The day after the night before and all our 2016 SJA British Sports Journalism Award winners have had time to let their success sink in. Committee member JON BATHAM reflects on a gala occasion.
Empathy, excellence and earthy cold-nosed realism – all part of an SJA awards evening without an Oscars-style faux pas in sight.
In the shadow of The Houses of Parliament the great and the good of the industry from broadcasting, written and photographic press gathered at a new venue for the Association, the Park Plaza for the prestigious annual soiree.
A few were waylaid by Leicester City’s first game of the post-Ranieri era, but 500 or so others were given plenty of evidence among the stunning photographic entries as to why City should have been more grateful to ‘The Tinkerman.’
On a night when individual papers, broadcasters and companies gave partisan, good-natured support for their own nominees, empathy was universal for Andy Woodward, the former footballer-turned-whistle-blower on sex abuse within the national game.
The first man to put his head above the parapet was afforded a standing ovation before and after addressing those assembled, while the journalist with whom he has now formed a lifelong friendship, The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor, won Sports Scoop of the year for his sensitive handling in writing the expose.
In such a competitive industry it was refreshing to witness other examples of empathy as some award winners used their moment of triumph to pay homage to rivals, mentors or others more deserving of attention.
Jon Colman on winning the Regional Journalist award for an incredible sixth time highlighted the plight of former footballer Tony Hopper, recently struck down with Motor Neurone Disease, pleading with the assembled gathering to Google the father of three and rally to his cause.
Matt Lawton, crowned-again Sports News Reporter of the year revealed how as a young journalist he had heeded advice to shadow chairman of writing judges Peter Jackson and ‘do whatever you can to be like him.’
And Paul Hayward, the latest recipient of the John Bromley Trophy for Sports Writer of the year recorded how inspirational it had been to see The Sun’s Vikki Orvice defy the effects of incurable cancer to put in 18-20 hour shifts at her fifth Olympics in Rio, calling her ‘a benchmark for the rest of us.’
As if Woodward and Orvice hadn’t provided earthy realism enough there was a stark reminder of how tough the industry is at present from the winner of Sports Picture of the Year, Myriam Cawston.
The freelancer produced a stunning ice-dance image even a philistine wordsmith like me who doesn’t know one end of a camera lens from another could only stare open-mouthed in wonderment.
Yet she would reveal she was currently travelling to the World Ice-Dance Championships next month without the backing of a client. The need of one so talented to tout for business is a sobering thought.
While some awards were universally acclaimed, over a post-dinner tipple in the bar, some no doubt argued the overlooking of their ‘journo’ meant the judges must have been in ‘La-La Land’.
For all that, as I ambled back over Westminster Bridge in the ‘Moonlight,’ it was possible to reflect for all its difficulties there was still plenty to be proud of in the world of British sports journalism.
Long may it be so – see you next year.
- This year, the SJA’s nominated good cause is The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
- If you would like more information about The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity or to make a donation online visit their website by clicking here:
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS 2016
SJA Sports Writer of the Year 2016 (The John Bromley Trophy)
Paul Hayward – Telegraph
SJA Sports Newspaper of the Year 2016 – Daily Mail
Mike Atherton – The Times
Ladbrokes Football Journalist
Daniel Taylor – The Guardian and Observer
Investigative Sports Reporter
Telegraph Investigations Team – Telegraph
Multi Media Sports Package
Sky Sports – The Open
Jon Colman – Cumbrian Newspapers
Stephen Jones – The Sunday Times
Special Sports Edition
Boxing News – Tribute to Muhammad Ali
Sean Ingle – The Guardian and Observer
Matt Dickinson – The Times
Sports Feature Writer
Oliver Brown – Telegraph
Sports News Reporter
Matt Lawton – Daily Mail
Daniel Taylor – The Guardian and Observer – Andy Woodward Sexual Abuse
Young Sports Writer (Ian Wooldridge Award)
Sam Dean – Telegraph
David Welch Student Sports Writer
Katie Smith – Leeds University
Broadcast Sports Presenter
Winner: Eleanor Oldroyd – BBC Radio 5Live
Winner: Paul Kelso – Sky News
Radio Sport Factual or Feature
Winner: BBC Radio 5Live – Fight to the Finish: The Story of Marieke Vervoort
Radio Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: talkSPORT – Euro 2016
Winner: John Murray – BBC Radio 5Live
Television Sport Factual or Feature
Winner: Sky Sports – Imran
Television Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: BBC Sport – Olympics
Ed Lacey Trophy (Photographer of the Year) – Alex Livesey – Getty Images
Winner: Myriam Cawston – Freelance
Winner: Richard Pelham – The Sun
Winner: Alex Livesey – Getty Images
Specialist Sports Portfolio
Winner: Alan Crowhurst – Getty Images
Rio 2016 Portfolio
Winner: Clive Mason – Getty Images
Rights-free images from today’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards are available upon request.
For media or general enquiries regarding the SJA contact: Nick Townsend on 07801183766 or email@example.com
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