2014 Sports Journalism Awards

With Martin Samuel named as Sports Writer of the Year for a record-equalling sixth time, the Daily Mail’s sports desk crowned an outstanding evening at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport.

The Mail took a total of four top prizes, including the Sports Newspaper of the Year for a second time and Sports News Picture for the work of their staff photographer, Graham Chadwick.

Sports Writer of the Year Martin Samuel, left, with the Sports Photographer of the Year, Adrian Dennis
Sports Writer of the Year Martin Samuel, left, with the Sports Photographer of the Year, Adrian Dennis

The Sports Photographer of the Year was named as Adrian Dennis, the AFP snapper taking the cherished Ed Lacey trophy for a second time in three years, after he had earlier been named as the winner of the Sports Portfolio Award.

And in a year when the SJA expanded its awards to include a fuller range of sports broadcasting prizes, there was widespread acclaim in the dining room at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden when Mike Ingham, the recently retired BBC Radio football correspondent, was named as the recipient of the Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism.

SJA expanded its awards to include a fuller range of sports broadcasting prizes

One of Ingham’s former BBC colleagues, Eleanor Oldroyd, scooped the award for Broadcast Sports Presenter of the Year, in a category where the highly commended entries were submitted by Gary Lineker and Hazel Irvine. The judges said Lineker and Irvine were “beaten to this award by an outstanding broadcaster with a wonderful range, both in the studio and on Outside Broadcasts…” whose “use of language and description is excellent and that they are a good and sympathetic interviewer who champions many of the lesser and sports but is equally adept at handling the big occasion”.

Samuel has dominated the John Bromley Trophy award for the nation’s leading sports writer over the past decade, whether working for the News of the World, The Times or now at the Mail. The winner in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2013, tonight’s win puts him on level terms with Hugh McIlvanney and one ahead of Ian Wooldridge; between them, McIlvanney and Wooldridge shared the first Sports Writer of the Year Award in i976.

Samuel capped his success off by also being acclaimed as Sports Columnist of the Year, the judges choosing his work ahead of a formidable entry, saying that, “His views are strong and fresh, frequently contrary to that held by the general public, but always backed up by good factual information.”

The Young Sports Writer of the Year Award is named in honour of Samuel’s predecessor as Mail columnist, Ian Wooldridge, and in winning this prize, James Gheerbrant – with a portfolio drawn from work at BBC Sport and The Times – showed himself definitely one to be watched: it is just a couple of years since Gheerbrant, then an undergraduate, was winning the Student Sports Writer prize at these awards.

 

India v Sri Lanka - ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 Final
The specialist cricket photography of Gareth Copley has been outstanding for years, and this year won him the Phil Sheldon Trophy. This shot from his portfolio shows Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India catching Lahiru Thirimanne of Sri Lanka in last year’s World Twenty20 final in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ellie Oldroyd receives her Broadcast Presenter Award from SJA Chairman David Walker
Ellie Oldroyd receives her Broadcast Presenter Award from SJA Chairman David Walker

The Sports News Reporter of the Year category saw three of Samuel’s colleagues short-listed, with Matt Lawton emerging triumphant ahead of the highly commended Martyn Ziegler of the Press Association and the Telegraph’s Nick Hoult.

It was Lawton’s work on the emails and text messages sent by Malky Mackay when he was manager at Cardiff City which swung the prize Lawton’s way.

The judges said that Lawton’s work “set the football agenda for weeks and still has major ramifications for the sport, as the reporter demonstrated good, old-fashioned news-gathering by obtaining some dynamite and damning documents”.

The Laureus Sports Website of the Year went to The Guardian for “digital innovation, great journalism, industry-leading design and its approach to social media”.

Getty Images photographer Gareth Copley added to the many plaudits for his work in cricket when he won the 2014 Phil Sheldon Trophy for Specialist Sports Portfolio, ahead of the Racing Post’s Ed Whitaker and freelancer Steve Etherington.

The new, and fiercely contested, Football Writer of the Year award was won by the Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter, with Daniel Taylor (The Guardian) and Rory Smith (The Times) highly commended.

In a year of a football World Cup and a thrilling F1 season, the award for Television Sport Live Broadcast went to BBC Sport for their coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The night's various winners take to the stage at the end of another terrific celebration of British sports journalism. Picture by STEVE ROWE/SJA
The night’s various winners take to the stage at the end of another terrific celebration of British sports journalism. Picture by STEVE ROWE/SJA

The Ladbrokes Specialist Correspondent recognises excellence in coverage of a sport, other than football, rugby or circket, and this category gave the judges more than 200 articles to review each. After their careful deliberations, the winner was a freelance golf writer, Paul Mahoney, ahead of Alan Lee, the racing correspondent of The Times, and another golf specialist, James Corrigan of the Telegraph.

