The Times has picked up 12 nominations in the writing categories for this year’s Sports Journalism Awards, more than any other news outlet.
The winners will be announced on March 12, alongside the entries in the photography and broadcasting categories (the shortlists for which have already been announced).
Chairman of the judges Jon Ryan said:
I don’t recall a time when so many of our judges have commented on the high quality of the entries. I am also delighted that the number of entries kept up during what has not been the easiest time for newspapers.
If you want to show anyone why newspapers are important, why they matter and why journalists should be respected for their writing, news reporting and investigative skills then you need to look no further than the SJA awards. I would like to thank our team of judges for their thoroughness and diligence in reaching their decisions.
The full shortlist can be found on the SJA website.
A group of sports journalists in Ghana have denied allegations that they received money from the Ghana Football Association or Ministry of Youth and Sports during the World Cup earlier this year.
According to a report by Citifmonline, the ministry has said it spent $50,000 on media relations during the competition, which was given to the Ghana FA and distributed to journalists.
Full story on Ghanain news site Citifmonline at this link…
Veteran sports journalist Peter Cooper has died, aged 77.
Cooper, who began his journalism career at the Morning Telegraph in 1949, spent more than 25 years at the Daily Mirror as a sports reporter, says the Star. The Mirror has posted its own report and tribute to Cooper at this link.
Full story on The Star at this link…
The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) is offering sports journalism trainees the opportunity to report on this season’s football play-off finals as part of a new arrangement with the Football League.
The sporting body is sponsoring a new award for the best performing candidates in the NCTJ’s sport journalism exam. The winner of the award will cover the Championship play-offs, while second and third place will report from the League One and League Two play-offs respectively.
The winners for the 2009-10 exam will be announced next month. Candidates for the forthcoming academic year will have the chance to report from the 2011/12 season play-offs.
The BBC College of Journalism reflects on the news that researchers in America have created a computer which can “autonomously” write sports articles based on a set of statistics.
According to an article on the RobotShop blog, the machine, called ‘Stats Monkey”, relies on commonly-used phrases in sports journalism to form its own reports.
It can produce a headline of a particular game in only 2 seconds without spelling or grammar mistakes. Stats Monkey independently looks for websites specialised in match statistics, scores, goals, major events and even photographs. To write its article, the journalist robot uses pre-recorded forms of expressions that often come up.
But – BBC CoJo asks James Porter, the broadcaster’s former head of sports news – does this mean the end for sports journalism? It’s certainly a wake-up call, he says.
In America the way sports is covered and consumed is very statistics driven. Anything a player does is presented to the audiences in the form of statistics. I’m not so sure it’s applicable in the UK (…) It’s a wake up call to us to make sure our journalism concentrates on the stories and the excitement around sport and lifts itself out of the mundanity that otherwise we do sometimes descend into.
See the full post here…
In soccer-mad Brazil, radio and television reporters stand behind the goals and along the sideline during matches. Technically, they are restricted to interviewing players before matches, at half-time and after the final whistle. But sometimes they get a few comments after goals are scored or when players receive red-card ejections. Once, they were even known to follow Pelé into the shower.
The New York Times looks at the frustrations of the Brazilian journalists covering the World Cup as they are restricted to media areas in the stadia for Brazil’s games and have to watch non-Brazil matches on a television screen in the media centre away from the ground.
There are security and exclusivity issues here, of course, but are Brazilian readers and viewers losing the access and immediacy they have become accustomed to in football journalism?
Full story from the New York Times at this link…
The phone goes. It is the newsdesk. “We need you to go and find North Korean fans now,” comes the instruction. “There aren’t any,” I helpfully reply. “Don’t care. There must be at least one. Go and find him.”
Hmmm. I am in Soccer City, the North Koreans are at Ellis Park across the City. I have only a couple of hours to kick-off, no North Korean contact – but then, who has? – and no ideas, except for simply standing outside the ground and waiting for a North Korean to arrive. This is not time quibble because the message from the newsdesk is that this is a “must-have” story. Foreign correspondents in South Korea and Japan are filing dispatches and Jonathan Clayton, our correspondent in Johannesburg, has been stationed outside the team hotel. I have 800 words to write on the mysterious North Korean fans. Oh dear.
Times reporter Kevin Eason gives a great, first-hand account of tracking down stories – and North Korea fans – at the World Cup. It’s a story of shoe leather, pressure and a little bit of luck as a reward for doggedly chasing leads. Would be interesting to know if any World Cup reporters are using social media shoe leather too?
Full post at this link…
Football magazine When Saturday Comes looks at how Twitter use by football journalists is changing football reporting, as it encourages debate around news and makes journalists more accountable to fans:
Before social media created a two-way conversation on the internet, a journalist would only have had their editor and probably the manager of the club they reported on to answer to. They could print stories knowing they would not be asked to justify them to the ordinary football fan. But it’s different now for those who have chosen to set up Twitter accounts. They are pulled up on any factual errors in their stories, asked to reveal their sources and generally badgered by their followers (…) it’s a great way of taking the temperature of a club’s fans. You get to understand how they feel about certain players and managers, and what they believe are their biggest issues and concerns.
Of course, journalists should probably know this kind of thing but you can sometimes get caught up in the bubble of press conferences and talking to colleagues, and not realise what the real problems are.
Full story at this link…
From last week (via Martin Stabe) but worth a mention: ESPN has a report on Mark Zuckerman, a US sports reporter who is supporting his site by reader donations.
Built on $20-60 donations, Zuckerman has raised more than $10,000 to support the site and cover his costs while working. Essentially ‘hired’ by his donors, he is particularly responsive to questions and feedback on the coverage from his audience and tries to answer readers’ queries with his reporting:
Like his patrons, Zuckerman is getting something extra: a rekindled passion for his work. While driving to Florida, he blogged from a roadside rest stop about the Nationals signing Ron Villone. During his first day at spring training, he broke news that probable starting pitcher Ross Detwiler would miss 10 weeks following surgery on a torn hip flexor. Without the space restrictions of a newspaper, Zuckerman can write what he wants when he wants to write it; with greater reader interaction, he can tailor his information for the people who value it most.
Full story at this link…
“Six of the world’s leading newspapers dedicated to sport have come together to form the International Association of Sports Newspapers (IASN), to defend and promote the interests and freedom of the sports press,” the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) announced on Friday. Full release at this link.