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USTA Southern Section Media Recognized for their Excellence in Tennis Reporting

May 18, 2004 04:08 PM

James Beck of the Charleston Post & Courier and tennisreporters.net co-owners Ron Cioffi and Matthew Cronin to be presented with 4th annual USTA media excellence awards

The sport of tennis seems to have quite a bit of media support in the South as two of the three winners of the 2003 USTA Media Excellence Awards have roots in the USTA Southern Section. James Beck of the Charleston Post & Courier (South Carolina) has been named the winner of the award in the Print category and tennisreporters.net co-owners Ron Cioffi, of Alpharetta, GA, and Matt Cronin were selected in the Broadcast category.

Tracy Allen of Kansas City, Missouri’s The Call Newspaper won in the Multicultural Media category.

“Honoring people with the USTA Media Excellence Award is our way of acknowledging exceptional media coverage about the sport of tennis,” said John Ehlen, Chair of the USTA Section Marketing/Sales and Public Relations Committee. “The fine work of James Beck, Ron Cioffi, Matt Cronin and Tracy Allen help to create a better public awareness about the many benefits of our great game.”

The USTA presents the Media Excellence Award annually to individuals and/or media outlets who have most contributed to the game of tennis by disseminating knowledge of the sport to the general public. Annual winners are selected in three categories – Print Media, Broadcast Media and Multicultural Media. Nominees were judged on the basis of work from the 2003 calendar year. Each winner will receive a personal plaque and permanent recognition on a separate plaque placed in the US Open Media Center.

"James Beck's weekly tennis column has been a mainstay in the Post & Courier for many years and it is nice to see that his dedication to the game is being recognized nationally," said USTA Southern Section Executive Director John Callen. "Ron Cioffi and Matt Cronin have done a fantastic job growing tennisreporters.net since the site's launch in 2001 and I am pleased that our online media are now being acknowledged for their excellence. It is exciting that these very different, but equally important, Southern media partners have been bestowed this honor by the USTA."

James Beck, Charleston Post & Courier
James Beck started covering tennis for the Charleston newspapers in the 1970s. One of his earliest tennis memories is reporting the infamous Billie Jean King – Bobby Riggs match. With over 25 years of experience, Beck is now a part time tennis columnist and writer for the Charleston Post & Courier. He is the former executive sports editor for the Post & Courier and a former member of the Associated Press National Sports Editors Executive Committee. Covering all levels of tennis from junior competition to professional tennis, Beck often presents a personal perspective to the professional game and covers community tennis programs and players with a unique voice. An avid USA League Tennis player, Beck plays in his local Mixed League with his wife and daughter, and is also an instructor in the City of Charleston’s award-winning Courting Kids program.

"To me, tennis is the greatest sport when it comes competition, friendship, health and conditioning,” explained Beck. “It is my goal to make as many people as possible aware of this lifetime sport. I could not have won this award without the great support I receive from the Charleston tennis community, the SC Tennis Association and the USTA Southern Section."

With an average of 1,300 unique visitors daily, the tennisreporters.net site focuses on the professional tennis tours, Davis and Federation Cup competition and juniors and college players who show professional potential. Articles on the site are filled with insightful analysis, journalistic accuracy, and an in-depth knowledge of the game, and it often features exclusives and one-on-one interviews with many of the biggest names in professional tennis. Ron Cioffi, who calls Alpharetta, GA home, serves as webmaster, writer and photographer for tennisreporters.net, and heads KRC Communications, which designs and produces numerous tennis-related publications. He teaches graphic design at North Georgia College & State University. His photos and articles have been published in Tennis magazine, Newsweek, American Photographer, Net News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yankee, Goal and Connecticut magazine. Matthew Cronin lives in Oakland, CA and serves as full-time writer for tennisreporters.net and as managing editor of the California-based Inside Tennis magazine. He has been the main English-language writer for official Grand Slam websites including usopen.org, wimbledon.org and rolandgarros.org. Cronin is also a regular contributor to Reuters and did the play-by-play on the first web radio broadcasts of the US Open finals.

All award nominees were judged on the basis of work from the 2003 calendar year. The 2003 USTA Media Excellence Awards will be presented at the 2004 USTA Semi-Annual Meeting in New York City which is annually held during the US OPEN.

“We are honored that tennisreporters.net was selected for this prestigious award and thank the USTA and the USTA Southern Section for considering us,” commented Ron Cioffi and Matthew Cronin. “We have grown tennisreporters.net from its inception in May 2001 to one of the most influential and popular tennis news sites worldwide, attracting more than 400,000 unique visitors in the last 12 months by little more than word of mouth. We launched the site to help fill the void of serious tennis coverage in the United States and believe we have succeeded. Like the USTA, we are on a mission to further popularize tennis in the U.S. The Internet is the media of the future for delivering tennis news and we intend to stay at the top.”

Founded in 1881, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in this country. In addition to owning the US Open and selecting members of the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic teams, the USTA administers a variety of programs nationwide for players of all ages and ability levels. A not-for-profit organization, the association is divided into 17 sections, of which the USTA Southern Section is the largest. The 168,000 USTA members living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee make up the USTA Southern Section, and account for approximately 25% of the total USTA membership. A professional staff housed in Norcross, GA carries out the USTA Southern Section’s daily operations, but policy is formed and much of the organization’s work is executed via a Board and committee structure of over 200 volunteers. For more information about the types of programs and services offered by the USTA Southern Section visit www.southerntennis.com.




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