SJA British Sports Journalism Awards 2020: broadcast shortlists

A year ago Christina Macfarlane of CNN made history by becoming the first woman to win Broadcast Journalist of the year at the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery and Canon. It was also a first for CNN.

Twelve months on and the network will be hoping that lightning does strike twice with colleague Amanda Davies making the broadcast shortlist, which is announced today.

Davies faces some stiff competition, however. She will be up against Dan Roan, a silver medallist a year ago, and one of three broadcasters from the BBC – Sonja McLaughlan and Sally Nugent are the others – ITV’s Steve Scott and Craig Slater of Sky Sports.

The Sports Presenter category is always keenly contested and looking at this year’s line-up will be again. ITV Sport’s Ed Chamberlin, a co-winner with Francesca Cumani in 2018, flies solo this time. Freelance Adam Catterall, 2017 winner Mark Chapman, Gary Lineker (BBC and BT Sport), Isa Guha (Whisper), Laura Woods (talkSPORT) and Vicky Gomersall of Sky Sports complete the set.

Two years ago we introduced a new category – Sports Pundit. Osi Umenyiora was the inaugural winner while Gary Neville took the honours in 2019. Both are in contention again, named in a 12-strong shortlist, which will be voted on by the membership.  Details to follow next week.

Ebony Rainford-Brent, the only woman in contention, was recognised by the SJA at our British Sports Awards for her work highlighting the need to create equal opportunities for black sports players and administrators in the UK and beyond. Her ‘partner’ – West Indies legend Michael Holding – is also up for Sports Pundit.

A new name is guaranteed to be a winner in the Sports Commentator category. BBC has two prospects – Andrew Cotter and John Hunt – while Clive Tyldesly, a bronze medallist last year, flies the flag as a freelance. Peter Drury (PLP), talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface and Alex Jacques of F1TV and Sky Sports complete a very impressive set.

Noah Media Group are looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in the Television/Digital Documentary category with their film Finding Jack Charlton. BBC Sport might have a say about that with two entries – one highlighting Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals for children and the other following former Leeds rugby league player Rob Burrow: My year with MND.

Christina Macfarlane

A pound from every entry to the SJA awards has gone to Burrow’s charity and we have topped it up to £1,000.

Racism is the theme of Wonder TV’s documentary with Anton Ferdinand as is the Black Lives Matter discussion between Rainford-Brent and Holding on Sky Sports. Greavsie – by BT Sport – completes the set.

Given the paucity of live sport over the last 12 months, there is a strong line-up in the Television/Digital Live Event. Sunset+Vine won last year with cricket’s world cup and this year have submitted coverage of the Premier League’s return during the pandemic. Whisper have Channel 4 coverage of the British Grand Prix, Sky Sports have transfer deadline day and Black Lives Matter in the mix, ITV went to Royal Ascot and BBC filmed a very different London Marathon.

Last year saw the introduction of a new category – Audio/Radio Show. talkSPORT’s Jim White and Natalie Sawyer were the first recipients of the title and White is again shortlisted but this time with Simon Jordan. The network has another entry too – GameDay Exclusive.

BBC 5Live offer That Peter Crouch Podcast – bronze medallist last year – and The Monday Night Club while freelance Adam Catterall is listed for his Frank Warren’s Heavyweight Podcast.

Twice in the last four years BBC Leeds have headed back to Yorkshire with their hands on the Audio/Radio Documentary prize. If they make it a hat-trick for their programme Remembering Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, they will have to celebrate virtually.

Up against them is BBC Manchester’s Out of our League, Chronicle Live’s Everything is Black and White podcast, 5Live’s Rugby Union Weekly and Coming in from the Cold from talkSPORT and digital production company Unedited. Finally, BBC Sports News has entered Klopp’s journey; Black Forest hills to Anfield thrills.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

And so to the stars of the future – either side of the mic or camera. Ones to Watch – on Air sees last year’s silver medallist Jaydee Dyer (Sky Sports) in a seven-strong cohort which includes young racing driver Billy Monger (pictured right), who lost his legs in a crash at Donington Park in 2017 and is now combining a sporting career with one in the media.

In the Off Air category, The Athletic’s Abi Paterson, a podcast producer, is up against a trio of Sky Sports talent in Danyal Khan, Ed Higgs and Maddy Morrison as well as George Cottam (5Live) and Declan McCarthy of talkSPORT.

Chair of judges, Faye Carruthers, said: “The quality of entries in a year that tested broadcasters more than ever before was of the highest quality, innovation and originality. So many judges commented on the powerful and impactful journalism that was on display and there were categories where you could barely separate the top entries. Just to be shortlisted is an enormous achievement in what was another outstanding year for broadcasting.”


