It was a night of new names, and some not so new, in the sports writing, editing and website categories at the BT Sport-sponsored British Sports Journalism Awards staged at the Lancaster London
Take a bow, Daniel Taylor, Alan Dymock, Alastair Down, James Olley, Daniel Johnson, Sky Sports and Racing UK … Welcome to the Roll of Honour of British sports journalism.
They’re all first-time winners in the writing and multi-media categories of the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Journalism 2015 Awards – the highest honours in our business and celebrated in champagne style at the gala dinner at the London Lancaster Hotel tonight.
The Sports Writer of the Year, chosen by a panel of national and regional heads of sport and sports editors, is Paul Hayward (who won the award in 1996 and 2012), and the Daily Mail was voted by a similar panel as Sports Newspaper of the Year for the third successive year.
Taylor is the SJA’s Football Journalist of the Year for his work for The Guardian (he’s in his 17th year there) and The Observer. One of the judges in this category commented: “Taylor’s work is exceptional. It’s deep, it’s well-informed, and it’s easy to read.”
Dymock, features writer for Rugby World, is the Rugby Journalist of the Year. He joined Rugby World in 2013 after freelancing for the magazine and The Scotsman. His 2015 portfolio of work was, in the words of one of the judges, “full of fresh ideas, even though he was competing in Rugby World Cup year with a big and talented range of correspondents on the nationals”.
Down, the Ladbrokes Specialist Correspondent of the Year (a category for journalists not writing on football, cricket or rugby), has been a columnist for The Racing Post since the demise of The Sporting Life in 1998 (and was a regular on Channel 4 Racing for many years).
“His writing is very personal,” said one of the judges. “He catches the mainstream and the undercurrents of racing in a way that appeals not just to the racing audience but also to people who just want to read good writing.”
James Olley, of London’s Evening Standard, is the Regional Sports Journalist of the Year and Daniel Johnson, of the Telegraph, is the 2015 Young Sports Writer of the Year.
And there was an old name, but a very fresh face, announced as the winner of the Student Sports Writer Award: teenager James Lorenzo, studying at Durham University, is the son of sports broadcaster Matthew Lorenzo and grandson of Peter Lorenzo, the former football commentator and head of BBC Sport. But his sports writing already speaks for itself.
Racing UK won the Specialist Sports Website category, and Sky Sports’ overage of the Ashes series headed the Multi-Media Sports Packages.
Tom Clarke, the chairman of the judges of the writing awards, said: “It is a sign of the talent in the ever-changing nature of our business that we have new names on the podium.
“But the judges have also recognised the continuing excellence of the journalists who, year in, year out, delight us. Paul Hayward, Mike Atherton, Matt Lawton, David Walsh, Matthew Syed and the Sunday Times’ investigative team lead the way in making sport hugely important in our newspapers’ print and on-line versions.”
There was a record entry of 219 for the 15 categories in the writing, website and multi-media awards. They were assessed by a panel of 94 judges, drawn mainly from national and regional sports journalists, distinguished journalists in other fields and sportspeople.
Clarke praised the diligence of the judges and noted the range of their verdicts. “As examples, there were votes for 22 of the 30 entrants for the Specialist Correspondent, while there was total unanimity among the judges for the Scoop of the Year and near-total agreement for Investigative Reporter.
“As with all awards, there are differing opinions. However, the judges’ decision has to be final. The judges can judge only what it is in front of them and what they know at the time.”
The SJA Winners 2015
SJA Sports Writer of the Year
Paul Hayward – The Telegraph
SJA Sports Newspaper of the Year
Winner: Michael Atherton – The Times
Highly Commended: Nick Hoult – The Telegraph
Highly Commended: Jonathan Liew – The Telegraph
Winner: Daniel Taylor – The Guardian
Highly Commended: Oliver Kay – The Times
Highly Commended: Jeremy Wilson – The Telegraph
Investigative Sports Reporter
Winner: Jonathan Calvert, George Arbuthnot, David Collins, The Insight Team – Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Owen Gibson – The Guardian
Highly Commended: Jeremy Wilson – The Telegraph
Laureus Sports Website
Winner: The Guardian
Highly Commended: The Telegraph
Highly Commended: The Times
Multi-Media Sports Package
Winner: Sky Sports – The Ashes
Highly Commended: The Telegraph – Rugby World Cup
Regional Sports Journalist
Winner: James Olley – Evening Standard
Highly Commended: Chris Wathan – Media Wales
Highly Commended: William Watt –The Gazette (Blackpool)
Winner: Alan Dymock – Rugby World
Highly Commended: Mick Cleary – The Telegraph
Highly Commended: Rob Kitson – The Guardian
Special Sports Edition
Winner: Sunday Times – England’s exit from the Rugby World Cup
Highly Commended: Bath Chronicle
High Commended: Rugby World
Ladbrokes Specialist Correspondent
Winner: Alastair Down – Racing Post
Highly Commended: Martha Kelner – Mail on Sunday / Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Lee Mottershead – Racing Post
Specialist Sports Website
Winner: Racing UK
Winner: Matthew Syed – The Times
Highly Commended: Matt Dickinson – The Times
Highly Commended: Paul Hayward – The Telegraph
Sports Feature Writer
Winner: David Walsh – The Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Martin Samuel – Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Matthew Syed – The Times
Sports News Reporter
Winner: Matt Lawton – Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday
Highly Commended: Ben Rumsby – The Telegraph
Highly Commended: Charles Sale – Daily Mail
Winner: Jonathan Calvert, George Arbuthnot, David Collins, The Insight Team – Sunday Times “Doping Scandal: Sport’s Dirtiest Secrets”
Highly Commended: Matt Law – The Telegraph
“Eva Carneiro braced for axe from Chelsea bench”
Highly Commended: Martyn Ziegler – Press Association
“Fifa in fresh turmoil”
Ian Wooldridge Young Sports Writer of the Year
Winner: Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph
Highly Commended: Teddy Cutler – Freelance
Highly Commended: Jack Gaughan – Daily Mail / Mail Online
David Welch Student Sports Writer of the Year
Winner: James Lorenzo, Durham University
Highly Commended: Dan Godfrey, Huddersfield University
Highly Commended: Charlie Wood, St Andrew’s University
- Rights-free images from tonight’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport, are available from Getty Images.
- For media enquiries regarding the SJA awards, contact Tom Knight – 07836 298874
- The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details
- This year, the SJA’s nominated good cause is The Journalists’ Charity. To find out more and how you can donate on a one-off or regular basis, go to www.journalistscharity.org.uk
UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
- Mon Mar 7: SJA Diversity Forum, sponsored by BT Sport
- Wed May 11: VIP York Race Day, sponsored by Ladbrokes