A regional daily sports reporter has lamented what he termed “tough times” for the industry in an awards acceptance speech.
Neil Allen was named regional sports journalist of the year at Monday’s Sports Journalism Awards, retaining the title he won last year.
Neil, pictured below left receiving his award, overcame competition from the London Evening Standard’s James Olley and perennial winner Jon Colman of the News & Star and Cumberland News to land the prize.
In his acceptance speech, he lamented the and the departures of several sports journalists from neighbouring titles in the South while praising his editors for allowing he and his colleagues to cover subjects “properly.”
Said Neil: “I feel very fortunate to be here tonight because looking at the regional press how it is these days, especially with sport, it’s a tough time for us all.
“I look back at the last 18 months being on the South Coast, people in my position at the Bournemouth Echo, Southern Daily Echo and Brighton Argus have all lost their jobs, have all left, long-serving quality journalists have left, because of the state of the industry I’m afraid.
“For me personally, I’m very fortunate that with my sports editor Mark McMahon and my editor Mark Waldron that they trust the sportdesk – we’re obviously fewer than we were a few years ago – but we are allowed to have versatility and cover stories beyond our remit.
“They trust us and give us time and sometimes it takes a little bit longer but that’s what journalism is and I’m very very fortunate that people like that allow us to look at subjects and write about them properly.”
He concluded: “I love my job, I love the industry, I just hope they will be here a little bit longer.”
The speech can be heard in full below.
It was a brilliant speech last year from @pn_neil_allen when he won Regional Journalist of the Year.
— Sports Journalists (@SportSJA) February 24, 2020