Coconuts wins top SOPA award in investigative reporting

Coconuts Media won top honors for Excellence in Investigative Reporting at the Society of Publishers in Asia 2020 Awards for Excellence in Investigative Reporting for the feature story “Primitive Technology and the bizarre depths of YouTube in Southeast Asia.”

The announcement came Wednesday night during the awards ceremony — a benchmark in prestige and quality for journalism in the region — which was a livestreamed event this year.

“This was one of the most engaging and impactful entries and makes for fascinating reading and watching,” wrote the judges in their decision.

Coconuts was up against CNA and Myanmar Now in the regional investigative reporting category.

The reporting and drafting of the feature series was a joint effort by Anand Mathai, Chad Williams, Yon Sineat, and Andrew Nachemson.

The two-part Primitive Technology series explores a disturbing YouTube trend of videos featuring young boys voraciously eating wildlife with an uncomfortable focus on the act and sound of chewing. While this type of video could have been dismissed as some random content on YouTube, further investigation revealed that these types of videos had millions of views and there were entire channels dedicated to this type of content.

“By putting the spotlight on this disturbing corner of the Internet, Coconuts helped to raise awareness about unregulated aspects of YouTube that can facilitate abuse and child pornography, among other things. Good legwork and followup and a presentation that leaves the reader wanting to know more. Truly a fascinating deep dive into the depths of the Internet,” the judges said.