to help these people. I was pleased that my feature had helped raise awareness of such a neglected issue.”
Zhang Jieping was awarded the Excellence in Opinion Writing prize. Her investigative report into academic corruption in China, entitled “Academic corruption: prevent it from shaking this country”, was described as a “powerful indictment of the darker side of Chinese academia” by SOPA. Zhang’s report was published as a cover story in Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) in May 2007.
Albert Wong received honourable mentions in two categories, Excellence in Reporting on the Environment and Excellence in Public Service Journalism, for his report “Environment Hanging in the Balance”. Juying Qin also won an honourable mention for her article, “Speaking Out in China”, which was published in the Wall Street Journal Asia.
The SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence were established in 1999, as a tribute to editorial excellence and to encourage editorial vitality throughout the region.