One week on, one indelible day for sport journalism
The grand ballroom of the Corinthia Budapest Hotel, where the AIPS Sport Media Awards took place on February 3, 2020. (Photo by Carlo Pozzoni/AIPS Media)
Martin Mazur - AIPS Media
LAUSANNE, February 10, 2020 - It’s been a week since the AIPS Sport Media Awards paid homage to the best storytellers from around the world, in a stunning ceremony in Budapest. A city dominated by its wonderful bridges was the perfect set for the Awards, a bridge to the future of sport journalism.
One day full of emotions, expectations and unforgettable memories.
One day that celebrated the best of our profession in an intimate yet resounding gala, broadcast live via Facebook to every pocket of the world.
One day that set the tone for the challenges that lie ahead in the sport media world.
One day that produced headlines for the five continents, thanks to the pre-gala and post-gala interviews for live television.
One day that also wrapped up a year of intense work from the AIPS Media team, the Executive Committee members, National Associations and Members of the Jury.
Between their combined and remarkable work, the list of 1746 submissions from 125 countries was narrowed to 27 finalists - 24 from the 8 main categories and 3 in the Young Reporter categories.
The 11 members of the Jury made their final decision the day before, in the magical Puskas Academy stadium. The secrecy of the results was so high, that not even them were informed about the final results, thus creating a more authentic reaction as the winners were announced by Jonathan Edwards.
“Not even in my wedding I’ve managed to get a ceremony like this, and you’re telling me this is all for me?”, joked one of the finalists while looking at the ballroom of Hotel Corinthia, a baroque room with beautiful reddish lights and two giant screens on stage.
From FIFA president Gianni Infantino to IAAF president Sebastian Coe, from Marca’s director Juan Ignacio Gallardo to SportAccord president Raffaele Chiulli, the sport world paid homage to the AIPS Sport Media Awards, those two hours in which a handful of global journalists from The BBC, The Boston Globe, Xinhua, La Nacion, AFP, Diario As, The Guardian, NBC, Olympic Channel, ABC, Kathmandu Post, Getty Images and The Daily Telegraph, among others big players in the media industry, shared the stage and received their recognitions.
Most of them had never been before on the other side of the news, being the protagonists and receiving dozens of messages from their family members, compatriots and colleagues.
“When you look at the videos of my category, it was impossible not to feel a winner just by being there. The quality was so, so good”, said Marissa Boyajian (NBC).
In the two-hour ceremony, a moment of silence -which immediately turned into applause- was dedicated to Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other 7 victims -all sports related- from the helicopter crash.
In the speeches, guests were able to listen to impactful testaments about women in sport, and in sports journalism. Brave investigations and insight stories received deserved recognitions. The Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack, who won the Best Colour Piece with his story “There was blood everywhere”, dedicated his trophy to the victims of the sex abuse scandal in the Afghan FA, that risked their lives talking to her.
The ceremony was also inspiring thanks to the powerful words of Brazilian journalist Jamil Chade, who won the Investigative Special Award. “We will not run out of ink,” was his indelible message.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also openly addressed two very current topics: racism and corruption.
Another tearful moment was the touching video of Best Column finalist Carlos Matallanas, who suffers ALS but sent an emotional message on video, with his brother present on stage.
Spanish great José María Lorente, 93 years old, who wrote the AIPS book, earned a well deserved standing ovation as he claimed the A Life in Sport special award. “After 70 years, today my career closes. I appreciate this homage from my soul, from my heart, with my life”, he said.
Later on, the gala dinner hosted by HengYuanXiang (HYX) was even more impressive, with the 27 winners (would be unfair to simply call them finalists) often getting up for emotional videoconference calls showing their trophies.
All this, and more, in just one day.
Budapest, you will always be remembered.
That day will last for ever.