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#SJA2021: Feared story-getter Ziegler scores awards hat-trick

Martyn Ziegler scored a sensational hat-trick as his agenda-setting exclusive on the ill-fated European Super League was the toast of the British Sports Journalism Awards.

Ziegler, chief sports reporter at The Times and Sunday Times, has long featured on SJA award shortlists without claiming a prize but this year he walked off with the match ball.

He was named sports writer and sports news reporter of the year, while his stunning story – which shook the sporting and political world – was deservedly recognised as scoop of the year.

“It was a fantastic story that had far-reaching consequences,” said judges. “A result of fostering long-term relationships and trust and a story that Martyn continued to develop through insight and sources.

“Marytn’s reputation for thoroughness and accuracy have made him a trusted confidante of the men and women at the very top of sport, ensuring a solid gold supply of exclusives.

“But he is also feared by many executives for delving behind the agenda and often showing he knows the subject better than they do.

“As understated in his writing as in his demeanour, he weighs every word carefully. In the words of an old sub, his reporting is the epitome of tight, bright and right.”


In a highly competitive category, the Daily Telegraph was named sports newspaper for the third straight year.

Judges praised the team’s ‘brilliant mix of news and analysis’ with good ideas ‘beautifully executed and presented, showcasing a wide range of stories, reports and features’.

CNN Sport edged out rivals to retain their title as digital sports publisher, their eye-catching mix of multimedia content praised as ‘thoughtful, beautifully presented and engaging’.

Six-time sports writer of the year, Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail, won the new live reporting category, with judges commending his ‘insight, perspective and reflection all in one stylish, against-the-deadline package’.

And there was more success for other former winners, The Guardian’s Sean Ingle and Jonathan Liew, The Athletic’s Daniel Taylor and Newsquest Cumbria’s Jon Colman.

Specialist sports correspondent, The Guardian’s Sean Ingle

Ingle, an SJA winner in 2016 and 2017, was named specialist correspondent of the year, with judges praising the ‘quality of his writing but also his versatility as a journalist to stand out in a category containing fierce competition’.

Colman extended his record as the person with the most SJA awards in one category, his ‘enjoyable, engaging and insightful’ submission highlighted as he won regional sports journalist for the eighth time.

Liew, the winner of last year’s John Bromley Award, was named sports columnist of the year, with judges commending his ‘insightful articles which are not only thought-provoking and personal, he even turns the tables and bravely challenges his own industry’.

Taylor, a four-time football journalist of the year and sports writer of the year in 2017, was hailed for his ’empathy and detail’ as he won sports feature writer of the year.

Last year’s sports writer of the year, Jonathan Liew, was named sports columnist of the year

However, there were new names on the roll of honour too.

The Guardian’s Ali Martin was recognised for an outstanding portfolio of interviews and exclusives to win cricket journalist of the Year.

Jason Burt kept football journalist of the year in the Daily Telegraph’s hands as he succeeded colleague Sam Wallace with a portfolio that included a ‘blend of fine story-getting, fine detail and fine writing’.

And Alex Lowe, of The Times and Sunday Times, won rugby journalist of the year in recognition for a stellar submission.

“His articles remain with the reader days after reading,” said judges.

THE SPORTS NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR
Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Times
Winner: The Daily Telegraph

SPORTS WRITER OF THE YEAR (The John Bromley Trophy)
Winner: Martyn Ziegler

CRICKET JOURNALIST
Ali Martin – The Guardian, Isaan Khan – Daily Mail, Lawrence Booth – The Daily Mail, Michael Atherton – The Times & Sunday Times, Nick Friend – The Cricketer, Nick Hoult – The Telegraph
Bronze: Nick Hoult – The Telegraph; Silver: Isaan Khan – Daily Mail; Winner: Ali Martin – The Guardian

DIGITAL SPORTS PUBLISHER
CNN Sport, MailOnline Sport, Sky Sports, The Athletic UK, The Guardian, The Times
Bronze: MailOnline Sport; Silver: The Times; Winner: CNN Sport

FOOTBALL JOURNALIST
Adam Crafton – The Athletic UK, Craig Hope – Daily Mail, David Hytner – The Guardian, Ian Ladyman – Daily Mail, Jason Burt – The Telegraph, John Percy – The Telegraph, Jonathan Northcroft – The Times & Sunday Times
Bronze: Jonathan Northcroft – The Times & Sunday Times; Silver: Ian Ladyman – Daily Mail; Winner: Jason Burt – The Telegraph

