Winning the 2005 GoMW Saab Young Journalist of the Year Award
A decade ago was a lifetime ago: I was officially still a young writer and, to my electrified thrill that early December night at the RAC Pall Mall, I won the GoMW Saab Young Journalist of the Year Award.
An award for under 30s, it was a hugely surprised 28-year old who walked up to the stage that night to pick up the inaugural award. And a jolly nice award it is too, all modernist Saab design and simple lines.
Of course, I’ve kept the box, even the cellophane bag it came in. The rest of the night on which I received it is a bit of a blur but the moment I walked up to the stage will be remembered always.
The next day, prompted by MR chairman Peter (and after a restorative bacon sandwich), I quickly cashed the cheque (remember those?). See, even then, Saab’s future was in doubt.
Since then, the proud company had multiple lives and many reinventions, but eventually fell, twice, after most recently becoming part of a Chinese-backed conglomerate named National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, or NEVS.
Me? I’ve remained at MR ever since. And before it fell, working that bit more closely with Saab’s PR and management team in those months after my award remains a proud memory, as does the fact they supported the award as long as they could for future winners too: hat tip, James Baggott, James Griffiths, Ben Pulman.
When Saab did finally depart the UK, motoring journalist resource headlineauto and, most recently, Newspress took over: enter the Newspress Young Writer of the Year Award (and this year’s winner, the wonderful Lewis Kingston).
What did winning the award do for me? Many things: a bit more status, a bit more confidence, something else on my CV but, most importantly, an even closer association with the Guild. I then joined the committee. I then took on projects and responsibilities. I even then became Chairman for two years (and still today remain on the committee).
Winning awards like this is a great feeling. But can lead to plenty more besides as, thanks to Saab and the Guild creating an award for youngsters like me, I tried to show.
Oh, and what makes me feel not quite as old as all that is the fact Saab, via NEVS, might soon be once again assembling the very same 9-3 proudly carried on my trophy – only this time, it’ll be powered by electricity, not petrol or diesel. I may be now nearer 40 than 30, but my Young Journalist award is still, in a small way, contemporary.
Like all journalists looking ahead to 2016, my challenge is a similar reinvention.
Also published on Medium.