Sunday Times front pageThe judges said that “the winner’s reports are full of insight and colour, making them such an entertaining, appealing read, even to the non-golfer. His turn of phrase gives him the edge in a highly-competitive field”.

The Scoop of the Year pitched two of the winners from earlier in the evening against one another, Matt Lawton against the Sunday Times’s Insight team of Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake, with the judges’ decision going to the latters’ Fifa Files for a “comprehensive dossier on a corruption scandal that has more legs than a centipede”, which they described as “stunning journalism – a huge story brilliantly presented and made possible by exhaustive research and relentless investigation”.

SJA recognises Mike Ingham’s career in sports broadcasting

The BBC's former football correspondent, Mike Ingham, was a delighted winner of the SJA Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism. He received the trophy from a guard of honour
The BBC’s former football correspondent, Mike Ingham, was a delighted winner of the SJA Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism. He received the trophy from a guard of honour comprised of (from left) SJA Chairman David Walker, James Lawton, Hugh McIlvanney, Jeff Powell and Patrick Collins

Each year since 1989, the Doug Gardner Award has been presented by the SJA for services to sports journalism. In a quarter of a century, it had never been presented to someone who worked primarily in sports broadcasting. Until this year.

On an awards evening when the SJA introduced a fuller range of broadcast categories, that omission was put right, with Mike Ingham recognised for his career’s work… only for him to deny that it was a “career”, and to dedicate his award to his predecessors and mentors, Bryon Butler and Peter Jones.

The recently retired BBC football correspondent, Ingham  is held in such high esteem among his sports writing, photography and broadcasting colleagues that when his name was announced at the British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport, by SJA Chairman David Walker, it drew a standing ovation from the 400-or-so members and guests in the dining room at the Grand Connaught Rooms.

Flanked by an SJA “guard of honour” comprising Jeff Powell, James Lawton, Hugh McIlvanney and Patrick Collins, Walker said, “The Doug Gardner Award salutes a lifetime achievement by a SJA member. As you’ve seen tonight, the SJA is a broad church and we consider potential winners from newspaper journalists and photographers.

“But we have never before presented the Doug Gardner Award to a broadcaster.

“This year’s winner is acknowledged as one of the greats of his profession. A man whose professional success and reputation has never affected his fundamental openness and modesty.

“He’s had a long career. Just part of his remit was to cover the England football team and he had to work with 11 different England managers.

“Those of us who worked with him or travelled the world in his company felt privileged to have him as a colleague and a friend.

“Football managers who worked with this journalist all respected his professionalism, the way he went to see them before the game to gauge their ideas and tactics. And they also respected the way he constructively criticised them and their teams when performances weren’t good.

“In terms of radio broadcasting I’d suggest Mike Ingham should be rated right up there with his illustrious predecessors Bryon Butler and Peter Jones.

“The winner of the Doug Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award is Mike Ingham.”

Watch the video of the presentation, including Ingham’s acceptance speech, here:

2014 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport

The full list of winners

Here is the complete list of all winners and highly commended entries at the 2014 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport and supported by the Laureus Foundation and Ladbrokes, staged in London on March 23, 2015.

Most of the categories are decided by panels of independent judges. In the case of the Sports Writer of the Year and Sports Newspaper of the Year, these are decided by voting from the heads of sport and sports editors of national newspapers, UK-based news agencies, and some regional newspapers.

SJA Sports Writer of the Year 2014
Winner: Martin Samuel – Daily Mail
Top six: Michael Atherton; Patrick Collins; Paul Hayward; Ian Herbert; and Daniel Taylor

SJA Sports Photographer of the Year 2014
Adrian Dennis – AFP

SJA Sports Newspaper of the Year 2014
Winner: Daily Mail
Top six: Daily Telegraph; Sunday Times; The Guardian; The Sun; and The Times

SJA Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism
Mike Ingham

Broadcast Sports Presenter
Winner: Eleanor Oldroyd – BBC Radio 5Live
Highly Commended: Gary Lineker – BBC Sport
Highly Commended: Hazel Irvine – BBC Sport

