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33 Deserving Students Win SPH Scholarships (BT)

BackJul 17, 2012

Inaugural SPH-MDA Scholarship awarded to develop media professionals

WITH Twitter and Facebook updates increasingly serving as sources of news for Singaporeans, would the job of a journalist eventually be rendered obsolete?

Not if newspapers make themselves indispensable to readers who care about their local environment, according to Lee Boon Yang, chairman of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and SPH Foundation.

Acknowledging the opportunities and threats that digital technologies are posing to newspapers, Dr Lee noted that there was a need to adapt to such rapid technological changes in the media industry, including the proliferation of social media. Thus, "today's journalists have to be quick at capturing the essence of news and delivering them to readers succinctly across multiple media platforms, be it print, online or mobile", said Dr Lee at this year's SPH scholarship awards presentation ceremony held yesterday.

"SPH will always need people who are passionate and talented to take up the challenge. This is why we invest in our journalism scholars as well as provide for continuing education for serving journalists," he added.

As such, nine Journalism Scholarships were awarded at this year's SPH scholarship awards. This includes the inaugural SPH-MDA (Media Development Authority) Scholarship awarded under the Media Education Scheme by the MDA to develop media professionals and future industry leaders.

The first recipient of the scholarship is Yunita Santoso Ong, who will be reading journalism at Northwestern University. Ms Ong said that she was keen on a liberal arts education as she felt that a journalist had to understand things from different perspectives. She added that her internship at The Straits Times' Money desk had further confirmed her interest in journalism as she enjoyed making technical terms "come to life" and writing on issues that affect people as well as providing them with new insight.

Indeed, Dr Lee remarked that "journalists do not just inform, but can also help people to make sense of . . . mega trends that are sweeping across the globe". He noted that it was especially crucial for a small city-state such as Singapore to keep abreast of such global events "in an interconnected and competitive world" as it is "vulnerable to every shift and change that takes place in the global market". Hence, Dr Lee stressed, "it is imperative for our newspapers to report what is relevant and important to Singaporeans, while continuing to be factual, insightful and balanced".

Eight other SPH Journalism Scholarships were presented to students heading to both local and overseas universities. One such scholar is Annabeth Carolynn Rebecca Leow Hui Min, who will be reading political science and feminist studies at Stanford University. Ms Leow said that she was glad that her stint as an intern at The Straits Times' Life! section afforded her the opportunity to meet and work with many journalists whom she regarded highly, noting that she had particularly enjoyed working on a cover story on studio apartments for the elderly with a senior correspondent.

Nine others were awarded the SPH Foundation Lim Kim San Memorial Scholarship. These bond-free scholarships enable deserving students from low-income families to further their language studies degree programmes at local universities.

One recipient of the award is Ng Wen Hang, who is studying linguistics & multilingual studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Ms Ng said that she was grateful for the scholarship as it lightened her financial burden, adding that she hoped to "give back to society by helping those with special needs", such as working with children with language disorders.

Thirty-three scholarships were awarded in total, 13 of which went to children of SPH staff while another two went to children of newspaper vendors.