Leading up to the ceremony, finalists discuss quality and global impact of the AIPS Sport Media Awards

  • January 17, 2019

Renowned Italian journalist, Emanuela Audisio is the only one with two submissions in the final stage of the AIPS Sport Media Awards.

Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS Young Reporter, Nigeria

LAUSANNE, January 17, 2019 - As the first AIPS Sport Media Awards ceremony draws ever closer, with all roads leading to the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on January 21, the finalists have spoken highly of the internationally acclaimed accolade, which attracted an outstanding 1273 submissions from 119 countries.

The overwhelming figures are matched by amazing quality. From the world's most prestigious media to the freelancer, participants engaged in an intense dialogue of sport media excellence through their work. The entries, which comprise an array of journalistic content from both the local and international scene, attest to the fact that the Awards are an ideal showcase for sports storytelling.

BEST BEGINNING In July 2018, Anthony Audureau, Pierre Esquer and Thomas Larabi from the Institut Pratique du Journalisme (IPJ) in France embarked on a ten-day trip to Dakar - alongside 15 other colleagues - to produce reports and content about the Senegalese capital and its inhabitants. The trio never imagined that six months later, their video about a Senegalese wrestler would put them in the spotlight at an awards ceremony.

“To be selected from 1273 works of 119 different nations, is just amazing,” Audureau said. “First we are impressed by these figures. They show the important scale of this very new Awards. And then we are very proud to have been chosen. It is a big sign of recognition from other journalists. This selection highlights our work. As young journalists, this is the best beginning we could have dreamt of. It is very encouraging for us. This will be a very important experience in our young career.”

A BIG STEP FORWARD José Ignacio Pérez Hernández, from Spain’s leading sports newspaper Marca, also highlighted the significance of the Awards in his career. He said: “It is an enormous professional recognition, a big step forward in my career as a journalist, something unforgettable on a personal level. It seems incredible that among so many reports from around the world mine has been one of those selected for the final round. Also, all of this encourages me to try to improve from year to year and continue looking for new stories to tell in the future.” Hernández made it to the top three of the Writing – Best Colour Piece category.

VISIBILITY Most of the finalists may have come from Europe, but every continent is represented in their submissions. This confirms the universality of the AIPS Sport Media Awards just as Diego Hurtado De Mendoza has explained: “The scope of the festival is truly outstanding. It really shows a commitment to telling great stories regardless of their country of origin. In the case of our film, being part of such a prestigious international showcase is a phenomenal way to provide wider visibility to intimate local stories from countries not usually covered by the mainstream media.” Hurtado alongside, Greg Groggel and Peter Berg are in the top three of the Video – Athlete Profile category for their film which was published on the Olympic Channel.

Aaron Kearney and Dan Goldberg, who are both Australians but nominated in different categories: Audio and Video – Documentary respectively, echoed the same sentiment.

Kearney said: “So many outstanding practitioners from across the globe entered and I have long admired the work of so many of them. To be judged worthy in their company is especially uplifting because Australia and the Pacific can often feeI invisible in such company. I have loved seeing the delight on the faces of family and friends, especially those in the Pacific, when they have heard the news because they know the passion I have for this work.”

Goldberg added: “119 nations – that’s more than half the globe! And the Haka is of course a Maori tradition, so it’s on the outer edge of the globe, down in New Zealand in the South Pacific, so we are proudly representing our part of the globe.”

HONOUR The finalists have also acknowledged how much of an honour it is to have their work selected as the best from such a large pool of entries. “That is amazing,” Dumitru Graur, who describes himself as an “old commentator” said. Graur’s column for Sport in Romania earned him a top three spot in the Writing – Best Column category of the Awards: “In fact, I presume that this nomination is the highest honour received by a journalist (especially one from Sports beat) in the whole history of journalism in Romania, and I am very proud of it.”

According to Italian Dario Ricci, who got nominated in the top three of the Audio category, “It's incredible and amazing to think that colleagues from all over the world took part in this Awards, and I got selected.”

United Kingdom’s Nick Butler, who is now with the ARD Doping Editorial Team in Germany having left insidethegames last year, also said: “It is a huge honour and also an incentive to continue improving and producing better work. I also think it reflects well on insidethegames, which is a fantastic website/business which invests in young and inexperienced journalists at a time when many media in the UK are unable or unwilling to. They also gave me huge freedom and guidance in writing in the way I want.” One of Butler’s weekly blogs made it to the final stage of the Awards in the Journalistic Weblog category.

Magicpbk’s Patrick B. Kraemer is very proud of himself to have reached the final three in the Photography – Portfolio category. Looking at the number of submissions, he exclaimed, “Wow, that's a lot, I'm speechless! I have to process that first. Honestly, it's a really good feeling. It is a special honour to be nominated in the top three, especially when so many colleagues around the world participated.”

OVERWHELMING Norbert Schmidt of Norbert Schmidt Sports Photo described the number of submissions as “overwhelming”, adding that it makes him feel special to have made it to the final three in his category (Photography - Sport Action). “I know soooo many excellent photographers around the globe and follow a lot of my colleagues on their social media accounts, so there are so many superb sports pictures existing around the world. Hence to finally receive a spot on the podium is a special feeling for me because for a long time I have worked in nearly every part of the world and now to be in the top three with a picture taken about 30 miles from my home is very satisfying.”

In that same Photography - Sport Action category, Vincent Riemersma from the Netherlands was already excited that he reached the top 20, “seeing my name between all the great names in international sports photography.” Moving up from there to the top three, his joy now knows no bound. He said it is “a great privilege and recognition” for his work.

Renowned Italian journalist, Emanuela Audisio, the only one with two submissions in the final stage of the Awards, said: “It’s a sort of Media Olympic Games, with AIPS giving eveybody, all over the world, the chance to run. And I hope that more women will partecipate in order to show that sport has no gender: whether you run or you write or you film or you take photos. Sport means solidarity. It’s a team work.” She has been nominated in the two Video sub categories; Documentary and Athlete Profile.

Meanwhile after seeing their Audio piece reach the final three, German duo of Pirmin Styrnol and Jürgen Schmidt are looking forward to the Awards ceremony as an opportunity “to get acquainted with so many great sport journalists from all over the world”.

OVERCOMING POLITICAL BARRIER But what if for some reasons, Igor Rabiner’s column was not published? This question is what makes his nomination into the top three even more significant. “Frankly speaking, it's still hard to believe. And, surely, it's a reason for pride. I got a lot of calls and text messages with congratulations not only from my colleagues, but also from some top Russian football and ice hockey coaches and players. Sport-Express, the website and newspaper where I work since 1994, reposted the good news from the AIPS website, so many people in Russia learned about that.

“I'd like to say special thanks to Sport-Express because, speaking honestly, I'm not sure that every national media in today's Russia would have published this column. It came out as a "Special opinion", and, unfortunately, it really doesn't reflect the mood of the majority of our people for the moment. But it's my opinion, and I'm grateful to Sport-Express that it showed respect to me by publishing this column. And also it shows that, regardless of politics, we don't have to stop ourselves from expressing our honest feelings.”

The winners of the Awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony to be held at the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel on January 21 and all finalists will be present.


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