SJA British Sports Journalism Awards 2020: writing shortlist

The writing shortlists for the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery and Canon, are announced today and rubbing shoulders with football journalism’s heavyweights, while also in contention for the Young Sports Journalist of the Year award, is Katie Whyatt of The Athletic.

Whyatt, the women’s football correspondent, is up against colleague Daniel Taylor – four-time winner and 2017 Sports Writer of the Year (John Bromley Trophy) – as well as Telegraph duo Jason Burt and Sam Wallace, Guardian’s Jonathan Liew and Henry Winter of the Times.

Taylor is also on the shortlist in the Sports Feature Writer category which includes Guardian and Observer colleagues Andy Bull and Hannah Jane Parkinson, Racing Post’s Peter Thomas, Molly McElwee of The Telegraph, Riath Al-Samarrai (Daily Mail), Mail on Sunday’s Oliver Holt and Stuart James, also of The Athletic.

The Times and Sunday Times provide five out of eight names in the Sports Columnist category. Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail big-hitters Holt and Martin Samuel are up against David Walsh, James Gheerbrant, Matt Dickinson, Matthew Syed and Mike Atherton. Freelance Isabelle Westbury completes the star-studded short list.

Atherton will also be looking to win the Cricket Journalist award for  the sixth time in seven years but faces opposition from Telegraph’s Nick Hoult and Tim Wigmore, Dean Wilson (Reach PLC), Lawrence Booth (D Mail), Ali Martin of the Guardian and freelance James Wallace.

Martin has also made the shortlist for Sports News Reporter, a category which includes four-time winner Matt Lawton of The Times, and David Conn (Guardian), who has won on three occasions. The Telegraph’s Burt, Jeremy Wilson and Kate Rowan are gunning on three fronts along with Matt Slater of The Athletic and Steve Scott (ITV News).

Former chair Andy Elliott and multiple award winner Matt Lawton (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

The Specialist Correspondent category has been the preserve of the Daily Mail for the last two years so David Coverdale and Jonathan McEvoy will be hoping to extend the run. McEvoy won the award in 2018 with Al-Samarrai following last year. The Sun’s Ben Hunt, Matt Christie (Boxing News), Alan Dawson (Insider) and Nick Hope of the BBC – a bronze medal winner last year – complete a strong line-up.

Boxing News has hogged the Special Sports Edition category and will be aiming to make it five in a row but face competition from The Telegraph (Shutdown), Rugby World (The inclusive and diversity issue), the Daily Mail’s football supplement (The Verdict), Sky Sports (George Floyd 100 days on) and The Telegraph (Women’s sport monthly).

Will there be a new winner in the Rugby Journalist category? Stephen Jones of the Sunday Times took top prize in 2014 and 2016 but he is the only previous winner to make the shortlist. He is joined by colleague Mark Palmer, Guardian pair Michael Aylwin and Rob Kitson, Nik Simon of the Mail on Sunday and The Telegraph’s Daniel Schofield.

The battle for Sports Newspaper is always a hot one. The Telegraph took the title from The Mail last year, who have won five times in seven years.

The Athletic, who have only been in existence in the UK for 18 months, are nominated in the Digital Publisher category along with CNN Sport, Sky Sports, The Coaches’ Voice, The Telegraph and Wales Online. Digital Publisher, formerly Sports Website, recognises all aspects of an organisation’s digital performance including website, app (if applicable) and use of social media.

The Regional Journalist category has six-time winner Jon Colman of the Cumberland News hoping to stop Neil Allen (Portsmouth News, right) making it a hat-trick of titles. Chris Wathan of BBC Wales and 2017 winner, David Dubas-Fisher of Reach PLC, Alex Bywater (Westgate) and Steven Chicken (Huddersfield Examiner) complete the line-up.

And finally the future. Molly Hudson of The Times and Tom Kershaw of The Independent were silver medallists last year. They are joined by Art de Roche (Athletic and Football.London), Chloe Merrell (GiveMeSport), Isaan Khan (Daily Mail), CNN’s Calum Trenaman. And Katie Whyatt, of course.

