Insight and analysis from Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford

A note on the British Journalism Awards judging

The British Journalism Awards judging took place over two sessions at the end of October with judges divided up between the two to divide the workload.

I chaired both judging sessions and all the winners were only agreed after unanimous agreement apart from in one case.

Former Daily Mail sports editor Tom Clarke felt that the entry submitted by the Sunday Times in support of David Walsh for sports journalist of the year should be disregarded because two of the supporting articles were after the time cut-off. 

The other judges in that session: myself, Lori Miles, Kevin Marsh and Robin Morgan discussed his concerns and felt very strongly that David Walsh should be the winner. The rules state that journalists can submit up to three articles in support of their entry and all the other judges agreed that the one in-time Walsh article was enough to make him a worthy winner because of the extraordinary achievement which it represented - his 13-year-campaign to expose cyclist Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat.

The judges didn't just base their decision on that article, but on the supporting statement and their wider knowledge of David's work.

It was the unanimous decision of the judges in this session and in the other one that Walsh also deserves the accolade of Journalist of the Year. The other judges were David Banks, Phillip Knightley, Peter Cole, Bob Satchwell and George Brock.

Tom's name was taken off the British Journalism Awards web page because he said he wanted to be disassociated from the awards, and he also asked that a statement be published on his behalf after the winners were announced, which I am now doing.

'Tom Clarke, one of the judges, disassociates himself from the award to David Walsh. Clarke says: ‘This is not because David Walsh is the winner – he is an outstanding sportswriter – but because his entry was, in my view, not eligible. His entry consisted of three pieces, two of which were published (on September 23 and October 14) after the closing date for publication (September 1), and thus it should have been rejected.'

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