The shortlists for the SJA’s prestigious sports writing and photography awards were announced today on Thursday with the broadcasting categories due to be unveiled on Friday.
The SJA, which is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world, has attracted a record number of entries for the awards this year.
The Incider was shortlisted in the specialist sports website category along with Boxing News, CNN International, Project Babb, Racing UK and Sporting Intelligence.
Original founder of The Incider Steve Jennings said: “We are incredibly proud and delighted to have been shortlisted for these prestigious awards. We’ll be rubbing shoulders with all the national newspapers and established sports writers and broadcasters. Not bad for a website which published its first article in April last year!
“We’ve been extremely grateful over the past year for all the support and good will from Somerset cricket fans. We’d also like to say a special thank you to everyone at Somerset County Cricket Club for making us feel so welcome and all their help in our first year.”
Incider Editor Jeremy Blackmore said: “We are very proud to cover and represent county and club cricket in Somerset. The success of our site – with more than 7,500 unique visitors and 32,000 page views in only 11 months – clearly shows that there remains a huge appetite and deep affection for the domestic game.”
The SJA awards date back to 1976 and past winners include some of the biggest names in British sports writing, photography and broadcasting.
Tom Clarke, SJA chairman of judges, said: “The awards are growing in popularity and in prestige. We had a record 231 entries – every national newspaper title was represented – and there was strong support from regional newspapers, specialist journals, freelances and sports websites.
“We had a total of 84 judges spread over the 14 categories. The panel of judges included 48 active sports journalists, three former national newspaper editors and a dozen who have starred or are still starring in top-level sport. Between them, they have studied more than 1,000 pieces of work – and I salute them for their diligence and expertise.
“They have come up with short-lists that display a remarkable range of talent, some regulars on the SJA podium, others there for the first time. The awards dinner on March 23 looks like being an exciting evening.”
Steve formed The Incider website in the spring of 2014 with the aim to create an independent news source and platform for Somerset supporters to comment on their club in a relaxed and friendly environment. He was joined by Jeremy shortly afterwards and the site launched in time for the start of the new season.
We instantly found there was a demand for a Somerset cricket site like ours: one that carried news and match reports, but also content not found on other sites such as in-depth analysis of the stories behind the headlines, interviews with former players and guest blogs from fans.
We began by providing real-time match updates on Twitter to build awareness, with full reports of the day’s play on the site.
We have built strong relationships with players and officials at Somerset CCC who have been extremely supportive. In our first year we carried out in-depth interviews with club chairman Andy Nash and captain Marcus Trescothick, who have both made us feel very welcome.
Our popular Player of the Month poll has been another way to engage fans. Each month last summer we presented an award to the player voted for by readers and published an exclusive interview.
We pride ourselves on not only supporting Somerset CCC, but cricket across the county. We feel we have a role to help promote cricket as a recreational sport in the wake of falling levels of participation nationwide. We initially followed Somerset players past and present taking part in the leagues, but this proved so popular that we extended our coverage to include the full run-in to the West of England Premier League season.
The links we forged with the league clubs have led us to introduce ‘Club Watch’ in early 2015, a new section, dedicated to league cricket.
Our main coverage however will continue to centre on Somerset CCC. Our most-read features in 2014 included in-depth examinations of the reasons behind Nick Compton’s decision to leave Taunton, the departure of Director of Cricket Dave Nosworthy and the future of T20 cricket.
During the off-season we have been busy reporting on Somerset players playing overseas as well as new signings.
We are delighted with the response to the site, with visitor numbers far exceeding our initial target of 500 in the first year. By mid-February, we had attracted more than 7,500 unique visitors, with 32,000 page views.
We are proud to represent the fans of one of the best supported county sides. With our site sponsor, the Tricky Cider Company, on-board, we look forward to developing the site further in 2015 and plan a re-design before the start of the new season.