Message from the Acting Chairman of the Editorial Awards Committee

After the success of the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence in 2006, when the number of entries increased by about 50% to 457, it seemed possible that growth might slow for a while. In the event, however, we received a record 508 entries from 82 publications this year, taking the awards past the milestone of 500 in only their ninth year.

The continuing growth in the number of entries reflects increasing awareness of the awards amongst both English and Chinese language journalists, together with rising interest in their role in setting a quality benchmark for journalistic excellence across the region.

It would be hard to find a more eclectic range of competitors. The winners this year included newspapers and magazines circulating across the continent, English dailies and magazines from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, a Chinese language website, and Chinese language newspapers and magazines from Taiwan and mainland China as well as Hong Kong.

But the SOPA awards are not just about the prize winners. Every publication that enters gains through exposure to the best of Asia's journalism. And SOPA's role in showcasing reporting on controversial issues such as human rights, government activity and environmental degradation sends a powerful signal of support for free speech in a region where the concept is still not universally accepted.

These awards take almost a year to plan and prepare. Most of the work is done by volunteer journalists, with the help of SOPA's small Secretariat, and one of the issues to be decided about next year's awards will be whether the process has now grown too big to be run on this basis. The large number of entries, while very gratifying, is also putting pressure on our team of volunteer judges, who are mostly journalists or academics with full-time jobs.

In the meantime, I should like to thank the Secretariat, the editorial committee members and the judges, headed by David Plott, for the time and effort that made 2007 another excellent year in the life of these awards.


Kevin Brown

Editorial Awards Committee Acting Chairman