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.
- Tom Edwards – Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Anger, hate and the politics of the planter, BBC News Online
- Kate Connolly and colleagues – Cleaner and greener’: Covid-19 prompts world’s cities to free public space of cars, The Guardian – Winner
- Peter Walker – Reduction in passenger road deaths ‘not matched by cyclists and pedestrians’, The Guardian
- Tom Wall – The New Road Rage, The Observer – Commended
- Ben Schofield – Cycling Environment in Wellingborough [BBC iPlayer (episode no longer available)], BBC Look East (West)
- Kathryn Stanczyszyn – Could Birmingham copy Belgian city car ban? [via Facebook], BBC Midlands
- Alex Thomson – Covid and Active Travel Responses [All 4 (episode no longer available)], Channel 4 News – Winner
- Yetunde Yusuf – Brighton & Hove School Streets [BBC iPlayer (episode no longer available)], BBC South East Today – Commended
- Jawad Iqbal – Nimbys are putting the brakes on our cycling revolution [Paywall], The Times
- Sirin Kale – Joggers and drinkers: what a day in the life of a Leeds park tells us about modern Britain, The Guardian – Commended
- Rianna Raymond-Williams – Meet Mercy Murua: The One Woman Army Fighting For Access For All [Paywall], Black Ballad
- Andrea Sandor – ‘For a ‘golden age of cycling’, Britain needs to make women feel safer on bikes’, CityMetric
- John Surico – When Street Design Leaves Some People Behind, Bloomberg
- Marcia Veiga – The Black Women Making Space For Themselves And Their Bikes On The Road [Paywall], Black Ballad – Winner
- Chris Boardman – Due to the covid-19 pandemic the planet effectively shutdown, meaning our public spaces and roads became quieter almost overnight [via Twitter], ITV4 Cycling – Commended
- Stephanie Hegarty (Reporter), Camelia Sadeghzadeh (Executive Producer/Director), Eva Ontiveros (Producer), Derrick Evans (Camera) – What would a city designed by women be like?, BBC News (Online) – Winner
- Ben Hobson – #Runsome Podcast
- Margherita Taylor – Rural Accessibility to nature [BBC iPlayer (episode no longer available)], Countryfile Spring Diaries
- David Bocking – Sheffield expert hails benefits of just going for a walk, Sheffield Telegraph – Winner
- Saiqa Chaudhari – University gears up to keep students safe, The Bolton News
- Chris Williams – Meet the cyclists who love to ride around Brighton and Hove, The Argus
- Matthew McLaughlin – Bradford on Avon cycle lane sees mixed response, Wiltshire Times – Commended
Campaign or Research
- Kieran Alger – Runners, now is our chance to change how we travel, Runner’s World
- Charles Critchell – What will promote or prevent a wider uptake of non-commercial cargo bike use in London? Parts 1 & 2, Fare City – Winner
- Zeina Hawa – Safer school streets play a vital part of our recovery plans, Sustrans
- Lucy Marstrand – Strategic planning must focus more on secondary school trips , TransportXtra – Commended
- Harry Cockburn – ‘Watching your child struggling to breathe is horrible’: The lives changed by Britain’s poisonous air, The Independent
- Nicholas Hellen – Waltham Forest, the suburb that pioneered the ‘20-minute neighbourhood’[Paywall], The Times – Commended
- Emma Latham Phillips – Green Spaces for All, Tribune – Winner
- Carlton Reid – How a Belgian port city inspired Birmingham’s car-free ambitions, The Guardian
- Lilian Fawcett – Students at risk? Air pollution on King’s campuses, Roar News (King’s College London) – Commended
- Eleanor Hooker – 25 reasons why you should start cycling, The Student’s Union (UWE)
- Simeon Lee – Nottingham named as one of UK’s best universities for cycling, The Tab Nottingham
- Ellie Martin – Lack of inclusive cycling in cities excludes disabled cyclists, The Mancunion (University of Manchester) – Winner
- Sarah Berry – Taking Up Space — Diary of a New Cyclist Pt 2. – Winner
- Magda Cepeda Zorrilla – COVID-19 in West Midlands, an Opportunity for Fostering Urban Micro-Mobility
- The Ranty Highwayman – Tackling The Main Roads – Commended
- Rupert Weare – Enabling Safe Walking and Cycling via Local Bridges
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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