Tracey Holmes: “Like athletes in the Olympics, we should always endeavour to set new records”

  • February 25, 2020

Tracey Holmes receiving her award from Hungarian swimming star Katinka Hosszú at the AIPS Sport Media Awards ceremony on February 3, 2020. (Photo by MSÚSZ/Cseh Peter)

LAUSANNE, February 25, 2020 - Back in 1989, Tracey Holmes was selected from thousands of applicants for one of only two specialist broadcast traineeships at the Australian Broadcasting Authority. Fast forward three decades and she does not only boast an extensive experience across various forms of journalism, with a strong bias for sports, she is also a well-known educator and mentor.

“My parents were competitive surfers so I was lucky enough to travel around the world from a very young age, which gave me a love of people from different cultures. I always loved talking to people and hearing their stories. The ABC journalism traineeship gave me a professional platform to showcase my passion,” Holmes, a senior mentor for the IOC Young Reporters programme, recalls.

She has worked in several countries for some of the world’s most recognised media organisations, including CNN International, and her versatility has seen her do TV, radio and print. However, a podium finish in the second edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards marked a new high in her sports journalism career. “I was humbled, honoured, proud, grateful, and relieved. It said to me my work is being recognised on an international platform amongst some of the best sports reporting in the world. It makes me realise the dedication to delivering the best work I can is worth it.”

Tracey was placed second in the audio category for her piece: The Ticket: The Horton v Sun Affair - Is Sun Yang a Drug Cheat? The forensic one-hour podcast was produced to answer the aforementioned question. This was after Australian Mack Horton, refused to step onto the podium at the 2019 World Swimming Championships to receive his silver medal behind Sun Yang, whom he labeled a ‘drug cheat’. Her article on the same issue finished 5th in the Writing Best Column category.

- Could you describe what inspired your submission that reached the final of the AIPS Sport Media Awards

- Much of the Sun Yang story has been misreported for years. This program travelled to experts all over the world to uncover the facts around one of the world’s greatest swimmers of all time whose reputation has been tarnished by mal administration, misreporting in the mainstream media and a veil of racism. Instead of reporting on hearsay the guests in the show all had specific knowledge of the swimmer and the situation he finds himself in - unique in Western media.

- In the period under review, you could have selected any other audio piece for submission but you chose this, why?
- I chose this because of the surprising level of feedback I had from listeners around the world. I knew it had impacted those who listened and changed the minds of many. It has changed the minds of many, and hardened the resolve of some others. It shows how complicated and fraught the anti-doping environment is and the importance of digging below the headlines.
- Please share with us the process of producing the work; what difficulties did you have to overcome to make it happen?
- The difficulties were finding the right talent to be interviewed and coordinating an interview schedule with different time zones all over the world, the depth of research, reading through detailed legal reports, conducting the interviews and then editing the program - all in 16 hours. Unlike all the others I spoke to at the AIPS Awards I am a solo outfit (no editors, producers or researchers) and given my work schedule I have only 16 hours a week to do this show. I am expected to deliver something of this quality each week which is a challenge!
- What can the AIPS Sport Media Awards bring to the profession and to the new generations of sports journalists?
- The AIPS Sport Media Awards are unique and a jewel in the crown of the profession. By allowing fellow journalists in the world of sports media to have their work recognised in such a way highlights the incredible work being done globally and showing us all that quality and standards are high, but like athletes in the Olympics, we should always endeavour to set new records and do even better. It also takes sports journalism outside a domestic environment and reveals stories, ideas and creativity that is on show from other parts of the world that do not often get recognised.
- What personal message do you have for the younger generation of sports journalists?
- Embrace every opportunity. Realise how lucky you are to work in such a profession and don’t be afraid to find your own voice: look at what others do and learn from the best but don’t be afraid to go in a different direction.
To conclude, Tracey, who currently works for ABC, presenting a daily international news & current affairs program alongside her weekly sports panel programme, The Ticket, adds: “Thank you to AIPS for creating an awards gala around the annual congress which will continue to grow. It is a showcase of the best in the world from our industry and should be a badge of honour for all - from Gianni Merlo through to every single AIPS staff member who work so hard to deliver such a special event. Thank you.”

To view all winners of the AIPS Sport Media Awards’ second edition, please click here.


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