The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA), a Hong Kong-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to pursuing excellence in journalism, today announced that the SOPA 2021 Awards for Editorial Excellence are open for entries. The deadline for submissions is 3 p.m. Hong Kong time on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

The SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence are the annual flagship awards for the media industry in the region, serving as a regional benchmark for quality, professional journalism.

This year, SOPA will initiate a new award category, the SOPA Award for Young Journalist, which seeks to honor a new generation of reporters who face increasing challenges at a time of economic pressures.

“The SOPA Awards honor best publishing practices and the diversity and breadth of reporting in our region. At a time of significant change to the industry, the Awards aim to support and reward journalists and publishers in their efforts to find new ways of story-telling and to continue to inform the public on important developments, particularly in these times of unprecedented economic challenges,” said Madeleine Lim, Senior Executive Editor Asia at Bloomberg News and Chair of the SOPA Editorial Committee.

“Against that backdrop, we are delighted to introduce a new award category, the SOPA Young Journalist Award, to encourage and support the next generation of journalists.”

In 2020, SOPA presented 91 awards for outstanding journalism at its annual ceremony, which was held virtually for the first time since it was established in 1999. It received over 750 entries across 17 wide ranging categories.

The top award – the SOPA Award for Public Service Journalism – was given to a consortium of organizations – BBC Indonesia, Jakarta Post, Tirto and VICE Indonesia – for its reporting on sexual assault on university campuses.

For the SOPA 2021 Awards, media will compete in 18 categories (full list below). SOPA encourages entries from both large and small media publications with entries classified by the breadth of coverage (global or regional/local) and language (English or Chinese).

The judging panel comprises industry professionals from the region’s most influential media organizations, leading journalism schools, and past award winners. For the past decade, the SOPA Awards have been administered by the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, now known as HKU Journalism.

Entries must have a substantial emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region and reflect significant journalistic efforts conducted in the Asia-Pacific region. For the purposes of the Awards, the Asia-Pacific region is defined to include the region of Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics in addition to the Indian subcontinent, North Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands. Iraq, Iran and the Middle East are not included in this definition.

Submissions, eligibility details and application information can be found at www.sopawards.com. The finalists will be announced in May 2021, and the winners in June 2021.

In line with its mission to support editorial excellence, The Google News Initiative, will once again subsidize first-time/new entrants. Each media organization can submit a maximum of five entries, paying HKD$200 (USD$25) per entry. Subsidies are limited, and entrants are encouraged to apply early.

In addition, SOPA is offering a 40% discount on the 2021 SOPA membership fee which is applicable on up to five award entries.

2021 Award Categories

  • Excellence in Reporting on Women’s Issues
  • Excellence in Journalistic Innovation
  • Excellence in Video Reporting
  • Excellence in Human Rights Reporting
  • Excellence in Feature Writing
  • Excellence in Magazine Design
  • Excellence in Arts and Culture Reporting
  • Excellence in Explanatory Reporting
  • Excellence in Business Reporting
  • Excellence in Information Graphics
  • Excellence in Reporting Breaking News
  • Excellence in Opinion Writing
  • Excellence in Reporting on the Environment
  • Excellence in Photography
  • The Scoop Award
  • Excellence in Investigative Reporting
  • SOPA Award for Public Service Journalism
  • SOPA Award for Young Journalists

The SOPA 2021 Awards are supported by Google News Initiative and PR Partner, Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

About SOPA

The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) is a Hong Kong based not-for-profit organisation that was founded in 1982 to champion freedom of the press, promote excellence in journalism and endorse best practices for all local and regional publishing platforms in the Asia Pacific region.

Today, SOPA is the voice of Asia’s media and publishing industry, and continues to work to uphold media standards and freedoms while celebrating and supporting professional journalism and publishing. The SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence are the annual, flagship awards, serving as a regional benchmark for quality, professional journalism.

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