Who should win the Inmarsat Onboard Reporter (OBR) Award for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 for the ‘toughest job in the media’?
That is the challenge for a top panel of leading industry experts that has been announced today (June 15) to decide a prize that every adventure media reporter would give a year of their lives to win.
The jury’s job is to examine the best examples of video, photographic and written work from the nine OBRs during the course of the nine-month, 38,739-nautical mile offshore marathon that has taken them to some of the most inhospitable corners of the world where sleep is out of the question.
It’s tough enough simply to survive in such conditions: can you imagine trying to send out via a cramped media desk a daily flow of awesome images and compelling stories to the world at the same time?
The jury will decide who has provided the best overall content for the prize, which will be presented at the Race’s finale Gala Dinner in Gothenburg on Saturday, June 27.
Apart from the honour of becoming the third recipient of the award, €36,000 in prize money is at stake with the winner collecting €20,000 and the two runners-up winning €8,000 apiece.
Simply winning an OBR place on one of the seven competing boats in the 12th edition of the triennial, 41-year-old race, has already been a major achievement for the contenders.
From an initial response of more than 2,000 candidates who responded to the Race’s social media campaign for reporters, labelled as the ‘toughest media job in the world’, a shortlist was selected.
The successful few were then trialled on a boat before the final OBRs were selected.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – Matt Knighton (USA)
Team Brunel – Stefan Coppers (NED)
Team SCA – Corinna Halloran (USA), Anna-Lena Elled (SWE)
Dongfeng Race Team – Yann Riou (FRA), Sam Greenfield (USA)
Team Vestas Wind – Brian Carlin (IRE)
MAPFRE – Francisco Vignale (ARG)
Team Alvimedica – Amory Ross (USA)
“Whoever wins should be very proud since this is such a unique journalistic challenge,” commented Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad.
“There are a lot of great sailors out there who would love to do this job, and a lot of excellent journalists, but very few who have the joint skills needed to provide great material from the boats day in, day out.
“This is the third edition that we have had Onboard Reporters on our boats, but the standard this time has never been better across all the different types of media.
“Their incredible work has inspired millions around the world through external media and on our own platforms such as our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, not to mention our very popular App.”
The five jury members with the challenging task of judging the top three with jury chairman Chris McLaughlin, Inmarsat’s Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Marketing Communications:
Johan Ronnestam – Former top professional snowboarder, creative director, all-media guru
Andy Swiss – Sports Correspondent, BBC Sport
Brian Nevins – Renowned action and adventure photographer
Wayne Yates – Senior Producer, Red Bull Media House
Matt Sheahan – Racing and Technical editor, Yachting World
Yates will judge the video content, Nevins the images, and Sheahan the text, while McLaughlin, Ronnestam and Swiss will make judgements on the overall quality of the content.
Inmarsat, the event sponsors, provide the satellite communications that allow the work of the OBRs to be seen by millions around the world every day.
Chris McLaughlin: A good amateur sailor in his own right, McLaughlin is responsible for the external communications and media strategy of Inmarsat. He has been an influential figure in the introduction of media reporters on Volvo Ocean Race boats from 2008-09, revolutionising coverage from the world’s leading offshore race.
Johan Ronnestam: A former top snowboarder who is now widely regarded as one of the world’s pace-setters in the field of creative and conceptual thinking and innovating brands and their communication.
Andy Swift: A sports news correspondent for the BBC with more than 20 years’ experience with the Corporation. He has covered the world’s leading sports events including Olympics and Paralympics.
Wayne Yates: Red Bull Media House’s BAFTA award-winning director with more than 15 years’ experience in producing programmes for terrestrial and satellite networks. He has also circumnavigated the world, shooting the Clipper Race.
Brian Nevins: A versatile and renowned freelance photographer. He focuses on lifestyle, action and adventure sports and music with his work appearing in many leading publications in each.
Matt Sheahan: One of the most influential sailing journalists in the world, whose views are also regularly sought by broadcasters. An accomplished amateur sailor, with a wide and respected technical knowledge of all classes of the sport.