Google in Asia

“I realized the greatest pain in life is to be invisible, to be forgotten”

The phrase in the headline is what motivated this year’s winner of the AAJA Asia Google Digital Journalism Student Award: Bobby C. Chan

It’s the second year for AAJA Asia’s awards for innovative mobile and digital storytelling in our region. This year, we wanted to support the work of journalists-to-be, encourage and provide a platform to help these young future professionals find an audience. We didn’t impose any specific parameters, we simply encouraged undergraduate students to unleash their creativity. The AAJA Asia’s panel of veteran journalists from across Asia and the U.S. chose Bobby and his team for http://streetwonder.org/

Its text, photos, videos, infographics, illustration and podcasts all shed light from different angles on the challenges facing underprivileged children in a Hong Kong neighborhood notorious for its sex trade and drug trafficking.
"Feather of Hope" - Street Wonder Series

"Feather of Hope" - Street Wonder Series

“Spending 40 days with these street children, I realized that the greatest pain in life is to be invisible, is to be forgotten,” said Bobby. “Winning this award reminds me what a privilege it is, as a journalist, to be heard, and to have a voice that reflects the truth. I want to thank all the children and families who welcomed me into their world.”

Two months after Street Wonder began circulating online, Bobby’s team received a phone call from Disneyland Hong Kong, saying it would give hundreds of VIP tickets for the street children in Yau Tsim Mong district to visit the theme park for a weekend in March 2016.

Shortly after that, a Hong-Kong-based angel investor shared with Bobby her wish to set up a foundation and campaign for the street children. Later, she revealed that she too had once been a street child in Mongkok.

"It was never our goal to have these stories to reach this level of impact," says Bobby, "rather, it is a simple mission we embody as aspiring journalists to shed light into the dark. We are beyond grateful that this digital story has come to light in the AAJA-Asia Google Digital Journalism Award."

As part of his award, Bobby will attend this year’s Society of Publishers Award (SPOA) Gala Dinner and represent his region at a Global Editors Network summit in Vienna next year. Bobby will also join this year’s Google News Lab Asia Summit in Tokyo in the end of June to share his experience on digital skills and education for young journalist professionals across the region.