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BT trio take top SPH journalism awards

THE Business Times shone yesterday at Singapore Press Holdings' annual awards for its English and Malay Newspapers Division, bagging three awards including the coveted Story of the Year and Young Journalist of the Year.

The newspaper's transport senior correspondent Samuel Ee won the Story of the Year award; Andrea Soh, commodities correspondent, was named Young Journalist of the Year, while executive graphics journalist Gareth Chung took home the Layout/Page Design of the Year award.

Mr Ee's February 2013 report, "Loan curbs to slam brakes on car demand?" was an exercise in patience and having the right contacts for a scoop. He said of the two months it took to break the story: "I'd been hearing rumours about the possibility of loan curbs, but it was hard to pin down specific details."

He added that support from his editor and a break from a long-time contact got him the story, which he found challenging to do because of the "numerous dead-ends".

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"All journalists know what it's like to chase a tough story and the satisfaction you get when you finally break it," he said.

Ms Soh, 27, who said that winning the Young Journalist title took her by surprise, felt "very privileged to be in a newsroom where editors are very supportive and colleagues are both smart and helpful".

She found her niche in commodities through an overseas reporting trip to India during her degree programme at Nanyang Technological University; it was at the time of the global food crisis of 2008, and she covered India's agricultural sector.

Her two-year stint at International Enterprise Singapore broadened her understanding of the global agri-commodities industry. "It piqued my interest in the corporate and financial underpinnings of the sector, subsequently leading me to join BT," she said.

She has been with the paper for one-and-a-half years and enjoys her job.

"There's no other job that opens doors for one to meet people from all backgrounds, to listen to their point of view, and to learn new things every day," said the correspondent, who also played a key role in a project to improve work processes in the newsroom.

Mr Chung, recognised for his layout and design for BT's Luxe Christmas 2013 magazine, said that he redesigned the magazine and logo to give it a "fresher and more current look and feel". "I also wanted a design that would epitomise luxury - an idea that the magazine's stories conveyed," he said.

Other winners who were honoured at yesterday's awards included Joyce Lim of The Straits Times who was named Journalist of the Year for her body of work. ST senior correspondent Radha Basu won Feature of the Year for her special report about Singapore's caregivers in The Sunday Times. ST's Rachel Chang took the Commentary of the Year award for her piece, "Weaning S'pore off the Great Man leadership style".

Jonathan Choo of The New Paper won the News Picture of the Year award for his dramatic shot of the chaos at the Little India riot, while Ashleigh Sim of ST took the Feature Picture of the Year prize for the feature headlined "Daughter & Caregiver".