The sports network of the year will be awarded again this year after making its debut in last year’s awards. This award is designed to recognise the sports network / channel / platform that best covered sport and set the sporting agenda in 2020. Organisations entered and have been invited to pitch their case to a panel of judges and you can find out the winner by watching the virtual awards show on March 15.

Broadcast shortlists

Broadcast Journalist
Amanda Davies – CNN
Craig Slater – Sky Sports
Dan Roan – BBC Sports News
Sally Nugent – BBC Breakfast/BBC Sport
Sonja McLaughlan – BBC Sport
Steve Scott – ITV News

Sports Presenter
Adam Catterall – Freelance
Ed Chamberlin – ITV Sport
Gary Lineker – BT Sport & BBC Sport
Isa Guha – Whisper and BBC Sport
Laura Woods – talkSPORT
Mark Chapman – BBC Radio 5 Live
Vicky Gomersall – Sky Sports

Sports Pundit*
Chris Sutton – BBC Radio 5 Live
Ebony Rainford-Brent – BBC Radio 5 Live
Gary Neville – Sky Sports
Jamie Carragher – Sky Sports
Jason Bell – Whisper / BBC Sport /NFL
Jermaine Jenas – BBC Sport
Micah Richards – BBC Radio 5 Live
Michael Holding – Sky Sports
Mo Mooncey – Sky Sports
Osi Umenyiora – Whisper / BBC Sport /NFL
Rio Ferdinand – BT sport
Simon Jordan – talkSPORT
* To be decided via a members’ vote

Sports Commentator
Alex Jacques – F1TV, Sky Sports
Andrew Cotter – BBC Sport
Clive Tyldesley – Freelance
John Hunt – BBC Radio 5 Live
Nick Mullins – ITV Sport
Peter Drury – PLP
Sam Matterface – talkSPORT

Audio / Radio Documentary
Coming In From The Cold – talkSPORT / Unedited Stories
Klopp’s journey: Black Forest hills to Anfield thrills – BBC Sports News
Out Of Our League – BBC Radio Manchester
Remembering Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight – BBC Radio Leeds
Rugby Union Weekly – BBC Radio 5 Live
The Everything is Black and White Podcast – Chronicle Live / Reach PLC

Audio / Radio Live
5 Live Sport – End of Championship Season – BBC Radio 5 Live
England’s Cricket Tour of the Rainbow Nation – talkSPORT
Wilder v Fury II – talkSPORT

Audio / Radio Show
Adam Catterall presents Frank Warren’s Heavyweight Podcast – Freelance
GameDay Exclusive – talkSPORT
That Peter Crouch Podcast – BBC Radio 5 Live
The ITV Football Football Show – ITV Sport
The Monday Night Club – BBC Radio 5 Live
White & Jordan – talkSPORT

Television / Digital Documentary
Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism & Me – Wonder TV
Finding Jack Charlton – Noah Media Group
Greavsie – BT Sport
Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain’s Children – BBC Sport & BBC Breakfast
Michael Holding & Ebony Rainford-Brent: Black Lives Matter – Sky Sports
Rob Burrow: My Year with MND – BBC Sport and BBC Breakfast

Television / Digital Live Event Coverage
C4 Formula One: British Grand Prix – Whisper and Channel 4 
England v West Indies: Black Lives Matter – Sky Sports
BT Sport: Live Premier League Football Returns – Sunset+Vine
London Marathon – BBC Sport
Royal Ascot – ITV Sport
Transfer Deadline Day – Sky Sports

Television / Digital Show
C4 Formula One Highlights: Russian Grand Prix – Whisper and Channel 4 
CNN’s World Sport – CNN
Ski Sunday – BBC Sport
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series: That Sevens Show – Sunset+Vine
The Ashes: Live Watch-along – Sky Sports
The Kelly & Wrighty Show – PLP
The NFL Show – Whisper / BBC Sport /NFL

Ones to Watch – On Air
Austin Halewood – BBC Sports News
Betty Glover – BBC Sports News
Billy Monger – Whisper and Channel 4 
James Savundra – talkSPORT
Jaydee Dyer – Sky Sports
Mayowa Quadri – VERSUS
Miriam Walker-khan – BBC Sports News

Ones to Watch – Off Air
Abi Paterson – The Athletic UK
Danyal Khan – Sky Sports
Declan McCarthy – talkSPORT
Ed Higgs – Sky Sports
George Cottam – BBC Radio 5 Live
Maddy Morrison – Sky Sports