The Winning Edge

Matthew Mohan (CS’17), Yeo Sze-G (CS’20) and Amanda Bambby Cheuk (CS’20) went the extra mile in their field of work and were each rewarded with wins in various competitions in the last year.

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When CNA Digital reporter Matthew Mohan (CS’17) first turned up for his football match assignments with a camera and long lens in hand, he drew quizzical looks from fellow reporters. Afterall, in local media, the lines are clear – reporters write the story, photojournalists provide the pictures.

But Mohan wanted more out of his stories. He not only wanted to write his stories, but the 27-year-old also wanted to provide the accompanying photos.

His drive translated into him winning the Story of the Year at the Football Association of Singapore’s annual awards night in October last year, for his account of footballer Lionel Tan's decision to interrupt his National Service stint to challenge for a spot in 2019 SEA Games team.

On top of that, he was also one of three nominees for the Photo of the Year award.

Said Mohan of his win: “At CNA, we’re always looking to tell deeper, richer stories, and this feature was an example of that.

“While I would obviously have liked to win both awards, the nomination for photo of the year was equally sweet because it was a validation of all the work that I had put in to develop my shooting skills.

“Hopefully I’ll win that one this year. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of sports photography as I felt it would be a useful skillset to add value to my match reports and features.

“This was something I raised early on to my bosses when I joined CNA, and they have been supportive in allowing me to add this skill to my repertoire.”

Yeo Sze-G (CS’20) and her fellow WKWSCI schoolmates Loh Yun Jin (CS’21) and Dewey Sim (CS’19) recently emerged as finalists in the Young Art Journalism Awards organised by ART News Portal with their written and multimedia piece on “Telling Stories Through Love”.

“I didn’t expect it to be among the finalists. As a team, we feel very humbled. This was my first journalism experience and you could say we took a stab at it.”

Yeo Sze-G (CS’20), finalist in the Young Art Journalism Awards

Yeo and team’s story shed light on an independent zine titled "MEANTIME" from alumni Chong Kai Yan and Pang Xue Qiang (both CS’17) was published in a recent issue of the WKWSCI Alumni Magazine and was one of three story packages that were in the running for the overall winner at the awards.

Yeo said that despite not winning the top prize, she and her team were elated especially since it was her first time working on a journalism piece.

“I didn’t expect it to be among the finalists. As a team, we feel very humbled. This was my first journalism experience and you could say we took a stab at it. I joined the online magazine practicum to challenge myself and it was a very memorable experience and a steep learning curve,” said the 23-year-old.

For Amanda Bambby Cheuk (CS’20), the dive into the deep end was a literal one.

Taking on the issue of coral bleaching, her essay on how scientists are trying to rescue coral reefs, which are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, won her the 2nd runner up award in the open category of the Asian Scientist Writing Prize 2019 who organised this last December.

The win, which earned her $2000 in cash prize, beat most of the 448 other entries from all over Asia.

Her environmental piece was an extension of her photo essay on coral degradation which was published in Deep Dive Okinawa, a publication under the WKWSCI's journalism programme, Going Overseas For Advanced Reporting.

To learn more about the coral reefs and to capture videos and photos for her tasks, Cheuk took on a two-hour crash course in diving upon landing in Okinawa, Japan.

Said Cheuk, 23 : “I had only ever gone snorkelling before and here I was learning how to dive in two hours just so I could take photos and videos for my project.

On her award, she added: “I was definitely very surprised and I didn’t quite know the scale of the awards until I got there. Most of the entries came from all over Asia and they were graduates or PhD students.

“The organisers told me that the way I wrote my essay was well communicated and it was very readable. Then I realised that my perspective of not being a scientific expert allowed me to simplify the story.” 

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