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December 16, 2022

11 years of the British Journalism Awards: Analysis of all the winners and finalists

Analysis reveals that we are almost there when it comes to gender parity in shortlists and wins at the BJAs.

By Aisha Majid

The British Journalism Awards 2022 marks the 11th ceremony since the prizegiving began in 2012.

Since then, the awards have recognised over 1,200 journalists and well over 100 organisations as finalists for their public interest reporting.

In recent years, Press Gazette has introduced a number of new categories to the awards to reflect journalism’s increasingly important role in highlighting the most pressing issues of the time. In 2020, an Energy and Environment Journalism award was added to highlight the best climate and environmental journalism. This year among the categories that have been added is Personal Finance Journalism which showcases the best reporting linked to the cost of living crisis.

Following our analysis of the awards last year when we looked at data from the first decade of the British Journalism Awards, we have updated the numbers to take into account this year’s shortlists and the 2022 results.

To make our analysis consistent and comparable over years we have adopted the same ground rules as in our previous British Journalism Awards data analyses. We consider someone to have won an award or made it onto a shortlist if they were nominated individually or as part of a team where no more than six people were named. We also combined outlets into groups, merging for example Sunday and weekly titles. On this basis the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday are merged into one group called the Mail, while magazines such as GQ and Vogue with various country editions would be considered as one.

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Women and men are equally represented

This year, analysis suggests that we are almost there when it comes to gender parity in both shortlists and wins.

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In 2022, 48% of shortlisted journalists were women – the highest share ever. The increased number of women shortlisted represents a long-term upwards trend. In 2021, 43% of those shortlisted were women, compared to 24% in 2012.

While it’s less easy to discern a clear trend when it comes to the share of winners that are women, the 49% of female winners this year is among the highest since the British Journalism Awards began. Only last year did more women (50%) scoop up awards. As with gender parity on the shortlist, we have come a long way since 2012 when 25% of winners were women.

Women have also improved their awards to shortlisting ratio.

Last year, male journalists took home one award for every seven mentions on the shortlist. The ratio for women was slightly worse at one to eight. This year, both men and women journalists took home one award for every six appearances on a shortlist.

For the third year running, Press Gazette has made the event free to enter for women and those from minority background who do not have a news organisation willing to pay for their entry. This year 33 of the awards judges are male and 35 female.

(To our knowledge there have not been any gender non-binary shortlisters in the British Journalism Awards, however, please email us to let us know if this is not the case).

Overall however, women have some way to go before they equal men for the number of awards won. Male journalists have scooped up 173 awards since 2012, compared to 88 awards for women. (Some of these will be the same person picking up multiple awards either in one year or across several years).

Although we have almost reached gender parity overall, a breakdown of "beats" suggests that men continue to outnumber women when it comes to specialisms such as sport, where they have made up 92% of shortlisted names since 2012, business, economics and finance where they have made up 75% and politics where they have made up 71%.

Seventy percent (70%) of the prestigious journalist of the year winners have also been men.

In contrast, women outnumber men on the shortlist in beats such as arts and entertainment where they comprise 56% of finalists and social affairs and diversity where they make up 72%. Given recent research commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that found that women are still largely assigned "soft" beats, with more editor-in-chiefs being recruited from the pool of journalists who cover "hard beats”, the gender breakdown by category is noteworthy.

Things may, however, be improving.

This year, nine of the journalists shortlisted in the foreign category were women, compared to seven men. Meanwhile, eight of the journalists shortlisted in the politics category were women, compared to six men. Among them is former Mirror political editor Pippa Crerar, now of the Guardian, who was one of the major winners of the night.

Crerar took home the Politics Journalism award as well as the Journalist of the Year for her work breaking a string of scoops including news of Downing Street parties at Christmas 2020 while the rest of the UK was under Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Newspaper giants lead the listing but are less dominant now

Although the multi-platform nature of many news organisations means that divisions between them are not as relevant now, for this analysis we roughly divided news organisations into the below categories:

  • Broadsheet
  • Tabloid
  • Local news organisation
  • Foreign news organisation
  • News magazine
  • Specialist publication
  • TV or radio
  • Independent investigative team
  • And news agency.

Although few organisations now operate in just one medium, the analysis allows us to get a sense of whether more traditional or newer outlets are dominating the awards.

We found that the broadsheets and their digital properties continue to dominate the awards. This year these titles accounted for 63 appearances on a shortlist (33% of all shortlistings) and ten wins (36%).

Reflecting a changing and more diverse media landscape however, the broadsheets’ share has fallen sharply over the last decade. In 2012, broadsheet titles such as The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Financial Times took 48% of finalist mentions and 50% of wins.

Tabloid titles meanwhile have increased their share of shortlistings from 6% to 20% in the same 11-year period.

Taken together with the broadsheets, this means that newspaper brands made up over half (52%) of the shortlist and 57% of wins this year.

Broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV have also increased their share of shortlists from 14% in 2012 to 23% this year - although not all the content they will be shortlisted for will necessarily be solely audio/visual due to their online work. Their proportion of wins has also increased over the same period from 16% to 25%.

Online native outlets meanwhile increased their share of shortlistings in 2022, comprising 4% of the shortlist this year, compared to 2% in 2012. The increase has, however, not been consistent over the last decade with digital native brands' share of shortlistings this year below the peak of 10% in 2016.

When it comes to individual organisations, The Sunday Times and the Times remain unshakeable from the top of the table. These titles, which we have grouped together as the Times, have been shortlisted (either as an organisation or through the journalists working for them) 179 times since 2012.

Second-most shortlisted was the BBC with 156 shortlists followed by the Guardian/Observer with 140.

The Times also tops the list for awards won over the years (37, or 17% of all awards), including wins this year for Built Environment and Interviewer of the Year. The Guardian and Observer are in second place for number of awards won since 2012 (32), while the BBC is third (18 awards).

Although the Times remains dominant overall, this year the Mail and its journalists scooped up the joint most wins by category, taking home three prizes in 2022. The DMGT-owned publisher (which includes The Mail, Mail on Sunday and digital properties) was awarded for its reporting in the Features, Sports and Investigation categories.

Over the years, different organisations have excelled at different types of reporting. Since 2012, the Mail has dominated sports, featuring as the most shortlisted organisation in this category (with 25% of all sports shortlists). The BBC meanwhile leads for its crime and legal affairs work (33% of all shortlists since 2012) and its local reporting (31% of shortlists). The Times dominates the interview category, with 25% of all shortlists here.

The Times also has the honour of producing the most winners of the Journalist of the Year award. The Financial Times meanwhile has won News Provider of the Year more often than any other outlet.

The Financial Times meanwhile leads in Business, Finance and Economics Journalism accounting for 17% of shortlists since 2012.

When it comes to individual journalists, Jonathan Calvert – longstanding editor of the Sunday Times investigative Insight team – maintains the most wins since the awards started (seven). The second most successful individual journalist, Heidi Blake, now a contributor for the New Yorker, has scooped up four prizes since 2012. However, neither were shortlisted in 2022.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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