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Two VOA Features Honored by the Society of Professional Journalists

VOA stringer Heidi Chang accepts the SPJ awards
VOA stringer Heidi Chang accepts the SPJ awards

Voice of America editor Faith Lapidus and stringer Heidi Chang have been honored by the Hawaii chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists for two intriguing features they collaborated on last year. The stories were finalists in the 2014 General News/Enterprise Reporting and the Feature Reporting categories.

The Aloha State, undoubtedly home to some of the world’s most unique, exquisite plants, is also home to nearly 40 percent of the plants on the endangered species list. One of the winning features by VOA’s Lapidus and Chang focuses on a Hawaii botanist’s determination to save the island’s rarest plants. The second story centers on a Hawaiian voyaging canoe that was set to sail around the world last year by means of wayfinding. The ancient art of wayfinding, or traveling without instruments, has been part of an effort to help create a more ecological world and inspire a younger generation of navigators.

The winners were decided by judges from the Kansas City Press Club and the Connecticut Chapter of SPJ. One of the judges commented on the voyaging canoe story, saying, “An excellent job. Intriguing subject that takes the listener back through history, conjuring vivid images of a human technology of sorts based on nature guided only by the stars, winds, waves, birds and other signs of nature.”

As an editor in VOA’s News Center, Faith works on multimedia features, and Heidi, who is currently based in Hawaii, works on Americana radio features for the Voice of America.

Comprising nearly 10,000 members nationwide including broadcast, print, and online journalists, journalism professors and students, the Society of Professional Journalists is a non-profit organization founded to protect the rights of journalists.