British Sports Journalism Awards 2018: broadcast goes from strength to strength

Chairman of broadcast judges, PHILIP BARKER, provides a flavour of the entries which have made it to the shortlists 

With a record number of entries, and more categories than ever before, our SJA broadcast awards have really come of age in the last 12 months.

The broadcast journalist category attracted its biggest entry so far. The short list includes BBC’s Richard Conway, a winner in 2015 and 2017, with a versatile portfolio which included his work from Russia 2018 and also recalled the first world war heroism of footballer Walter Tull, who fell on the killing fields in France.

Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports News had the grim task of reporting the Leicester City helicopter tragedy.

Des Kelly

The lot of the non-rights holding reporter has its own logistical challenges but the likes of Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes managed to find original ways to tell the story, often from a cold “grassy knoll”. Yes they really do call it that!

At the Champions League final, BT Sport’s Des Kelly asked his “annual question” about Gareth Bale’s future and on a separate occasion he even received a hug from Jose Mourinho.

Clare Balding, 2012 broadcast winner, presented Channel Four’s paralympic coverage with the added complication of delivering lines while going down a ski slope.

Sunset and Vine’s presentation of sailing, not always the easiest sport for the uninitiated to appreciate, earned them a place in the broadcast production stakes alongside the likes of Sky Sports Cricket and the Beeb’s World Cup coverage from Russia. Another group of death if ever there was one.

Our new category recognising the sports pundit has already thrown up some fascinating confrontations including former Crystal Palace chairman turned talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan’s memorable exchange with PFA boss Gordon Taylor.

Alex Scott and Alan Shearer are also short listed for their work in the football pundits chair and on the side of the pitch.


ITV’s stylish coverage of Royal Ascot is one of the nominees for sport live television in a summer when the World Cup dominated the screens. ITV had the penalty shoot out against Colombia and captured all the tension around the occasion.

The Beeb’s Guy Mowbray and ITV’s Clive Tyldesley both made the shortlist in a competitive commentator competition which included past winners John Murray (2016) and Mike Costello(2014) from BBC 5Live.

Sky Sports News presenter Mike Wedderburn showed there was more to that job than simply reading autocue when he fronted a moving feature on racial discrimination in baseball.

It was just one aspect of the darker side of sport. Al Jazeera’s offerings on the abuse of aspiring young footballers by coach Barry Bennell was uncomfortable yet well produced and is shortlisted in the television sport factual or feature.

Jason McAteer gave a brutally honest look at his own demons in Liverpool Football Club’s Through the storm. Not the usual club TV fare by any means and worthy of a place in our list.


On talkSPORT Gary Bloom explored similar themes and was fascinating to listen to. A familiar voice as a commentator, Bloom has also trained as a  psychotherapist and is nominated for the first time in our radio sport factual category and has also offered advice to SJA members.

Our television factual section took us from Newcastle to the Nou Camp in a documentary on Bobby Robson by Noah Media Group which offered some fresh insights into the career of a real football man.

On live radio, talkSPORT’s return to the coverage of test match cricket had an England victory to report in Sri Lanka. Their coverage included Jarrod Kimber, one half of the team which made Death of a Gentleman an SJA award winner in 2015.

When the sports broadcast awards were first introduced some 15 years ago, they were chosen by a members’ vote. Now, with the support of all the major broadcasters, a large and diverse judging panel has ensured they are fast becoming the prize to win in sport broadcasting.