The road to Sport Media Excellence in the pandemic era
Martin Mazur - AIPS Media
LAUSANNE, March 22, 2021 – The road leading to #SportMediaExcellence found an unexpected obstacle in 2020.
Soon before launching the 2020 edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards, the pandemic hit the world.
the difficult, unprecedented circumstances, the first promoting message
we sent was clear and loud - Sport was cancelled, journalism is not.
It was, indeed, an exceptional time for outstanding pieces of journalism and our Award played a major role in showcasing it.
the end of September, with sport slowly resuming, AIPS announced a one
month extension to guarantee journalists that were still in lockdown and
struggling to get access to events an extra opportunity to
the deadline, of November 9, the results were remarkable: 1871
submissions, a record, coming from 129 different countries, a record,
and in 34 different languages, yes, another record.
Journalism was not cancelled, after all.
First cut - With
the impossibility of in-person meetings, the deliberation then started
with permanent Zoom calls between December and March.
expert panel, alongside the Executive Committee members and Jurors,
made their initial ratings. The AIPS office staff checked the validity
of all works and started asking for the translations into English, the
official language of the Awards.
initial selection led to the publication of the longlists of the 8
senior categories plus the Young Reporter categories. Around 20% of the
participants were selected in this first voting stage. The journey,
though, was just starting.
EC meetings - Composed by 24 members representing 24 different nations, the AIPS Executive Committee
reviewed and discussed the submissions in several virtual sessions.
Based on this deliberation, the favourite works advanced to the next
round. Social media filled with compliments for the nominees. The second
voting round was over.
Jury voting sessions - The shortlists were then presented to the Jury, that would handle the last three voting stages.
The Jury is composed by 12 respected members of the media landscape representing the five continents.
arduous work involved narrowing down the shortlists into a Top 10
(third voting stage), and then decide the Top 5 finalists (fourth voting
There was an overall agreement: the quality of the works received was higher than ever.
remaining candidates, 40 for the senior categories plus 9 for the Young
Reporter categories, were then subject to a final voting, last Friday.
The podium nominees with the top 3 most voted were announced a day before the ceremony.
of the final positions were kept secret even for the Jury members, who,
just as it happened in the first two editions, only find out who comes
first, second and third during the ceremony.
Eight categories - The
AIPS Sport Media Awards feature eight senior categories are as follows:
Photography Sport Action, Photography Portfolio, Writing Best Column,
Writing Best Colour Piece, Video Short Feature, Video Athlete Profile,
Video Documentary, Audio, plus the special category for the Under 30s:
Young Reporters Writing, Young Reporters Photography and Young Reporters
senior categories offer money prize (US$ 8,000 for the first place, US$
3,000 for the second place, US$ 2,000 for the third place) while the
Young Reporter category winners are entitled to a scholarship in an
international sporting event.
COVID era - As
a reflection of a very special year in the world of journalism, a list
of ‘covid’ works was also published in the AIPS website, featuring
candidates for outstanding reporting in the pandemic era, an initiative
of the president of the Jury, AIPS president Gianni Merlo, to show that
despite the reigning darkness, there is a light at the end of the
tunnel. The place chosen for the virtual ceremony couldn’t be more
accurate, as the castle of Vigevano is a symbol of the Renaissance era.
was the third edition of these Awards that quickly became the most
distinguished accolade in the world of sports media. A real celebration
of the best sports storytellers from around the world.