Seeing as yesterday’s post for the racing awards went down so well – and thanks to everyone for their wonderful responses – I thought I might take a bash at doing it for another community which has been a big part of my year: That of politics and media. I don’t write about it enough given how much news I have consumed and how many friends I have made over the past year, in both news and politics. So without ado, here are the Second Keejay Awards – one last thing for you to hate.
Oh, and if you didn’t make the lists, it’s a failure on my part rather than yours, so please don’t assume I hate you or your organization.
Media – BBC
I agonised over this for a fair while and decided I had better split the media and journalism categories into one set of awards for the BBC and one set of awards for everyone else, given that the BBC dominates (still) so much of news (or access, whatever you want to call it) that people would inevitably get overlooked. So here we are.
The BBC Podcast Of The Year: There are a huge amount of podcasts to pick from but one of the few Brexit related things that didn’t drive people spare was Brexitcast, the political sensation that gatecrashed TV twice including The One Show. I of course am biased in my choice here but read the reviews and it becomes clear how essential it is to many people, whilst being accessible and entertaining. Produced brilliantly by Dino Sofos, it has allowed listeners and sometimes viewers to see a brighter and lighter side to Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler, Adam Fleming and Chris Mason. It was very hard not to pick Beyond Today for this, but keep reading for such matters. Colin Murray at Home and Peter Crouch’s new breakthrough podcast are high on the sports list and Fortunately was always engaging.
Honourable Mentions: Beyond Today, Fortunately, Colin Murray At Home, Football Daily, Proms Podcast, That Peter Crouch Podcast
BBC Radio Programme Of The Year: This has been a year where much of the BBC’s radio broadcasting has come under scrutiny and on many occasions for good reason, but there is still lots of outstanding broadcasts there. It was very, very hard to split between The Emma Barnett Show and PM but Barnett’s brilliance with delving into every corner of British life and also handling Brexit just edges the 5 O’Clock programme. The Media Show also excelled itself on a weekly basis and Mary Anne Hobbs excelled with a wonderful mix of tunes on BBC 6 Music.
Honourable Mentions: PM, 5 Live Breakfast, The Media Show, Mary Anne-Hobbs
BBC TV News Programme Of The Year: I have already mentioned Brexit too many times to count and oh I did it again there. So Victoria Derbyshire and her fantastic crew deserve this award wholeheartedly for brilliant coverage of everything from the historical crimes of Barry Bennell to pupil referral units and the distance runner who breast fed her son around one of the toughest races in the world. Newsnight – and more on this later – had a very strong second half of the year with controversy abound whilst The Andrew Marr show may have moved slots but landed plenty of blockbuster gets. Click was consistently underrated.
Honourable Mentions: Newsnight, The Andrew Marr Show, Click, Politics Live
BBC Filmmaker Of The Year: This was a great year for filmmaking across the media in terms of not only style and substance. Newsnight’s Stuart Denman managed to shine light upon the theatre of the absurd five days a week and his specular range of colour, musical mixing and illuminating set ups for important issues give him this award by a hair over Stacey Dooley.
Honourable Mention: Stacey Dooley
BBC TV Documentary Of The Year: More seasoned commentators might remember harder times for the Foreign Office, but I can’t think of any in recent history and Inside The Foreign Office is a wonderful look inside the workings of one of Britain’s most important institutions – even in this day and age. Dynasties is a close second.
Honourable Mentions: Dynasties (David Attenbrough), Altered States (Louis Theroux)
BBC Radio Documentary Of The Year: Another Brexit related awards winner but Ben Wright’s throwback to 1971 (The Vote That Was) and the decision to into Europe, was crafted with the skill and care that so many miss from that era. Chris Mason and Joey D’Urso’s documentary on accents in politics, and Is the China-Africa Love Affair Over? from The World Service.
Honourable Mentions: Could the PM Ever Have A Brummie Accent? (Joey D’Urso, Chris Mason), Is the China-Africa Love Affair Over? (Linda Yueh, Beth Sagar-Fenton)
BBC Editor Of The Year: Health is something that is always at the front of the nation’s minds and Hugh Pym has painted an excellent, if bleak, picture of the challenges facing the health service along with a bevy of exclusives to boot. Amol Rajan is a close second, with The Media Show providing lots of important conversation as he also provided insight into the changing face of New Data Companies. Education is an undercovered issue, but one hopes that Branwen Jeffreys work will get much more attention in the year to come.
