SINGAPORE – When former Lianhe Zaobao intern Tan Yu Jia, 22, finishes her communication studies at Nanyang Technological University, and gets her own desk in the newsroom as a full-time reporter, she will display one item with pride.
It is a handcrafted item made of cloth and newspaper, given to her by a woman with mental health issues whom she had interviewed for a story.
The woman was initially nervous to tell Ms Tan her story. “That’s when I realised it’s such a big honour that I get to do this. I reassured her I would treat her story with respect, and that it was my honour to share it with the world,” she said.
Ms Tan is one of three recipients of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) journalism scholarship. The scholarships were among 27 given out on Wednesday (July 31) by SPH and SPH Foundation this year at the media giant’s News Centre auditorium at Toa Payoh.
The three women’s scholarships are part of SPH’s efforts to nurture the next generation of journalists.
SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang, who spoke at the annual scholarship awards ceremony, said that while current and pressing issues such as the trade war between US and China or climate change are regularly reported on by SPH media, “it is not always just doom and gloom”.
He cited examples like The Straits Times’ Climate of Change series, which highlights solutions for a sustainable future on top of its reports on climate change’s global impact. Lianhe Zaobao’s The Inequality Sketch was also highlighted for its illustrated interactive feature that discusses the subject of inequality through real-life success stories.
“In today’s multimedia age, we engage our audience by delivering quality and creative products to build trust and loyalty with our readers,” said Dr Lee.
The Straits Times Asia Report, a magazine which curates some of the best features in the region from the ST Foreign Desk, was named Best New Print Product and Best in Asia/Pacific for Regional/Local Brands at the International News Media Association Global Media Awards in New York in May.
Lianhe Zaobao’s digital platform, zaobao.sg, was the Singapore winner of the first Asia-Pacific Google News’ Innovation Challenge.
“For our journalism scholarship recipients, these awards are clear indicators that SPH is able to provide our journalists and staff with an innovative ecosystem to compete for a wider audience,” Dr Lee added.
The other two journalism scholarship recipients were Ms Goh Ruoxue, 19, who interned at The New Paper, and Ms Christie Esther Chiu Shi Qi, 19, who interned at The Straits Times.
The scholarships given out included SPH’s first Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) award, presented to Mr Muhammad Rilwan, 20.
SPH is one of the organisations participating in this multi-industry scholarship in partnership with the Government. The SgIS aims to groom future talents in Singapore’s strategic sectors like infocomm media, transport, and social services.
Mr Rilwan will be studying information systems at the National University of Singapore next year after he completes his national service.
“With the world becoming increasingly digitalised, the role of media has evolved to become extremely important. I am looking forward to overcoming challenges that await in the near future,” he said. “My parents are very emotional about me winning the scholarship. The ceremony served as a good recognition for not only the efforts I’ve put in, but also the support my parents have given me.”
Fourteen scholarships were also presented to children of SPH staff and newspaper vendors to support their studies.
Mr Abdullah Harun, who has been working in SPH’s printing press section for 32 years, saw his sons, Muhammad Irfan, 17, receiving a junior college scholarship, and Muhammad Rusyaidi, 18, receiving a polytechnic scholarship.
Nine Lim Kim San Memorial Scholarships, a bond-free scholarship, were also awarded to students of modest means to pursue languages and humanities.