Empowered – a year on from winning the Young Journalist Award

by Kai Hui Wong, winner of the Young Journalist Award 2021.

One year ago, I woke up and was surprised to find out the great news that I was selected as the winner of Thomson Foundation's Young Journalist Award 2021. This was unthinkable and incredible, as I thought I was just a novice, and it was impossible to receive such prestigious recognition on the global stage.

I worked with a leading online news portal in Malaysia, whose primary focus was on domestic political news. Things that I passionately cover – for instance, environmental issues, gender issues, and investigative reporting are sometimes deemed peripheral and not urgent. The award was an encouraging recognition of my stubbornness and persistence in covering these “peripheral” issues. It was also a reassurance to the editors who supported me by allocating the space and resources for me. I believe my receiving of the award also empowers other young journalists, too.

Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s degree in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies in Taiwan; at the same time, striving to become an independent journalist and continue to write about the issues that matter, with a more particular focus on gender and sexuality. Sometimes, it feels like leaving a giant vessel and still learning to navigate the infinite sea in my small boat.

Receiving the award gave me some confidence to sail further. It brought many precious connections, which led me to broader opportunities to work with journalists, newsrooms and organisations that care about ethical and quality journalism.

Given the authoritarianism resurging in certain Asian countries, I would also like to send a word to all young and veteran journalists working in similar or even more challenging news environments: Let’s hang on. Let’s continue to hold the line together.


For more information on this year's Young Journalist Award finalists, please see this page. The winner will be announced on November 28th 2022.



Related content


Revealing the 2022 Young Journalist Award finalists 

Meet this year's YJA finalists



Persistence pays off

Meet our 2021 Young Journalist winner, 
Kai Hui Wong from Malaysia



The compassionate face of Peru

Meet our 2020 Young Journalist winner, Martín Leandro Camacho from Peru

Explore our projects across the globe