Bantock’s success at AIPS Sport Media Awards in Spain delivers proud father-son moment

Jack Bantock won first prize in the Young Reporters Writing category at the sixth annual AIPS Awards, held in Santa Susanna; the CNN digital producer was one of three UK entries to reach the final stage of the competition; he talks to the SJA alongside his father who’s no stranger to a sports presentation ceremony…

By Jon Holmes

Jack Bantock collects his award from AIPS President Gianni Merlo at the ceremony in Spain

Having not expected to be asked for a speech, Jack Bantock was unprepared as he addressed the audience at the AIPS Sport Media Awards.

However, the winner of the Young Reporters Writing category found the right words, just as he did last year on a tight deadline when constructing the article that would ultimately bring him international industry recognition.

From the stage, Bantock thanked his team at CNN Sport, where he works as a digital producer specialising in golf. His successful entry was a fascinating feature on the history of Black caddies at The Masters, bringing hidden Augusta stories to new audiences and putting memories of past tournaments in a modern context.

Powerfully, Bantock got to share the moment in Santa Susanna, near Barcelona, with his biggest supporter too. “Dad, I’m only here because of you,” he said from the stage, squinting in the spotlight.

Watch the announcement of the Young Reporters Writing category, from 51:00 on the YouTube replay

Speaking to Jack and his father Mark afterwards, it’s immediately evident that their mutual love for sports is an additional superglue to their family bond.

Mark is a former England international bowls captain and two-time Commonwealth Games medalist. Jack may not have followed him onto the lawns but they do share a strong passion for supporting Chelsea – he even gave the Blues a shout-out at the end of his speech.

The 26-year-old concedes he wasn’t too familiar with AIPS before the awards process began last year – it was Jack’s editor at CNN, John Sinnott, who submitted the entry on his behalf – but he was quickly brought up to speed when the category longlists came out in mid-March.

“I was honestly really happy just to get nominated, not wanting to sound too humble about it,” he says.

“I probably only realised how big the AIPS Awards are when people at work started saying well done to me. It’s hard to know how important these things are until you’re there!”

His winning entry, titled ‘For nearly 50 years, only Black men caddied The Masters. One day, they all but vanished’, was published on the opening day of the 2023 tournament at Augusta National.

“The whole idea behind the article was not that these caddies have been forgotten, but that they don’t get remembered to the level that they should,” he explains.

“I put a lot of time in and really cared about it. A lot of people read the story too, and it’s a little odd to get all three of those.

“There are sometimes those sort of ‘crocodile on a golf course’ stories that don’t require as much effort but do get a lot of reads. So the caddies story felt like a rare one.”

Bantock has hit his stride in golf content since joining CNN. He started there as an intern, having done an NCTJ fast track course after reading history at Warwick.

There is a high standard to meet within their Sport department, who took the Digital Publisher title at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards galas held in both 2021 and 2022.

“That’s the one we always go for and care about,” says Bantock. “We’re not a very big team either so to have won it back-to-back in those years was a major achievement.” 

Meanwhile, dad Mark was quite rightly beaming with pride to see his son scoop such a major honour early on in his sports media career.

Having originally encouraged Jack to apply for the NCTJ course and always there for chats and readthroughs, it was a special occasion for him too.

“I’ve never, ever felt as caught up in the moment,” he said. “It was amazing for me, probably even more than for Jack. It’s unbelievably emotional to see and witness that.”

Along with the impressive award trophy, Jack wins an AIPS scholarship at a top international event.

Also at the AIPS Awards representing the UK, Sam Barnes was runner-up in the Photography Sport Action category.

Barnes, who is from Reading but who works for Dublin-based agency Sportsfile, was recognised for his entry ‘Falling Femke’, an image of Femke Bol of the Netherlands during the mixed 4x400m relay at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Returning to the podium once more in the Documentary category was Louis Myles, who won bronze this year.

Previously a two-time winner, Myles’ entry this time was ‘Mighty Penguins’ which won the silver medal at the recent SJA 2023 Awards. The film follows the coach of Brentford Penguins FC and his players, all of whom have Down’s Syndrome. 

Myles was named on the AIPS entry alongside his fellow producer-director on the short film, Ahmed Twaij.

AIPS Sport Media Awards news index (AIPS Media)

The SJA is interested in your sports media industry news and views. Keen to reach an engaged audience, including over 70,000 followers across social media? We welcome your enquiries – contact us here. We also offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

For information on how to apply as a Full or Associate Member of the SJA, plus details of our free-to-enter SJA Academy, click here.