SINGAPORE: Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Nov 8) picked up two trophies at the Asian Digital Media Awards 2018, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
It won Gold for Best News Website or Mobile Service for Tides That Bind at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong. The interactive special was released in November 2017 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Singapore dragonboat tragedy in which five Singaporean paddlers drowned after their boat went down at the Cambodian Water Festival.
Channel NewsAsia senior digital journalist Justin Ong, who was on that ill-fated boat, travelled back to Cambodia for the first time in a decade for the project. He spoke to those involved in the search and rescue operations, including divers who recounted tying large stones and chains to their bodies to weigh themselves down so they could comb the seabed in the search for the missing dragonboaters.
In the process, he captured the moment of regret from an organiser of the Water Festival over the lack of safety measures at the event when the latter realised he was talking to one of the survivors. In addition, the interactive special celebrated the memory of the five dragonboaters who lost their lives and examined the lasting impact the darkest moment in Singapore's sporting history had on the sport of dragonboating.
READ: Tides That Bind
“Tides That Bind is really a story about what journalism can do when it combines the capabilities of a digital newsroom with the strength of an extraordinary story,” said Jaime Ho, digital news chief editor at Channel NewsAsia.
“It started with Justin’s remarkable personal life-and-death story, told with heart, authenticity and compassion. We added to that a team of great editors and producers, who brought together the best in illustration, graphics, animation, video and coding."
“We are extremely proud, but ultimately still humbled by this story of the Singaporeans who lost their lives more than 10 years ago.”
CNA Insider clinched the silver award for Best Digital Marketing Campaign for InspirAsian – a series of crowdsourced stories of unsung Malaysian and Indonesian heroes, such as a parking attendant who runs a school for impoverished children and a matron who shelters women stricken with HIV.
“We went looking for unsung heroes and found amazing individuals - from a farmer to a T-shirt salesman to a technopreneur - who inspired and humbled us with the way they changed so many lives for the better," said supervising editor Yvonne Lim. "We would never have known about, much less been able to share, these stories without the crowdsourcing effort on social media.”
The Asian Digital Media Awards recognises publishers which have adopted digital media and mobile strategies as part of their total product offering to meet the changes in how people consume news and information, according to WAN-IFRA's website.
The region's winners get the chance to participate in the World Digital Media Awards and compete against the world's best.