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20 July 2016

JMSC director named SOPA Honorary Member

Yuen Ying Chan, Director of the JMSC, has been named as an Honorary Member of the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA).


Yuen Ying Chan with Raymond T. Warhola, Chairman, SOPA

Professor Chan’s induction was announced at a gala dinner for the SOPA 2016 Awards for Editorial Excellence on Wednesday 15 June at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

SOPA inducts one Honorary Member each year in recognition of lifetime achievement and outstanding contributions to journalism.

Chan thanked SOPA for taking her into its family and also those who have assisted in providing JMSC students with internships, jobs and mentoring over the years. ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ she said. ‘May I say that it takes a tribe, the entire tribe of reporters, editors and news executives and friends, to raise a new generation of journalists. For your invaluable support, we are eternally grateful.’

Chan said that good journalism is needed more than ever today, and still remains her first love. ‘We live in precarious times. A time when booksellers can disappear and reappear; a time when a former president would accept a dinner invitation, only to be forced to cancel,’ she said.

Former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou had been announced as a speaker for the gala dinner but his application to visit Hong Kong was subsequently rejected by the Taiwan Presidential office.

‘But good journalism can’t be stopped, whether by government orders or by party censors, or by the brutal forces of the market,’ Chan said in her acceptance speech. ‘The powers-that-be can withhold passports or refuse to issue visas, but they cannot stop the sharing of ideas and words across physical boundaries.’


David Merritt, Raymond T. Warhola, Christine Wong, Yuen Ying Chan, S.K. Witcher and David Smith at the 2016 SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence

JMSC Master of Journalism (MJ) alumni also received recognition for their reporting at this year’s SOPA awards.

Jun Mai (MJ, 2010) was part of the South China Morning Post team that won the Award for Excellence in the Group B Breaking News category for their story on the Shenzhen landslide.

Judges described the SCMP’s coverage of the landslide as ‘solid reporting and clear writing’ that ‘put events in context’. They also praised the ‘sidebars’ that the paper produced beyond the main news story to try to give readers a broader understanding of the different elements involved in the man-made disaster.

Swe Win (MJ, 2009) won an Honorable Mention in the Group B Investigative Journalism category for his story in Myanmar Now, titled ‘With official help, Myanmar’s radical Buddhists target Muslim-owned businesses’.

Judges said that Win’s article got ‘local authorities to confirm how they are actively discriminating against Muslim businesses and how it is almost taken for granted’, tackling ‘a difficult subject with a laser like determination to pin down rumours with facts and get official confirmation of the discrimination against Muslim businesses’.

Initium Media, for which Annie Zhang (MJ, 2006) is Chief Executive Editor, also won the Group C award for Excellence in Information Graphics for its story ‘Decoding Hong Kong Legislative Council: The Implications of 200,000 Voting Records’.

SOPA is a non-profit, regional journalism organisation dedicated to ‘promoting best industry practices and facilitating a conducive environment for professional publishing’ in the Asia-Pacific region. The JMSC became the official administrator for its annual Awards for Editorial Excellence awards in 2011 and faculty members have served as Head Judges for the awards since 2004.

Click here for a full list of this year’s winners.