Digital Live Sports Reporter

Scroll down to meet the nominees for Digital Live Sports Reporter of the Year

This award seeks to recognise those sports journalists who go live either on Facebook or via live blogs or live tweeting that through their skill and understanding of the medium take the reader and viewer with them to the heart of the action. 

The shortlist

Alex James, LancsLive

Supporting statements:

 Football journalism, particularly online, has sometimes felt like a race to the bottom. The examples here show that this doesn’t always need to be the case. The Athletic entering the UK market has prompted a response from a number of titles looking to provide more original and authentic content.

The interview with Graham Alexander felt like a must-do from when LancsLive launched, given his affiliation with both Burnley and Preston North End. It is a long read feature in the same breath as the John Welsh one below, which was interesting not just because he captained PNE to promotion to the Championship.

The Matej Vydra example given is done so because it was a LancsLive exclusive where the striker asked to leave the club. Alex has had numerous examples of such leads which has immediately given our football coverage the credibility it needed upon launch

 Judges Comments: 

Chatty and informal commentary fronts sharp appraisal and lively interaction.

An impressive, and wide-ranging portfolio of articles, demonstrating good online sports journalism skills. The pieces are written with gravitas and it is clear Luke knows what his audience wants.

Clever coverage that keeps fans involved


Andrew Musgrove, ChronicleLive

 Supporting statement:

 My main role is to run the daily transfer live blog, and match-day blog while covering Newcastle United and Sunderland which constantly top the figures for our website. I have made our daily blog the go-to place to come for transfers, rumours, takeovers, analysis and opinion – updating it every 15 minutes, and driving traffic through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Often logging on at all times when news breaks.

Our match-day blog is also a must visit for fans – I cover the game in real time within our blog providing minute-by-minute action of the game, working alongside our writers to ensure not a kick is missed. This live coverage continues via Facebook live videos (team news), Instagram live video, and social media native posts which encourage engagement with our followers in real time.

Our live coverage continues with an immediate podcast which I present, and run – posted shortly after the final whistle, it provides instant reaction to the game.

I set-up the podcast, and in 2019 had more than 650,000 listens – in part to be more reactive to breaking news, i.e takeover rumours, and recording an instant podcast reaction.

We were nominated for an SJA for our podcast documentary on Sir Bobby Robson.

I also have set up the Chronicle NUFC instagram, and have close to 25k while managing that alongside my other roles – I post breaking news via the story feature, bringing more traffic into our website.

We know our audience enjoy reading about him, and I am always quick to turn around his views on Twitter to provide that. While our main two writers often produce the breaking news, I’m proud to provide the stories around that – the profiles, the instant reaction from pundits/fans, and of course the live blog.

These articles can sometimes bring in more page views than the original story, and at the very least carry the story along.

I do this alongside my main role as the live blogger, and social media poster – showing my ability to adapt and organise my time efficiently.

Judges Comments: 

Fearless comment and appreciative club history produce an enviable all-round portfolio.

A wide-ranging portfolio which shows impressive reporting skills on a match day with the Journal’s online blog, and also with the feature pieces focusing on Rafa Benitez, Paul Dummett and Terry Hibbitt. The match day blog is neatly written, it flows well, and is written with humour, opinion and personality. The impressive online statistics shows its reach among Newcastle United fans and that the format is working.

On the ball coverage that would be a must follow



Beren Cross, LeedsLive

Supporting statement:

 Across our second full year as a news organisation, LeedsLive’s Leeds United coverage exploded across Facebook and, more specifically, it’s Live platform.

Throughout 2019, we followed the fortunes of the Whites through the drama of an international story like Spygate, to the other side of the planet in Australia and behind the scenes at matches across the nation.

One of the key facets behind all three videos, and central to success with Facebook Live, has been viewer interaction, creating conversation, answering the questions of those watching and even taking the camera where they want to go.

In January, United head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s admission he had been actively spying on his Championship opponents in training made international headlines.

It was one of the biggest sporting stories of the year and LeedsLive capitalised on being one of the few outlets at the heart of Bielsa’s famous 70-minute lecture with a live broadcast from its immediate aftermath.

