This piece first appeared in the Autumn edition of Press Gazette – Journalism Quarterly, to take out a subscription (from £20 a year) – call 0845 073 9607. Please specify if you would like your subscription to begin with the current edition.
Daily Mail columnist Martin Samuel has been voted the top sports journalist in the UK following a poll of Press Gazette’s readers.
Samuel said he was “taken aback” by the news. “I’m always surprised to win anything. I voted David Walsh top because of everything he has done on Lance Armstrong, but I could have voted for a dozen other journalists for different reasons.”
Samuel, who moved to the Mail from The Times in 2008, thanked his colleagues on the sports desk and said he felt “very, very lucky” to work where he does.
He said: “The Daily Mail has never been anything but wonderfully supportive of me. I couldn’t work for a better paper. The people I work for on a day-to-day basis are fantastic.”
Samuel has also previously worked for The Sun, the News of the World and the Daily Express. He started his career as a “tea boy” at Hayters sports agency.
Voted into second place was Samuel’s first-choice vote, sports writer and author David Walsh.
Samuel said: “I could vote for guys as columnists, as story getters and some people that I regard as unsung heroes that do fantastic jobs for their newspapers on a limited budget.
“But when the vote came through all the Lance Armstrong stuff had come through and I just thought the work David had done on that was so exceptional.
“There was a great deal of risk involving his credibility and his finances, bearing in mind that Armstrong came after him. I thought that should be acknowledged.”
Press Gazette invited readers to take part in an online poll in the weeks following the conclusion of the London 2012 Olympics this summer.
More than 150 individuals, including some of the top names in British sports journalism, took part in the survey. Everyone who voted was invited to name their top ten sport journalists and votes were then allocated accordingly.
The top ten journalists are listed in order of votes and then the remaining 40 names are listed in first-name alphabetical order.
Samuel is a columnist for the Daily Mail. Here, he tells Press Gazette how and why he got into sports journalism, what advice he'd give to aspiring journalists and the challenges of covering the Olympics and modern-day football.
Walsh was vindicated for his tireless reporting of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal this year when the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles and given a life-time ban. The Sunday Times man was among only a handful of sports reporters who refused to be scared off the story, despite being pursued through the courts by Armstrong’s lawyers. Here, he tells Press Gazette how he helped expose the disgraced cyclist.
Winter is the Daily Telegraph’s football correspondent. Formerly of The Independent, he came top of Press Gazette’s last top 50 sports journalists list in 2010.
Conn is a sports writer at the Guardian. He also has a blog – Inside Sport – and wrote the book The Beautiful Game? Searching the Soul of Football.
Kimmage is a cycling journalist, published author and former professional road cyclist. He worked for The Sunday Times newspaper until earlier this year.
Hayward is chief sports writer at The Daily Telegraph. The ex-Observer journalist has twice been named sports writer of the year at the British Press Awards.
Atherton is chief cricket correspondent of The Times and also works as a broadcaster. He was captain of the England cricket team between 1993 and 1998.
Barnes is chief sports writer and columinist at The Times. He has written a number of books, including A Sports writer’s Year and The meaning of sport.
Kay is a football correspondent at The Times. He has made it into Press Gazette’s top 10 sports journalists list, having finished 18th in the 2010 vote.
Kelly is presenter of talkSPORT and a Daily Mail columnist. Kelly is a previous winner of the Sports Journalists’ Association columnist of the year award.
Deputy football correspondent of The Observer
Senior sports writer for the guardian.co.uk
Deputy sports editor at The Guardian
Sports journalist at the BBC
Sports columnist at the Daily Mail
Chief football writer for The Guardian and Observer
Chief sports writer at The People
Sports interviewer for The Guardian
Italian sports journalist and writer for The Times
Sky Sports journalist and former professional footballer
Scottish sports writer and Sunday Times columnist
The Olympic Games editor
Golf correspondent for the Telegraph
Chief sports writer at The Independent
Sports journalist and Sky Sports presenter
Sports writer for the Daily Mirror
Sports reporter at the News & Star and Cumberland News
Writer and sports writer for The Guardian
Sports writer at The Independent
Tennis and boxing correspondent for The Guardian and Observer
Daily Mirror’s chief football writer
Sports columnist at The Times and former table tennis professional
Writer and columnist for The Independent on Sunday
Sports journalist for the Sunday Express
Tennis correspondent for The Times
Chief sports reporter at the Daily Mirror
The Olympics editor of The Guardian
Chief sports reporter at The Times
Sports journalist at the London Evening Standard and Independent
Daily Mail columnist
Chief sports reporter at The Telegraph
Chief football writer at the BBC
Chief sports reporter for The Guardian
Football reporter at The Times.
The Independent’s chief football correspondent
Football columnist for The Guardian based in Madrid.
Rugby correspondent for The Sunday Times
Chief sports writer at the BBC
Merseyside football writer for The Times
Football editor of The Times