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Global sports awards unveiled for Abu Dhabi

posted on 03/03/2015: 1599 views

PARIS: In the saturated and omnipresent world that is the media today, athletes in particular have a way of becoming outsized, heroic figures.

We honour them annually for their ability to be better and seemingly larger in every sport. From the Ballon d'Or to Olympic medals and Sports Personality of the Year, athletes are in no short supply of hardware to add to the colourful stories of their careers.

Now, however, a major international award scheme hosted by Abu Dhabi Media will honour the work of those who tell those colourful stories.

Monday night at the Louvre in Paris, the International Sports Press Association (Aips) announced the launch of the Sport Media Pearl Awards to recognise the work – integral to the production of sport – not performed by athletes, but by the sports media.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in the UAE capital in December.

They will be the culmination of a rigorous and independent international search and judging process by Aips, which will seek to identify and reward the very best in sports journalism.

The announcement represents a new, ambitious effort to reward excellence in sports journalism in a global fashion that is largely without precedent.

While journalism as a profession is regularly rewarded through the Pulitzers or any other of a prolific number of industry awards, sports journalism is without any kind of annual international standard-bearing prize.

The Sport Media Pearl Awards aim to fill that void.

Aips, a Paris-based professional body for sports journalists, which has more than 10,000 representatives in more than 160 countries, will independently take open entries from around the world in any language.

Freelancers will also be able to submit entries on the awards website but only those published between September 1 last year and August 31this year will be considered.

In a months-long process, it will cut those down to a shortlist of 10, from which three will be selected to attend the ceremony.

The Sport Media Pearl Awards will recognise six main categories: photography, writing, video, audio, blogging and "sport for a better world”. The photography, writing and video categories will each contain two awards.

There will also be three categories honouring lifetime achievement, investigative reporting and web app development.

The Abu Dhabi ceremony and dinner will come at the end of a two-day conference aimed at becoming a global forum for the profession and its future.

Organisers describe the awards as aiming "to become the most significant international accolade across every platform for achievement in sport storytelling”.

2- Award outlines:

Journalists will be honoured in six key disciplines, as well as with three special awards. Here is a look at the criteria that will be used to determine each winner:

Sport for a Better World

This will be given to the sports journalism that, according to the organisers, is "dedicated to coverage of a sporting initiative ... that aims to better the lives of the less fortunate or marginalised”. It will be the award most purely aimed at recognising journalism that captures sport's human side. This honour will carry with it a donation of US$50,000 (Dh183,648) to the cause brought to light by the piece of journalism.


Two awards will be open to professional photographers. Print or web-based photographers will be eligible to win in either the "athletic prowess” category – a world-record moment, a career-defining achievement or some other kind of transcendent success; or "emotion” category – poignantly capturing the jubilation, heartbreak or incredulity of a moment.


Awards are for best column and best colour piece. Judges of the best column will seek to find writing that analyses and illuminates a given sport, that displays a profound understanding of a given sport and the writer's ability to transmit that meaning to readers. The best colour will reward the most resonant piece of writing, which singularly captures the life of sport and the gravity of the moment inherent to sport.


This will recognise the role of the auditory – be it a telecast, radio broadcast or podcast – in amplifying the sense of the occasion in sport.


There will be two video awards. The first will reward the complexity and enlightening nature of the documentary, while the second will be awarded for the capture of an action sequence – the single highlight that displays sport's ability to excite and amaze.

Journalist weblog

This award will aim to find the best, most innovative writing in the world of new media. The most resonant writing for a web audience, the ability to foster community and the most dynamic sense of communicating on a digital platform.

Special categories

There are also special categories. "A Life in Sport” will honour lifetime achievement by a sports media professional, "Investigative Reporting” will recognise the dedication given to digging for hard, important stories and the "Best App” will reward the best platform that engages sports fans.

For more on the Sport Media Pearl Awards click here. – The National -


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