Colin Bateman, chair of writing judges, said: “There is clearly plenty of life in the old trade yet judging by the feedback from a succession of judges who got in touch. There was genuine pleasure and admiration for the quality, range and originality of the entries in a year when locked down sport tested the ingenuity of our profession.”

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on March 15.

Sports Writer of the Year

The winner of the John Bromley Trophy is selected by a panel of leading figures in sports journalism from journalists on the shortlist of any of the writing categories.


Cricket Journalist
Ali Martin – The Guardian
Dean Wilson – Reach PLC
James Wallace – Freelance
Lawrence Booth – The Daily Mail
Mike Atherton – The Times
Nick Hoult – The Telegraph
Tim Wigmore – The Telegraph

Digital Publisher
CNN Sport
Sky Sports
The Athletic UK
The Coaches’ Voice
The Telegraph
Wales Online

Football Journalist
Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK
Henry Winter – The Times
Jason Burt – The Telegraph
Jonathan Liew – The Guardian
Katie Whyatt – The Athletic UK
Sam Wallace – The Telegraph

Regional Journalist
Alex Bywater – Westgate Sports Agency
Chris Wathan – BBC Sport Wales
David Dubas-Fisher – Reach PLC
Jon Colman – News & Star / The Cumberland News
Neil Allen – Portsmouth News
Steven Chicken – Huddersfield Examiner and Yorkshire Live

Rugby Journalist
Daniel Schofield – The Telegraph
Mark Palmer – The Sunday Times
Michael Aylwin – The Guardian and The Observer
Nik Simon – The Mail on Sunday
Rob Kitson – The Guardian
Stephen Jones – The Sunday Times

Special Sports Edition
Fighting Talk – Boxing News
George Floyd 100 Days On: How Sport Has Fought For Change – Sky Sports
Shutdown – The Telegraph
The Inclusive and Diversity Issue – Rugby World
The Verdict – The Daily Mail
Women’s Sport Monthly – The Telegraph

Specialist Correspondent
Alan Dawson – Insider
Ben Hunt – The Sun
David Coverdale – The Daily Mail
Jonathan McEvoy – The Daily Mail
Matt Christie – Boxing News
Nick Hope – BBC Sport

Sports Columnist
David Walsh – The Sunday Times
Isabelle Westbury – Freelance
James Gheerbrant – The Times
Martin Samuel – The Daily Mail
Matt Dickinson – The Times
Matthew Syed – The Times
Mike Atherton – The Times
Oliver Holt – The Mail on Sunday

Sports Feature Writer
Andy Bull – The Guardian and The Observer
Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK
Hannah Jane Parkinson – The Guardian and The Observer
Molly McElwee – The Telegraph
Oliver Holt – Mail on Sunday
Peter Thomas – Racing Post
Riath Al-Samarrai – The Daily Mail
Stuart James – The Athletic UK

Sports News Reporter
Ali Martin – The Guardian
David Conn – The Guardian
Jason Burt – The Telegraph
Jeremy Wilson – The Telegraph
Kate Rowan – The Telegraph
Matt Lawton – The Times
Matt Slater – The Athletic UK
Steve Scott – ITV News

Sports Newspaper
Daily Mirror
The Daily Mail
The Daily Telegraph
The Guardian
The Mail on Sunday
The Sun
The Sunday Times

Sports Scoop
Haiti FA president accused of sexually abusing young female footballers – Ed Aarons, Romain Molina, Alex Cizmic – The Guardian
Lional Messi breaks silence on transfer saga – Rubén Uría – Goal
Project big picture – Sam Wallace – The Telegraph
Rugby’s dementia crisis – Andy Bull & Michael Aylwin – The Guardian
Stars allege abuse at heart of British Gymnastics – Steve Scott – ITV News
Stars’ phone records ‘fixed’ – Matt Lawton – The Times

Young Sports Journalist
Art de Roche – The Athletic UK and Football.London
Calum Trenaman – CNN
Chloe Merrell – GiveMeSport Women
Isaan Khan – Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday
Katie Whyatt – The Athletic UK
Molly Hudson – The Times
Tom Kershaw – The Independent