It was an extremely proud moment for the entire Coconuts team on Thursday night as Jacob Goldberg, managing editor for Coconuts Yangon, took home an award for Excellence in Opinion Writing at the 19th annual SOPA Awards in Hong Kong.
Goldberg’s piece, which took Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to task for turning a blind eye to the crime of wartime rape by government soldiers, was argued “persuasively and with passion” and showed “the power of excellent opinion writing to challenge the powerful to live up to their ideals,” according to a judging panel comprised of top journalism figures from around the region.
The silver medal for the op-ed marks the third year in a row that Coconuts has left the awards gala with a prize, following last year’s win in the Feature Photography category for “A Portrait of Mui Thomas” by then-Coconuts Hong Kong editor Laurel Chor, and a 2015 honorable mention for feature writing for “Hidden in Plain Sight” by our Coconuts Bangkok team.
Coconuts founder and CEO Byron Perry, who made the trip to Hong Kong along with Goldberg, was beaming after the awards.
“It’s an honor for an upstart digital media organization like ours to be recognized by the venerable peers of the Society of Publishers in Asia. Jacob did a fantastic job with this important opinion piece and deserves all the plaudits,” he said. “Recognition like this only inspires our team to never stop raising the bar for our coverage.”
The Society of Publishers in Asia has been presenting the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence since 1999. The top opinion prize at last night’s awards show, which featured a keynote address by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, went to Zheng Jiawen for his editorial “Little Pinkos and the Problem of Patriotism and China” for Sixth Tone.