journalism awards

Regional reporting on pangolin trafficking wins 2 SOPA awards

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Rappler is among 14 newsrooms across Asia, Africa, and Europe that collaborated in 2019 to investigate the illegal pangolin trade

The Pangolin Reports, a news initiative by the Environmental Reporting Collective to investigate the illegal wildlife trade of pangolins across Asia, Africa and Europe, won the Society of Publishers in Asia’s (SOPA) Excellence in Journalistic Innovation Award and Excellence in Reporting on the Environment Award.

SOPA announced the winners of the 2020 awards on Wednesday night, August 26, with The Pangolin Reports winning two awards.

Rappler was among 14 newsrooms across Asia, Africa, and Europe that collaborated in 2019 to investigate the illegal pangolin trade. The collaboration resulted in The Pangolin Reports’ global report, Trafficked to Extinction, as well as local reports done by more than 30 journalists.

Rappler’s Keith Anthony Fabro wrote a two-part series on poaching in Palawan that looked into the role of local officials in saving the Philippine pangolin, and how both national and local governments have not been able to integrate wildlife conservation into their development plans.

A judge in the Reporting on the Environment category commented: “I loved everything about this package – the writing, the ambition, the presentation. It took a subject about which I’d read a few stories in the past and completely opened my mind to what’s happening – which is the definition of excellent journalism.”

“The global piece was deeply informative; the writing from Rappler was superb; and R.AGE’s telling of the story as graphic novel was a tour de force,” the judge said.

Another judge in the Journalistic Innovation category called the Environmental Reporting Collective a “trailblazer,” and said that The Pangolin Reports “is a great illustration of what technology has enabled in the world of journalism.”

“While other entries have focused on technology used in delivery, this one illustrates technologies used in execution – particularly data analysis and online collaboration and communication tools. Inspiring.” –

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