Young talents shine: Four wins for The New Paper at annual awards
Both became journalists just two years ago.
Yesterday, one won the Young Journalist award while the other won Page Design of the Year at the English/Malay/Tamil Media (EMTM) Awards, held annually by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
Mr Ng Jun Sen, 26, and Mr Billy Ker, 27, are two young talents with The New Paper.
While young journalists from TNP have often done well at the Awards, Mr Ng is the first in six years to bring the coveted Young Journalist of the Year title back to our newsroom.
Among the many stories he has chased, one stood out for him - an illegal dormitory in Tampines housing about 1,000 workers.
Mr Ng recalled how for two weeks, he staked out the dormitory, until the wee hours of the morning, to break the story.
His efforts also landed him a nomination for a Special Award: Excellence in Enterprise.
He said: "My proudest moment is not just this one but every single story that comes out in TNP with my name on it."
The Mr Ng who joined TNP two years ago was a very different man from who he is today.
As a fresh graduate, he was not particularly motivated and was one of the "most introverted people out there", but he is now filled with passion for the job and for the people.
"This job is worth it because there are so many types of people in this world, so many stories left untold, and to be able to tell these stories is a privilege.
"Because of the people I've met in my line of work, I now want to speak to people because I'm just amazed at all of the stories they can tell."
The biggest factor that keeps him going when the going gets tough?
He says: "My girlfriend, who works in the same office, is my biggest support and muse because without her, I would have lost my motivation.
"TNP also gives young journalists great opportunities to tell stories.
"Journalists here don't deal so much with numbers and figures, but with the people behind those numbers and figures."
Like him, Mr Ker is another rising talent readers can keep an eye out for.
The infographics journalist's page design "Ola Brasil!" did not only snag the Layout/Page Design of the Year award yesterday, it also won him a rare double honour at the 36th edition of the Best of News Design Competition run annually by the Society for News Design earlier this year.
But he remains humble over his win yesterday, saying: "I feel very honoured and quite surprised because the competition was very good."
The piece that landed him this award has quite a backstory: Mr Ker had missed the internal deadline for World Cup submissions and his shelved artwork was picked up only when a sharp-eyed editor spotted it and declared it too good not to print.
When asked about his life in TNP, he said: "We are allowed to express ourselves a lot here, we can voice out about wanting to do any kind of topic and the editors will be all ears."
Apart from Mr Ng and Mr Ker, two veteran journalists from TNP also won awards yesterday - Mr Kelvin Chan and Mr Jonathan Choo, both no strangers to success.
TNP editor Dominic Nathan, said: "It's a great spread of awards for TNP, with two each from the young guns, Jun Sen and Billy, and two from our veterans, Jonathan and Kelvin.
"We pride ourselves for our storytelling abilities, whether it's in text, photos or art, and our four winners this year rank among the best in the business here."
- Additional reporting by Gao Wenxin
This job is worth it because there are so many types of people in this world, so many stories left untold, and to be able to tell these stories is a privilege.
- Young Journalist award winner Ng Jun Sen
ILLUSTRATION OF THE YEAR
Who would have thought that the bootylicious music videos of several female celebrities could inspire an award-winning illustration?
Senior infographics journalist Kelvin Chan, 44, recalled how he was amused when reviewers claimed that the iPhone 6 Plus would bend if left in the back pocket.
At that time, the most popular music videos were Nicki Minaj's Anaconda, Jennifer Lopez's Booty and Taylor Swift's Shake It Off.
Mr Chan started imagining what it would have been like if limited-edition iPhones had been released for these artists and #Bendgate was born.
The cheeky illustration quickly went viral and won the Illustration of the Month award last September.
Yesterday, it won Illustration of the Year at Singapore Press Holdings' EMTM Annual Awards 2014.
Mr Chan, who also won Infographics of the Year and Society for New Design's Award of Excellence last year, said of his win yesterday: "It reminds me of why I like my work so much and to always push myself to improve."
NEWS PICTURE OF THE YEAR
Executive photojournalist Jonathan Choo, 58, was enjoying a day off when he spotted a car on fire on the BKE.
A man and his wife were trapped in their car when it collided with a tipper truck parked on the road shoulder.
To free the young couple, the truck driver smashed the car window with a hammer.
Another driver passing by then pulled the wife out of the car but was unsure of how to rescue the husband as the door closest to him was blocked.
His journalist instincts kicking in, Mr Choo started taking pictures but paused when he saw the driver struggling to free the man.
"I suggested that he rescue the man through the back door and I continued shooting as he freed the man," said Mr Choo.
The picture made the front page of The New Paper on Jan 4 last year and won News Picture of the Month.
Yesterday, Mr Choo was doubly elated when that same picture won News Picture of the Year.
He said: "I'm very happy to win but most importantly, a life was saved."
- Gao Wenxin
TNP gets innovative
THE NEW PAPER, APRIL 3
What do golf and creative design have in common?
Both are innovative ventures to make SPH more than just a news company.
Mr Patrick Daniel, Editor in Chief of SPH's EMTM Group, commended The New Paper in his opening speech yesterday for paving the way in creating competitive positions in new business areas.
"Think", TNP's award-winning art department led by creative editor Ken Jalleh Jr, has commercialised its services from earlier this year, providing services in illustrations, storyboards, cartoons, interpretative journalism, online animation and infographics to clients.
The initiative was set up to meet demand from clients to communicate complex messages and policies simply and visually.
Think's aim, as it says on its website (www.thinktnp.com), is "to captivate audiences in a challenging era of short attention spans and bring clarity to complexity".
SPH Golf is another venture spearheaded and run by a team from The New Paper and SPH marketing.
Swing is a new monthly golf special by SPH Golf - its first issue was published last Friday in TNP.
Swing is also published in the Business Times and The Sunday Times, but the content in each paper caters to its respective target audience.
"Our launch issue last weekend made a great start and we hope to grow it from there," said Mr Daniel.
Apart from Swing, SPH Golf will also organise golf events, starting with the BT Corporate Golf League and other events to serve the golfing community.