LIVE REPORTING
Alyson Rudd – The Times & Sunday Times; James Gheerbrant – The Times & Sunday Times; Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail; Martin Samuel – Daily Mail; Oliver Holt – The Mail on Sunday, Sean Ingle – The Guardian
Bronze: Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail; Silver: Alyson Rudd – The Times & Sunday Times; Winner: Martin Samuel – Daily Mail

REGIONAL SPORTS JOURNALIST
Dafydd Pritchard – BBC Sport Wales, David Dubas-Fisher – Reach PLC, Jon Colman – Newsquest Cumbria, Mark Taylor – Cambridge Independent, Neil Allen – Portsmouth News, Phil Smith – Sunderland Echo
Bronze: Neil Allen – Portsmouth News; Silver: Dafydd Pritchard – BBC Sport Wales; Winner: Jon Colman – Newsquest Cumbria

RUGBY JOURNALIST
Alex Bywater – Daily Mail, Alex Lowe – The Times & Sunday Times, Kate Rowan – The Telegraph, Michael Aylwin – The Guardian / Observer, Nik Simon – The Mail on Sunday, Stephen Jones – The Times & Sunday Times
Bronze: Kate Rowan – The Telegraph; Silver: Nik Simon – The Mail on Sunday; Winner: Alex Lowe – The Times & Sunday Times

SPECIALIST CORRESPONDENT
Craig Lord – Freelance, Donald McRae – The Guardian, Jeff Powell – Daily Mail, Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail, Nick Hope – BBC Sport / Freelance, Riath Al-Samarrai – Daily Mail, Sean Ingle – The Guardian
Silver: Craig Lord – Freelance; Donald McRae – The Guardian; Riath Al-Samarrai – Daily Mail; Winner: Sean Ingle – The Guardian

SPORTS COLUMNIST
Fiona Tomas – The Telegraph, Ian Herbert – Mail +, Jonathan Liew – The Guardian, Martin Samuel – Daily Mail, Matthew Syed – The Times & Sunday Times, Oliver Holt – The Mail on Sunday
Bronze: Martin Samuel – Daily Mail; Silver: Matthew Syed – The Times & Sunday Times; Winner: Jonathan Liew – The Guardian

SPORTS FEATURE WRITER
Adam Crafton – The Athletic UK, Andy Bull – The Guardian, Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK, Donald McRae – The Guardian, James Sharpe – The Mail on Sunday, Jonathan Liew – The Guardian, Stuart James – The Athletic UK
Bronze: Donald McRae – The Guardian; Silver: Andy Bull – The Guardian; Winner: Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK

SPORTS NEWS REPORTER
Jeremy Wilson – The Telegraph, Martyn Ziegler – The Times & Sunday Times, Matt Hughes – Daily Mail, Matt Law – The Telegraph, Matt Lawton – The Times & Sunday Times, Molly McElwee – The Telegraph, Nick Harris – The Mail on Sunday
Bronze: Matt Lawton – The Times & Sunday Times; Silver: Molly McElwee – The Telegraph; Winner: Martyn Ziegler – The Times & Sunday Times

SPORTS SCOOP
“You’re a coward”, Matt Ritchie’s bust up with Steve Bruce – Craig Hope – Daily Mail, FA opens investigation into new allegations against former referee David Elleray – Sam Cunningham – i Newspaper, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, the ‘nutritionist’ and ‘Operation Muscle Bound’ – Matt Lawton & Mark Palmer – The Times & Sunday Times, Racing’s Dirty Secret – Bullying accusations made by jockey Bryony Frost – David Walsh – The Times & Sunday Times, The big six secretly join the European Super League – Martyn Ziegler – The Times & Sunday Times, WADA investigate ‘private’ British Cycling test – Nick Harris – The Mail on Sunday
Bronze: WADA investigate ‘private’ British Cycling test – Nick Harris – The Mail on Sunday; Silver: Racing’s Dirty Secret – Bullying accusations made by jockey Bryony Frost – David Walsh – The Times & Sunday Times; Winner: The big six secretly join the European Super League – Martyn Ziegler – The Times & Sunday Times