By Peter Wilson
Martin Samuel, the 2005 SJA Sports Writer of the Year, has been shortlisted for the 2006 award, the major writing prize at the Sports Journalists’ Association’s British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by UK Sport, which take place at The Brewery in London on March 12.
Samuel (pictured here receiving the John Bromley trophy last year from SJA President Michael Parkinson) is joined on the 2006 shortlist by former England cricket captain Michael Atherton, of the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail‘s Paul Hayward, Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror, the Independent‘s James Lawton and Henry Winter, football correspondent of the Daily Telegraph.
Five of those journalists are shortlisted for the second successive year; Holt is the only new name for 2006.
It is the second year that the SJA has asked national sports editors to vote for the writer they feel offered most to sports journalism during the year. The SJA committee believe that sports editors are at the coal face of the industry and know which writers have either given them a run for their money over the past year, or are required reading, providing information and insight to the daily happenings in the world of sport.
Each sports editor must make six choices, of which only two can come from their own staff. The top choice gets six points, then its five points for second, four for third, and so on, effectively establishing a league table of British sports writing.
Even if each sports editor, as has been known, gives their own writers the top two points, they would still need to rely on the points offered by their colleagues at other newspapers, journals or agencies to win the award.
Each writer also has to be nominated for a specific outlet he or she writes for. So, even if a colleague, such as Samuel, writes regularly for two newspapers, only one can be nominated when a sports editor votes. Last year, Samuel’s work on The Times far outstripped his efforts for the News of the World, according to the sports editors.
In addition to the shortlisted candidates for the award, others who scored well included Paul Kimmage (Sunday Times), Jamie Jackson (The Observer), Sue Mott (Daily Telegraph), Patrick Collins (Mail on Sunday), Brian Woolnough (Daily Star), Frank Malley (PA Sport), Simon Barnes (The Times).
Check out the various lists of shortlisted entries by following the links below.