Honourable Mentions: Amol Rajan, Jon Sopel, Branwen Jeffreys
BBC Political Reporter Of The Year: It was the year in which the news never stopped and I don’t think 2019 will be any quieter, so it is with credit that Chris Mason never missed a beat. Having made worldwide news for this brilliant spot on Breakfast when he said that Mr Blobby could have provided more clarity on Brexit. At that point, it was true, but Mason has excelled himself this year.
Honourable Mentions: Vicky Young, Alex Forsyth, Ben Wright
BBC Foreign Correspondent Of The Year: Very hard to split between Lyse Doucet and Laura Bicker but Orla Guerin’s exceptional efforts in bringing the war in Yemen to the news have been much needed given the lack of attention the conflict had been getting for years until the murder of Jamal Khoshoggi, and she went above and beyond to bring all sides of the conflict.
Honourable Mentions: Lyse Doucet, Laura Bicker, Lucy Williamson
News – Non BBC
Does what it says on the tin – awards for non BBC (currently) media excellence (in my eyes at least).
Best Source of Non-Brexit News: The Huffington Post, helped by a broad and diverse news team which is exceptionally steered by Jess Brammar, has shone a light upon issues that mattered up and down the country. Included amongst this are exceptional coverage of Universal Credit and a brilliant project to relocate their newsroom to the heart of Birmingham and inviting people to tell them what they care about. Buzzfeed excelled with investigative journalism across the country two and come a close second.
Honourable Mention: Buzzfeed
Editor Of The Year: The trope that you can only get Listicles from Buzzfeed is long dead and the UK Site’s sinkhole loving editor, Janine Gibson, has led a team which has covered anything and everything in depth this year. A leading example? Their investigation into The UK’s refusal to raid a company suspected of money laundering — citing political donations (that was the literal title).
Domestic Podcast Of The Year: A lot of strong competition for this award but Today In Focus from The Guardian has done an excellent job of moving outside of the M25 and the depth of the international coverage added to domestic issues gives it a close verdict over a whole host of offerings from outlets like the Huffington Post, PoliticsHome, FT, Telegraph and New Statesman. Independent offerings such as Reel Politik will get their day in the sun later.
Honourable Mentions: All The Best, Chopper’s Brexit Podcast (Telegraph), Commons People (Huffington Post), FT Weekly (Financial Times), The New Statesman Political Podcast, Reasons To Be Cheerful
International Podcast Of The Year: NPR would be treasured in any country, but in America it is invaluable and their Politics Podcast – a roundup of all goings on within the country – was incisive, compact, and as regular as a Trump tweet. With an all-star cast that included political reporter Asma Khalid, Congressional reporter Kelsey Snell, national security editor Phil Ewing, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and Congressional correspondent Susan Davis amongst so many others. The Daily was an International Hit for the New York Times, an important note in a tricky time for them.
Honourable Mentions: The Economist Radio, PRI Radio, UN News
Broadcast Political Editor Of The Year: There wasn’t a day when Faisal Islam of Sky News wasn’t breaking a Brexit story and when he wasn’t breaking a Brexit story he was across every word of detail and his hire by the BBC to become Economics Editor next year is perhaps the most important move in British News. He shares the award with the simply tireless Laura Kuenssberg, already a joint winner earlier and at the head of one of the Robert Peston’s own brand show has thrived since moving to Wednesday nights whilst Gary Gibbon’s blog was one of the year’s highlights. On the radio, Theo Usherwood – perhaps best remembered for his head to head with Steve Bannon on LBC earlier in the year, was excellent.
