Following the success of the first Active Travel Media Awards in 2019, this year’s awards saw an expanded set of categories up for grabs. From traditional print journalism to online blogging and campaigns, the 2020 awards showcased excellence in reporting on active travel across a range of media and audiences. 

Excellence in Reporting During a Very Different Kind of Year 

The 12 months since the first Active Travel Media Awards have cast many aspects of our lives into a different light. How we work, shop, connect with each other, experience our local areas, and travel to different areas: all of these facets of our lives have been challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing issues around car dominance – from how it affects our ways of moving around to the very structuring of our towns and cities – have been thrust into the limelight as we seek to grapple with a changed world. We’ve been forced by circumstance to confront many perceptions about where our longer-term problems lie.

Amongst these moments of change and reassessment, the need for a mature and nuanced media discourse around active travel has been more important than ever. Access to clear and accurate information with which to navigate unfamiliar questions and unexpected – even scary – answers, is crucial to a healthy public discourse. And recognising and celebrating excellent media coverage of cycling and walking is exactly the reason that the Active Travel Media Awards were set up.

Awards in the time of Covid-19

This year’s event took place online on the evening of 26th November 2020. Proceedings opened with journalist Laura Laker discussing her ‘Road Collision Reporting Guidelines’ project. In collaboration with national roads policing, academics and experts in the field, road safety charities, and the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council – not to mention a recently completed public consultation – this project aims to develop best practice guidelines for how media professionals report on road collisions. 

Winners and commended authors were then announced from amongst extremely strong shortlists across nine categories. New this year were awards for ‘Student Journalist’, ‘Blogs’, and ‘Campaign or Research’. Each category was introduced by ATA director Professor Rachel Aldred, with a short video clip from either a shortlisted author or participant in a shortlisted piece. Members of the judging panel then discussed what had impressed the panel most about each piece – an extensive number of points given the high quality of the work. Alongside the online stream, the winners and highly commended awards were announced simultaneously via Twitter, and it was great to see such positive social media engagement with the tweets.

In addition – and by popular public demand – a Special Award was given to Brian Deegan and Dr Robert Davis for the weekly ‘Ideas with Beers’ webinars. This award reflected both the unusual times – an online adaptation of what had started as real world pub meetings – and the breadth of national and international participation that has resulted in a unique and engaging coverage of active travel.

Thanks, and looking forward to next year 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making the awards such a success: thank you to our judges, to all of those who nominated people, and to the nominees themselves for your work in this field. Journalists, broadcasters and bloggers who go out of their way to understand the issues and report on these in an honest, responsible way – we thank you and your work, and all those working in the field to make our streets safer and more pleasant, for everyone. We hope to see you all again – hopefully in person – at the 2021 Active Travel Media Awards! 

The full list of shortlisted authors, winners, and commended

There was a range of excellent nominations this year, and sadly not all could be included in the final shortlist.

News (written)

News (broadcast)

Features (written)

Features (broadcast)

Local media

Campaign or Research

Investigation

Student Journalist

Blog

Special Award

Brian Deegan and Dr Robert Davis for the ‘Ideas with Beers’ series of webinars and news digests.

Our expert panel of judges was co-chaired by journalist Laura Laker and Director of the Active Travel Academy Professor Rachel Aldred, with academics Professor Guy Osborn, Victoria Hazael (Cycling UK), Tanya Braun (Living Streets), and Dr David Fevyer (Active Travel Academy).

You can view a recording of the full livestream of the awards event here.

 

 

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