Six JMSC alumni were among the winners at the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards for Editorial Excellence, which took place on Thursday, June 7.

Zhang Qianye receives her award

The awards cover traditional and new media in the region, and encompass a wide range of categories. JMSC alumni won more awards this year than ever before.

Zhang Qianye (MJ 2012), a reporter on Mainland China for Yazhou Zhoukan, won an award for Excellence in Reporting Breaking News.

“I felt really inspired by winning the award in my first year working in the Hong Kong media,” said Zhang. “It’s made me even more enthusiastic about the future.”

“Knowing that so many alumni won SOPA awards, I wrote on my Facebook page: ‘Proud of the JMSC’!” she said.

Another winner was Stuart Biggs (MJ 2004), a reporter at Bloomberg, who also won an award for Excellence in Reporting Breaking News.  Biggs and Helen Luk (MJ 2002), who writes for A Plus Magazine, each received an honorable mention for Excellence in Business Reporting.

Olga Wong (MPhil 2005), who writes for the South China Morning Post, received an honorable mention for Excellence in Reporting Breaking News, while Zhou Ping (MJ 2011), a reporter for the Financial Times, received an honorable mention for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting.

Annie Zhang (MJ 2006), a reporter for iSun Affairs, rounded out the JMSC winners with an honorable mention for Excellence in Investigative Reporting.

The JMSC was the administrator of the event. This year’s Head of Judges was Rusty Todd, Visiting Professor and Head of Business Journalism at the JMSC.

“This was a tough year to judge because of the generally high quality of entrants,” Todd said. “The Japanese tsunami and nuclear accident, and the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong-il brought many news organisations the opportunity to do their best work. I think journalism in Asia is as good as anywhere in the world.”

Todd also noted the obstacles that reporters in Asia face in producing quality journalism. 

“Freedom of speech and the press is problematic in many parts of Asia,” he said. “The SOPA Awards are one way we can recognise the importance of both. By standing together to recognise quality journalism, we make it more difficult to suppress that kind of reporting. The awards also give journalists another way to compete with each other — and competition makes for quality.”

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