The video debrief, which broke down exactly what went on in the press conference and answered our audience’s burning questions, had a peak audience of 363, has been viewed for 36,000 minutes and reached 28,000 people across the network.

In the summer, Reach gave me the opportunity to follow the Whites on their pre-season tour to Australia. It provided me with an invaluable opportunity to bring live coverage to an audience under served by our competitors thousands of miles from home.

This submitted video took viewers behind the scenes of one of the club’s training sessions out there. Beyond the footballers doing their drills, it also put the fans at the forefront, putting them on camera and illustrating the lengths they will go to for the love of the club.

I tried to give fans in the UK the insight they would want from a tour happening on the other side of the world.

In the final video, I provided our standard post-match debrief service with analysis, questions and answers inside the stadium, but also took them behind the scenes of a live Sky Sports broadcast, including a cup draw.

With stars like Gary Neville broadcasting live to the country, we were able to dovetail off that with footage of how those programmes are put together, while also giving our audience the breaking news of the cup draw itself.

Naturally, our Facebook page is full of weekly live broadcasts, but these are the three examples I feel provide the broadest range of what we have been capable of across the calendar year in various locations.

 Judges Comments: 

Accomplished video performer with an intimate style and confident knowledge of audience demands. From Australia to Salford City, Beren Cross’s Facebook Live pieces are packed with personality. The impressive viewing figures demonstrate how well the LeedsLive platform resonates with supporters. 


Gareth Hanna, Belfast Telegraph

Supporting statement:

 Throughout 2019, I continued to pioneer live sports reporting in Northern Ireland, providing unique coverage of a range of events, from schools’ competitions to the world’s most historic golf tournament.

The Open Championship’s return to Royal Portrush after 68 years was the highlight of our sporting calendar. As such, I took the lead in organising and carrying out, with one reporter working alongside me, wall-to-wall coverage.

I worked upwards of 80 hours across the week to ensure our readers didn’t miss a shot from the opening practice day to the tournament’s thrilling conclusion. As well as our blow-by-blow live blogs, published each day of the event, we were able to provide unique insights from the course with immediate reaction. That came in the form of player interviews and our own comment articles. Our website was noted by officials at Royal Portrush as the leading source of Open coverage.

Our comprehensive reporting did not stop at such high profile events as I also ensured the Belfast Telegraph website was the place to come for niche events which carry phenomenal community significance in Northern Ireland. As such, I provided live coverage of schools’ finals in four sports; football, GAA, hockey and rugby. Not content just to cover the competitions’ conclusions, I expanded our coverage to ensure families, friends and supporters had, for the first time ever, access to live updates from the Schools’ Cup rugby quarter-finals. The draw pitted the two most successful schools in the competition’s history against one another and, while the match went largely under the radar for other news outlets, I ensured I was there to provide updates throughout, from the team sheets to the subsequent draw for the semi-finals. This effort continued to break new ground in live sports reporting in Northern Ireland and ensured that the events that matter most to our public got the coverage they deserve. Without my attendance, events such as these would have gone without live reporting by any outlet.

I also ensured that our regular events were as well covered as ever, from Ulster Rugby matches to Northern Ireland international football games. One such event was Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Estonia. I provided our live updates in my trademark friendly tone and also ensured that, in the immediate aftermath of the game, the needs of the audience were satisfied. I did that through an instantly published video interview with goal-scorer Niall McGinn and through a unique comment piece on man-of-the-match Jordan Jones. While his display failed to be talked about by other media outlets, his was the only name on the lips of supporters. I ensured that his performance was noted in a considered article published just 90 minutes after the game, giving fans the content they wanted to read.

These efforts to recognise the accomplishments of sports men and women at all levels – from elite to schools – though unique, wide-ranging coverage make my contribution to sport in Northern Ireland worthy of winning this award.

 Judges Comments: 

There’s more to digital sports reporting than just professional football, and Gareth’s impressive portfolio demonstrates how regional news organisations need to reach beyond predictable sports coverage. The Telegraph’s coverage of golf’s Open at Portrush was impressive. The online blog was packed with personality and delivered a green side’s view of the action. Good to see schools’ rugby also getting a shout – that really is grass roots sports journalism.