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GMA News Online earns 4 finalist spots in 2020 SOPA Awards

GMA News Online has earned not one, but four finalist spots in the 2020 Society of Publishers Asia Awards for Editorial Excellence.

The special report, "The NU Lady Bulldogs and the Greatest Winning Streak in Philippine Basketball," is a finalist for the Excellence in Reporting on Women’s Issues (Regional) category.

The story by Ceej Tantengco and Mikkel Bolante follows the exploits of the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, who would later win 96 straight games and six straight championships in the country's top collegiate league.

GMA News Online's "A Very Long Summer," on the other hand, is a finalist in the Excellence in Feature Writing (Global) category.

The special report, published in August 2019, highlights the extraordinary ordeals experienced by local farmers who struggle to survive the dry spells that came with the El Niño phenomenon.

Journalists Jessica Bartolome and Dona Magsino spent five months following a group of rice farmers in Morong, Rizal, a couple of hours' drive from Manila to witness the extraordinary ordeals experienced by local farmers as they struggled to survive the dry spells that came with the El Niño phenomenon.

SOPA is also considering another GMA News Online cover story, "The Perils of Fast Fashion," for the Excellence in Explanatory Reporting (Global) category. 

Written by Jannielyn Bigtas with multimedia production by Kaela Malig, it looks at the global supply chain of Fast Fashion brands and why the Philippines has been out of the loop.

Once a major garment exporter to the world, the Philippines' garment industry has experienced a steady downturn since the 1990s.

Finally, the digital election tool developed by GMA News Online called "Stand on Issues" is being considered for the Excellence in Journalistic Innovation (Global) category.

The app enabled netizens to choose their senatorial candidates in the 2019 elections, and simulate how these choices would affect the Senate's legislative agenda if these candidates won.

The GNO team spent six months compiling the stands of all 62 candidates on 11 different national issues, which included reviewing their voting records, sending them questionnaires, interviewing them on the record, and badgering them on the campaign trail just to come up with the most comprehensive database of candidates' responses to the country's key issues.

Only two other Filipino media outlets made it to the finalists of SOPA 2020. Mabuhay Magazine, the inflight read of local carrier Philippine Airlines, is among those competing for Excellence in Magazine Design (Combined Global/Regional category due to not receiving more than 5 entries).

Meanwhile, John Nery for the Philippine Daily Inquirer is among the finalists for Excellence in Opinion Writing (Global).

The SOPA Awards "were established in 1999 as a tribute to editorial excellence in both traditional and new media, and were designed to encourage editorial vitality throughout the region."

This year's winners will be announced via live tweeting and livestreaming on August 26 at 7pm (HK time). — Margaret Claire Layug/LA, GMA News