Meet the jurors: Andreas Schirmer on the emerging themes for sports media

  • June 29, 2020
Graphics by Nordcap Studio

AIPS Media

LAUSANNE, June 29, 2020 - Expert in sports politics and chronicler of the history of fencing, Andreas Schirmer is one of the most distiguished journalists on the European scene. From the desks of the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), where he currently works, Schirmer has shared with us his impressions over the AIPS Sports Media Awards.

As a member of the jury I learned a lot by looking beyond the European horizon,” he says.

Despite the unexpected conditions that sports journalism is facing, Schirmer seems confident that the sports media industry will learn how to adjust itself. And in this respect, the upcoming edition Awards will represent more than ever the occasion where the sports journalism will reaffirm the values at the roots of its culture.

What impressed you most about last edition?

For me, the AIPS Sports Media Awards have quickly become the "Oscars" in sports journalism. There is no comparable award. It's not only the globality that distinguishes the AIPS Sports Media Awards, but also the increasing quality of the submissions. Among the 1700 or so submissions from 125 countries, there was a high number of fascinating contributions that honour sports journalism around the world. We saw extraordinary, sometimes touching video documentaries. Equally excellent photos in a large number, so the selection was difficult. In addition, the jury was allowed to read Best Colour Pieces from all parts of the world, which were distinguished by the special nature of the topics or the special courage of the authors who uncovered corruption and unfair machinations. It was also a pleasure to experience the freshness and the new view on sports events with which the Young Reporters take their first steps in sports journalism. As a member of the jury I learned a lot by looking beyond the European horizon.     

Do you expect to see new countries represented?

I hope so. It would be a sign that the AIPS Sports Media Awards are receiving more and more recognition and appreciation. And as the jury has learned from the winners of the awards, the winners themselves will also receive more recognition in their countries. There are still many white spots on the world map, if one takes the countries recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a benchmark. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, 209 countries were at the start. So there is still a lot of air left to the top!

Do you think that the travel ban in many parts of the world will help boost the "local factor" in this years' stories?

This is bound to happen. But would that be bad? No! It is a year in which Olympic Games and most of the World and European Championships or Continental Championships are not held. Even in football, the ball had to rest for a long time. Sports journalism without sport is a challenge. But looking at sports that are not so much in the spotlight and athletes who are not superstars but local celebrities can also provide material for great stories. We can be curious! 

Given the lack of sporting events and sport becoming an issue of incraesing political interest, do you think that interviews and articles concerning personalities of sports politics and administration will have space in the submissions this year?

I assume that there will be more submissions with sports political content. The rescheduling of the Olympic Games in Tokyo was a major topic that sports journalism has accompanied in all journalistic facets - in images, sound, with reports, interviews or commentaries. And the Tokyo Games will remain a major topic until summer 2021. So we can certainly expect to receive many submissions on this topic. 

This year many events were forced to stop for the first time since the world wars. Do you expect a new curiosity and more backward-looking research in the submissions?

One has heard from many editorial offices that the time without sports events is a very exciting one. It is a time of creativity that has benefited the whole spectrum of sport. In Germany, before the Corona crisis, the motto was: football, football, football. Since March, on the other hand, there has been a voyage of discovery through the cosmos of sport that has been fun for colleagues and readers alike. This included historical articles about important sporting events or athletes. Sports history had a boom. When things return to normal and the pandemic is under control, it will once again be football, football, football.


Andreas Schirmer began his journalistic career at German agency Sport-Informations-Dienst (SID) in Hamburg at the end of the 1970s. After his traineeship and a further two years at SID, he continued his studies in politics and journalism. At the end of the 1980s, Schirmer joined the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), where he works to this day. His reporting expertise lies in athletics, sports politics and fencing, and he has written several books about the history of fencing. He has reported on a total of 16 summer Olympic Games and eight winter Games as well as several world championships in football and athletics.


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