Singapore, 7 Sep 2012 – The Straits Times National Spelling Championship won the top award for the best newspaper event in the 2012 PANPA Awards announced yesterday. PANPA is the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association.
The Straits Times, the flagship paper of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), narrowly missed a second top award in the digital news destination (mobile or app) category, which saw the top "mobile or app" award going to the Australian Financial Review. The Straits Times' mobile site, along with SPH's AsiaOne iPhone site, were given "highly commended" runner-up awards.
Four other SPH entries were also finalists in other categories:
1) Digital News Destination (Metropolitan / National) - straitstimes.com and AsiaOne websites
2) Digital News Destination (Specialty & Niche Website or Apps open category) - AsiaOne "Your Health" website and The Straits Times RazorTV video entitled "Search for Turfbelle 2012".
PANPA is a not-for-profit association founded in 1969 with a vision of engaging, inspiring, and raising the standards of newspapers. Its membership is made up of newspaper companies in Australia and New Zealand, plus most English-language newspapers in South-East Asia and the South Pacific. The winners were announced at the gala dinner held last night at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The PANPA Awards focus on newspapers, digital platforms, photography, marketing and excellence in print and production, with more than 1,000 entries received this year. The results were determined by a total of 78 judges from the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Warren Fernandez, Editor of The Straits Times, said: "It is an honour for our products and events to be recognised by our peers in an established association such as PANPA. We have won awards over the years and these latest wins reinforce our position as a leading newspaper in the region. The awards remind us of the need to continue striving to serve our readers well across platforms - in print, online, mobile, as well as events."
Mr Patrick Daniel, SPH's Editor-in-Chief of English and Malay Newspapers, and who also oversees SPH's AsiaOne portal, added: "These are difficult times for newspaper companies everywhere. Our latest awards underline SPH's determination to stay on top of our game - by strengthening our print franchises while at the same time developing our digital offerings. We believe we are well-positioned for the future."
The Straits Times National Spelling Championship
Organised jointly with the RHB Banking Group for the first time, and in partnership with the Ministry of Education, The Straits Times National Spelling Championship drew a record 1,200 spellers from some 130 primary schools in the preliminary round held on 10 March, nearly double the number in the previous contests held under the Ministry of Education banner. The nail-biting finals saw 29 top spellers battling it out before a large audience on 28 April.
The aim of the contest was to develop a greater appreciation of spelling in literacy development among primary school pupils, as well as to help promote a healthy competitive spirit.
In the lead-up to the contest, The Straits Times engaged students on various fronts and across different multi-media platforms through a range of outreach activities:
- It ran a special eight-part series featuring spelling tips in the Little Red Dot, a weekly magazine for primary school pupils, which comes with the Straits Times.
- It promoted the contest over radio, with HOT FM91.3 playing on-air spelling games, and its deejays visiting selected schools to help raise awareness of the competition and holding spelling games as part of its Recess Express programme.
- An online site featured a spelling game, and videos of the competition rounds filmed by ST’s multimedia portal RazorTV were uploaded on its website to reach out to a wider audience.
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About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.
Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing
In Singapore, SPH publishes 18 newspaper titles in four languages. On an average day, 2.92 million individuals or 74 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.
Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 330 million page views with 18 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH's online and new media initiatives include an online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; Stomp, omy.sg, and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH also launched The Straits Times’ iPad and enhanced iPhone applications, an Android smartphone application and The Business Times Weekend's iPad application. SPH's Chinese flagship newspaper Lianhe Zaobao has also launched its digital platforms which include a web application, as well as online and PDF versions.
SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations UFM 100.3 in Mandarin, as well as Kiss92 and HOT FM91.3 in English.
Events and Out-of-Home Advertising
SPH’s events subsidiary Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s leading Digital Out-of-Home advertising company.
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping belt. Its latest retail development, The Clementi Mall, started business operations in 2011. SPH's wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, has also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.