Telegraph lead the way and dedicate top prizes to the memory of office manager Lesley MacDonald

It was a night of mixed emotions for the sports desk of The Telegraph as they dedicated their amazing success at the British Sports Journalism Awards to sports desk manager Lesley MacDonald, who tragically passed away a few weeks ago.

The Telegraph were named Sports Newspaper for the second year running. Sam Wallace was awarded the 2020 Football Journalist of the year, and also took the prize for Scoop while Nick Hoult pipped multi-winning Mike Atherton of The Times to the Cricket Journalist title. The Telegraph was denied a clean sweep by CNN taking the Digital Publishing title.

The event, sponsored by the National Lottery and Canon, was held virtually and hosted by Jim Rosenthal.

Chair of judges, Colin Bateman, said: “The judges were impressed by the ability and improvisation of sports writers during a year when live sport was greatly curtailed. They still found plenty of good stuff to write about!

“Also, this year’s entries demonstrated the ever-changing changing landscape of our profession with more on-line entries from digital organisations, although the traditional Press still proved itself to be the bedrock of sports journalism.”

Wallace’s breaking story revealed plans for a breakaway at the top of English football and led the news agenda for days. He described it as the biggest story of his career and revealed that he worked on it for weeks.

Head of sport Adam Sills said: “It means a huge amount to me and my team to win this two years in a row. There is a lot of effort, imagination and enjoyment that goes into producing our journalism every day and it is great for the whole team to be rewarded. Very happy for Sam Wallace and Nick Hoult too.”

The Guardian will also regard the night as a success with Jonathan Liew winning the ultimate prize of Sports Writer of the Year to collect the John Bromley Trophy.

In his inimitable fashion, the former columnist of the year, tweeted: “I was eating a creamy leek pasta when this happened. Pretty majorly surprised, to be quite honest with you. But a genuine thank you to everyone who has said nice things. Am going to finish my (cold) pasta now.”

Head to his Twitter feed if you want the recipe. His colleague, Andy Bull, is the new Sports Feature Writer 2020.

Every year the crossover between digital, written word, and broadcast becomes more blurred. Take ITV sports reporter Steve Scott, who was also a winner in the broadcast section but who won the Sports News Reporter award.  Similarly Sky Sports took the Special Edition with a wonderful entry – George Floyd 100 Days On: How Sport Has Fought For Change.

Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail rugby writer Nik Simon is a first-time Rugby Journalist of the Year. The judges said of him: “Interviews that were insightful and enjoyable to read and a portfolio that contained a cracking news exclusive.”


Over the years we have become accustomed to recognising the work done by the Boxing News in terms of special editions. So stand up and take a bow Matt Christie, for winning Specialist Writer.

The judges said: “The winning portfolio, however, showed mastery of three different sports writing disciplines – with a feature, a column and live reporting. It also gave readers a glimpse into what it’s really like to work as a journalist at a major sports event.”

The Sports Columnist category was won by Matt Dickinson of The Times at the expense of his colleagues Atherton and David Walsh. The judges said: “In a category that often has judges split, there was no contest this time. Consistent and always readable with an exceptional take on the contradictory faces of boxing, both professional and amateur.”

And so to Jon Colman, winner of the regional award for a record seventh time. This chat is fascinating.

The final word goes to Katie Whyatt, winner of the Ian Wooldridge award. Or rather the final picture.


SJA Sports Writer of the Year (The John Bromley Trophy)
Jonathan Liew – The Guardian

SJA Sports Newspaper of the Year
The Telegraph

Digital Publisher
Winner: CNN Sport
Silver: The Telegraph
Bronze: The Athletic UK

Cricket Journalist
Winner: Nick Hoult – The Telegraph
Silver: Mike Atherton – The Times
Bronze: Ali Martin – The Guardian 

Football Journalist
Winner: Sam Wallace – The Telegraph
Silver: Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK
Bronze: Henry Winter – The Times

Rugby Journalist
Winner: Nik Simon – The Mail on Sunday
Silver: Daniel Schofield   The Telegraph
Bronze: Stephen Jones – The Sunday Times

Special Sports Edition
Winner: George Floyd 100 Days On: How Sport Has Fought For Change – Sky Sports
Silver: Women’s Sport Monthly – The Telegraph
Bronze: Shutdown – The Telegraph

Specialist Correspondent
Winner: Matt Christie – Boxing News
Silver: Jonathan McEvoy – The Daily Mail
Bronze: Nick Hope – BBC Sport

Sports Feature Writer
Winner: Andy Bull – The Guardian and The Observer
Silver: Daniel Taylor – The Athletic UK
Bronze: Riath Al-Samarrai – The Daily Mail

Sports Scoop
Winner: Project big picture – Sam Wallace – The Telegraph
Silver: Rugby’s dementia crisis – Andy Bull & Michael Aylwin – The Guardian
Bronze: Stars allege abuse at heart of British Gymnastics – Steve Scott – ITV News

Sports Columnist
Winner: Matt Dickinson – The Times
Silver: Mike Atherton – The Times
Bronze: David Walsh – The Sunday Times

Sports News Reporter
Winner: Steve Scott – ITV News
Silver: David Conn – The Guardian
Bronze: Jeremy Wilson – The Telegraph

Young Sports Journalist (Ian Wooldridge Award)
Winner: Katie Whyatt – The Athletic UK
Silver: Tom Kershaw – The Independent
Bronze: Chloe Merrell – GiveMeSport Women 

Regional Journalist
Winner: Jon Colman – News & Star / The Cumberland News
Silver: Neil Allen – Portsmouth News
Bronze: Steven Chicken – Huddersfield Examiner and Yorkshire Live 

Doug Gardner Award
Janine Self

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