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Niall Evans Wins John Arfon Edwards Memorial Prize

Niall Evans Wins John Arfon Edwards Memorial Prize offered by Welsh Motoring Writers

A journalism graduate has won a £1,000 prize, a driving experience at Silverstone, and work experience at some of the UK’s top automotive publications.

Niall Evans was one of four students taking the automotive journalism module at Cardiff University, with work entered for the annual prize offered by Welsh Motoring Writers (WMW).

But the prize presentation differed this year from previous years, as it was held remotely via Zoom.

WMW chair, Simon Harris, joined three of the students in the virtual presentation, along with, Tim Holmes, associate director PGT at Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Culture.

Some of the work submitted looked at the implications of autonomous technology and electric vehicles, while one article covered vehicle modifications.

Niall’s work looked at the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the new car sales infrastructure, and how it has increased appetite for buying cars online.

Niall, of Bridgend, said: “It’s a bit of a cliche but I’ve always had an interest in both writing and cars, but wasn’t sure how to get into with motoring journalism.

I was a bit surprised to see a motoring journalism elective on the MA course and I decided to get involved, as I hadn’t seen any journalists discuss a set route into the industry.

It seemed like a good way to learn a bit more about motoring on a professional level, and potentially meet some contacts.

Being selected as the John Arfon Edwards memorial prize winner has given me a clearer path into a somewhat obscure career, with work experience at Haymarket and funding to cover any expenses, and has also introduced me to a number of helpful contacts.

Backing from the Welsh Motoring Writers and being part of the motoring course in general has been a solid first step into the industry, and I would encourage any aspiring automotive journalists to come to Cardiff and get involved.

Set up by WMW in memory of founder member and first treasurer, John Arfon Edwards who died in 2014, the prize is co-sponsored by Porsche Cars GB. It includes a driving day at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone, and two weeks’ work experience at Haymarket Media Group with time spent on What Car? and Autocar.

However, because of restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic, Haymarket Media Group has agreed to defer the period of work experience until it may be possible for Niall to spend time in its offices.

Simon added: “All four students submitted high-quality work, but we felt Niall’s piece was more topical, dealing with a subject playing out in real time, and seems to reach new developments every day.

We congratulate Niall, but hope all four of the graduates find their place in the automotive publishing landscape.

We are also extremely grateful to Porsche Cars GB, and to Haymarket Media Group, for their continued support in this prestigious award.

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