Journalism can change the world. It can illuminate and inspire, or it can muddy the waters.

The Active Travel Academy’s goal is to bring together all disciplines to tackle issues around car dominance – and a healthy public discourse, led by a well-informed and mature media landscape, is crucial to that. Ultimately, good reporting on active travel can challenge perceptions about where our problems lie and how we can solve them as a society.

“Celebrating excellence”

That’s why we decided to launch the Active Travel Media Awards, to celebrate excellence in reporting on cycling and walking, and showcase best practice. To recognise great reporters, broadcasters and others dedicated to their craft – often despite the financial challenges inherent in the modern media landscape.

After a call for nominations in September we shortlisted entries from which our panel of judges chose winners across six categories (below). We were delighted by the quality of work on display across a variety of disciplines, some using innovative approaches, some tried and tested methods of reporting.

The event

The awards event was held on 25 November 2019, at the University of Westminster’s historic Fyvie Hall in Regent Street, central London. Winners and highly commended authors in each category received a quirky medal made from recycled bicycle chains and tyres. Sustrans’ Xavier Brice presented his thoughts and mentioned some recent research by the charity that found 60% of news coverage of active travel was negative.

It was the event’s first year, with just two of us, journalist Laura Laker and ATA director, Dr Rachel Aldred, organising it on a shoestring over a fairly short period of time, so we were delighted to have so many people there to support and toast good journalism with us.

Nominees and those working in the field of active travel had the chance to meet face to face, some for the first time. There was much positivity and enthusiasm in the room for what we are seeking to achieve, and we left on a high. We can’t wait to host an even bigger celebration of great journalism next year – with, we hope, even more entries across more categories.

Thank you – here’s to next year!

Thank you to everyone who contributed, thank you to our judges, to all of those who nominated, and to nominees 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. Here’s to next year!

Our shortlist, and the winners, are below:

  1. News (written word)
    Carlton Reid, Historic And Wonderful Cyclist And Pedestrian Tunnel Under River Tyne Re-Opens, Forbes
    Feargus O’Sullivan, In Car-Choked Brussels, the Pedestrians Are Winning, CityLab – Winner
    Kali Lindsay, Why parking on the pavement causes major problems for disabled people, Newcastle Chronicle
  2. News (broadcast)
    Tom Edwards, What do you breathe in on a commute? BBC London – Winner
    Stacey Foster and Bob Warman, Family By Cycle Thumbs Up, ITV Central
    Nick Van Mead and colleagues, London’s toxic school runs: how polluted is the air children breathe?Guardian Cities – Highly Commended
  3. Features (written)
    Carlton Reid, Bicyclists May Use Full Lane, Forbes
    Dave Walker, A Cyclist’s Guide to Biking the City, Guardian Cities – Winner
    Mark Alker, Verbier by Train, Singletrack Magazine (paywall)
    Njogu Morgan, How Apartheid Killed Johannesburg’s Cycling Culture, Guardian Cities – Highly Commended
    Stephen Burgen, ‘For me, this is paradise’: life in the Spanish city that banned cars’, Guardian Cities – Winner
  4. Features (broadcast)
    Peter Walker, Why forcing cyclists to wear helmets will not save lives, The Guardian – Winner
    Elodie Harper, Barton Hills Ramble, ITV local (no longer available online) – Highly Commended
    Environmental Transport Association, Stop Killing Our Children
    Alex Davis & Jenni Gwiazdowski, Mind the Cycling Gender Gap, Wheelsuckers podcast with Tiffany Lam
  5. Local media
    Lewis Mason Show, Music and conversation for your Thursday night, with a focus on health and wellbeing (episode focused on walking and mental health), BBC Sussex and Surrey (no longer available online) – Highly Commended
    Andy Veale, interview with Roxanne de Beaux (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), Cambridge Independent (read here)
    Andrea Sandor, After the Climate Declaration Manchester City Council Faces Its First Test, Manchester Confidential – Winner
  6. Investigation/Long-term follow-up
    Ross Lydall, reporting on the death of Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz (threepiecessubmitted), Evening Standard – Winner
    Charles Critchell, Burning Bridges – Hammersmith Bridge: why our dependency on cars must end, FareCity – Winner, Near Miss of the Day

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

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