Broadcast Journalist
Winner: Mike Costello – BBC Radio 5Live
Highly Commended: Alison Mitchell – Freelance
Highly Commended: Ronald McIntosh – Freelance

Television Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: Commonwealth Games – BBC Sport
Highly Commended: Football World Cup – BBC Sport
Highly Commended: Aviva Premiership Final 2014 – Sunset and Vine

Radio Sport Live Broadcast
Winner: Commonwealth Games – BBC Radio 5Live
Highly Commended: Football World Cup – talkSPORT
Highly Commended: Tour De France – BBC Radio Leeds

Television Sports Documentary
Winner: The Crazy Gang – BT Sport
Highly Commended: MOTD at 50 – BBC Sport
Highly Commended: An Ordinary Hero – BT Sport

Radio Sports Documentary
Winner: Kick Off Mental Health – talkSPORT
Highly Commended: Rumble in the Jungle – BBC Radio 5Live
Highly Commended: Pendleton : Mind of a Cyclist – BBC Radio 5Live
Highly Commended: 3.59.4 – BBC Radio Oxford

Best Special Package
Winner: Daily Mirror – Cheltenham
Highly Commended: The Times – For the Good of the Game
Highly Commended: Racing Post – World Cup Betting Guide

Laureus Sports Website
Winner: Guardian
Highly Commended: Telegraph
Highly Commended: BBC Sport

Specialist Sports Website

Winner: Sporting Intelligence
Highly Commended: Project Babb
Highly Commended: Boxing News

Sports Scoop
Winner:
Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert – Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Matt Lawton – Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday
Highly Commended: Paul Hayward – Telegraph

Ladbrokes Specialist Correspondent
Winner:
Paul Mahoney – Freelance
Highly Commended: Alan Lee – The Times
Highly Commended: James Corrigan – Telegraph

Investigative Sports Reporter
Winner:
Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert – Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Owen Gibson – Guardian
Highly Commended: Nick Harris – Mail on Sunday

Sports Columnist
Winner:
Martin Samuel – Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Matthew Syed – The Times
Highly Commended: Patrick Collins – Mail on Sunday

Sports Feature Writer
Winner:
Paul Hayward – Telegraph
Highly Commended: David Walsh – Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Donald McRae – Guardian

Sports News Reporter
Winner:
Matt Lawton – Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday
Highly Commended: Martyn Ziegler – Press Association
Highly Commended: Nick Hoult – Telegraph

Cricket Writer
Winner:
Mike Atherton – The Times
Highly Commended: Vic Marks – Guardian / Observer
Highly Commended: Sclyd Berry – Telegraph

Football Writer
Winner:
Henry Winter – Telegraph
Highly Commended: Daniel Taylor – Guardian / Observer
Highly Commended: Rory Smith – The Times

Rugby Writer
Winner:
Stephen Jones – Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Steve James – Telegraph
Highly Commended: Mick Cleary – Telegraph

Regional Writer
Winner:
Jon Colman – CN Group
Highly Commended: Doug Gillon – The Herald, Glasgow
Highly Commended: Mark Douglas – Newcastle Chronical and Journal

Young Sports Writer
Winner:
James Gheerbrant – BBC Sport / The Times
Highly Commended: Jack Gaughan – Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Adam Crafton – Daily Mail

David Welch Student Sports Writer
Winner:
Mark Critchley, City University London
Highly Commended: Peter Fielding, Pates Grammar School, Cheltenham
Highly Commended: Alex Walker, Edinburgh University

Sports Picture
Winner:
Matthew Lewis – Getty Images
Highly Commended: James Maloney – Trinity Mirror
Highly Commended: Steve Etherington – Freelance

Sports Portfolio
Winner:
Adrian Dennis – AFP
Highly Commended: Lee Smith – Action Images
Highly Commended: Ian MacNicol – Freelance

Specialist Sports Portfolio
Winner:
Gareth Copley – Getty Images
Highly Commended: Ed Whitaker – Racing Post
Highly Commended: Steve Etherington – Freelance

Sports News Picture
Winner:
Graham Chadwick – Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Dylan Martinez – Reuters
Highly Commended: Henry Browne – Action Images

  • The Sports Journalists’ Association was founded in 1948 and is the world’s largest national membership organisation of sports media. Its sponsors include BT Sport, The National Lottery, Laureus and Ladbrokes. Since 1949, it has staged the country’s longest running annual Sports Awards; this year’s event will be staged in December.
  • The Sports Writer of the Year award has been presented since 1976. The Sports Photographer of the Year award has been presented each year since 1977.

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