Why the AIPS Sport Media Awards represent a quality compass to the sport media world
AIPS Sport Media Awards Director Martin Mazur giving a presentation on the global impact of the second edition at the 83rd AIPS Congress. (Photo by Carlo Pozzoni)
Martin Mazur - AIPS Media
LAUSANNE, February 13, 2020 - The success story of the AIPS Sport Media Awards is neither a coincidence, nor did it happen by accident or by a streak of good luck.
There are many reasons to explain the growing interest and the figures that we’ve highlighted over the past month, with 1746 submissions representing 125 countries, 37 percent more than in the opening edition of the Awards.
The first, and more obvious, is the terrific promotion job led by the AIPS Media staff, coordinated 24/7 and beating borders and time zones, in order to spread the message: we are here to promote sport media excellence. No language barriers, no submission fees, no memberships of any kind required to participate, as long as participants were professionals.
But scratching under the surface, there is more.
After two years and speaking to dozens of international journalists coming from different realities, there is total agreement in one point: The AIPS Sport Media Awards came to fill an empty space. Sports journalists, photographers and storytellers across different platforms were badly needing international recognition.
And with the need of visibility comes transparency. After an initial screening that took one month, the AIPS Sport Media Awards had four voting stages over four months. Rushing was not an option. Finalists are not selected by a lottery or based on quotas.
In November, the 24 members of the EC Committee, representing 24 different countries from the five continents, narrowed the initial list to 330 submissions, split into 11 different categories: eight main categories and the three new Young Reporter Categories.
Then, the 11 respected members of the Jury picked the top 10 for each category. A third voting stage, in December, allowed them to select the 27 finalists that travelled to Budapest to participate in the gala. In February, a day before the ceremony, a final voting took place and the winners were decided. But not even the Jury members knew the results in advance.
To make a global award, a serious one capable of catching the interest of the press all around the world, transparency must be the foundation stone. Winners, finalists and participants know that their works were reviewed by a multinational team of experts.
Dozens of translations were asked, and the vast network of AIPS Media allowed us to rate submissions in every language, which allowed us to have finalists from Lithuania, Iran, Argentina, China, Morocco or Russia.
Quality above all
In times where fame no longer lasts 15 minutes, but 15 seconds, the AIPS Sport Media Awards offer the chance to get proper credit for outstanding work. For most of the finalists, no matter if they were from big media outlets or small independent companies, being on stage was a career highlight, with live broadcasting on Facebook Live and YouTube so their family members and colleagues could follow them as in any other top event.
We’ve also learned that one third of the world was involved in the second edition of the Awards, with 48% new participants. But an inmensurable figure lies on the quality of the submissions received. The jurors admit that the level was so high that in some reasons, the photo-finish result was more than expected.
The sole participation in these Awards raises the bar, as it forces each individual to review a year of work, deciding what was his or her most appealing piece.
Yes, some newspapers and TV still rate their journalists by the number of pieces they produce, regardless of the quality, but we believe it will be sooner than later that quality imposes itself as a game-changer. This Award also points in that direction.
Since all the votes are sealed, but kept on paper, it is easy to create the continental rankings, based on the most rated articles, photos, videos and audio submissions.
We understand that being selected and recognised in your continent is also a reason to celebrate, which is why we will be sharing these rankings. They can be a defining moment in the career of many journalists, and not just a method to reduce the number of candidates from 1746 to 27.
Then, once the results and the rankings are published, they become a free encyclopaedia to understand the level of sport journalism in different platforms, and inspire the newcomers. This is also why we will be publishing the highest rated stories, and asking the journalists how they dealt with them.
It’s not an accident, it’s not a streak of luck, it’s not a coincidence. Sport Media Excellence is the result of hard work. And so are the AIPS Sport Media Awards.
Now, let’s get ready for the third edition! More exciting news coming soon...