Honourable Mentions: Robert Peston (ITV), Theo Usherwood (LBC)
Print Political Editor Of The Year: A joint award here as Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler were the dream team when the Sunday Papers dropped bombs each week like they were going out of fashion. Every Saturday night there was a bigger and more jaw dropping revelation and there wasn’t a single occasion when it didn’t go to the Sunday Times. A big shout out to Dan Bloom, The Mirror’s Online Political Editor who has done much important work on matters both inside and outside the bubble. George Eaton had a stellar year with The New Statesman and readers have a fine successor in Stephen Bush. Online counts for this, so a big shout to Kevin Scholfield and
Honourable Mentions: Dan Bloom (Mirror Online), George Parker (Financial Times), George Eaton (New Statesman), Kevin Scholfield (Politics Home)
Foreign Correspondent Of The Year: Channel 4 News’ Lindsey Hilsum continues to report brilliantly from a dangerous world and her amazing book In Extremis, which reviewed the life of the late, great, war correspondent Marie Colvin, seals the award here. Stefanie Bolzen of Die Welt has explained Britain brilliantly for a German audience and Alex Crawford was a constant presence in dangerous places.
Honourable Mentions: Stefanie Bolzen (Die Welt)
Media Correspondent Of The Year: Jim Waterson, Matthew Moore, and Mark Di Stefano have all covered media excellently and Di Stefano’s lazer like focus on The Discourse earns him the award here. All three have had a fine year.
Honourable Mentions: Jim Waterson (Guardian), Matthew Moore (The Times)
Special Award For Exceptional Overseas Work: Rukmini Callimachi’s brilliant podcast series Caliphate, which has extraordinary access to ISIS, is one of the must listens of the year and for that she has to take a mention here.
Documentary Of The Year: Frontline’s brilliant investigation into the shocking events of Charlottesville: “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis” had access, a gripping storyline, but also real exposure of white supremacists with results. The Clinton Affair and The Devil We Know all deserve mentions.
Honourable Mentions: The Clinton Affair, The Devil We Know
Political Cartoonist of the Year: Morten Morland’s hilariously spindly depictions of the good bad, and ugly of Westminster have been almost rib breakingly funny if not accurate and there’s also animated specials.
Book Of The Year: This became a head to head between Revolting Prostitutes, an essential read on Sex Workers by Juno Mac and Molly Smith, and Isbael Hardman’s Why We Get The Wrong Politicians. A draw between the two.
Honourable Mentions: In My Life by Alan Johnson, Fear by Bob Woodward
Non Bubble Awards
This is for all the great work that isn’t connected to a big media organization.
Academic Of The Year: I was never going to give this to anyone but Penny Andrews, and with good reason. The self-described technicolor brain-box has blazed a trail on so many issues which are dividing academia with good faith and bravery, two crucial elements that are missing from much of the sphere. A library advocate, she can be found on Twitter @pennyb and you’d be mad to miss her.
Researcher of the year: If I could appoint anyone to The Cabinet in any position, I’d have Tom Forth as Transport Secretary. The open data genius is one of the few people I’d actually trust to run the train and he is one to watch in any year, but not just 2019.
Left Publication Of The Year: The return of Tribune was heartily welcomed by the left, including manty who wanted writing supporting of Jeremy Corbyn (that rarest of things), but New Socialist has excelled from start to finish there with deep diving pieces including debuts from the Shadow Chancellor and Home Secretary.
Honourable Mention: Tribune
Right Publication Of The Year: Conservative Home, whatever one might think of the Tory Party (no comment) has been an important barometer at a time when the Tories have never been barmier, and they have had plenty of scoops too when the Tory party has been in turmoil, so basically all year.
Centrist Publication of The Year: Time, isn’t it?
Honourable Mention: Erm… Are you still reading? Whatever counts so Moncole I guess?
Left Podcast Of The Year: Reel Politik has been peerless, although Trashfuture are providing an important set of trash talking conversations on the terrifyingly bleak future we face. Both are excellent listens, epsiclaly the cold opens on Reel Politik, which include wonderful excepts from Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie.
Honourable Mentions: Jacobin Radio, Intercepted, Black Agenda Report, Socialist Sunday School
Right Podcast Of The Year: Not sure I’ll be on many Christmas card lists for this but if we can count For The Many with Ian Dale and Jacqui Smith then I’ll take it as I can’t think of that many and I am not counting much. No, we’re not having the Beef Doctor. Are you still reading?
Centrist Podcast Of The Year: Surprisingly strong competition amongst eachother here. Pod Save America is easily the highest quality publication out there.