The Categories

There are two categories for young journalists and a lifetime contribution category

Young journalist of the year

Open to any Welsh journalist or journalist working in Wales aged 26 or under on December 31, this category recognises consistently outstanding journalism displaying vibrant and engaging subject matter and strong and creative storytelling, whether through online, print or broadcast platforms. We're looking for a broad range of material in your entry that shows an ability to turn your hand to a wide variety of topics, and to tell the story by putting the reader or viewer first. Entries should have been published/aired between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019. For your entry, we'll need four examples of your work, supported by either files or links, and up to 400 words explaining the work that went into them.

Outstanding story/feature by a young journalist

Open to any Welsh journalist or journalist working in Wales aged 26 or under on December 31, this category will celebrate a single outstanding piece of work by a young journalist working in Wales. It could be a piece of print, broadcast or online work, but must stand out in both its subject matter and execution. Entries should have been published/aired between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019. For your entry, we'll need a link or file displaying your piece of work, and an explanation of no more than 200 words of how it came together. We can only accept a maximum of two entries per applicant in this category.

Lifetime contribution

This will be awarded at the discretion of the judges to an individual who has made a substantial contribution to developing young journalists in Wales over the course of their life and career.

The Shortlist

The judges have whittled down the entries to a shortlist for the 2019 Nick Machin Prize

Young journalist of the year

Aamir Mohammed

Amanda Cashmore

Anna Lewis

Estel Farell-Roig

Lydia Stephens

Marcus Hughes

Two new prizes announced

After the judging process, the judges have chosen to award two further prizes:

The Nick Machin Prize for investigative journalism

The Nick Machin Prize for journalistic endeavour

Nick Machin

Those who met Nick will miss him but we are all richer for having spent time in his company.
— Phil Nifield


About Nick Machin

Phil Nifield writes about his friend and fellow journalist Nick Machin

Nick was universally popular, an all-round good guy, and a friend to all he met. He was also a mentor to the young journalists that came under his wing as news editor of the South Wales Echo and a husband to his beloved Sufia.

Nick, or “Machers”, arrived at the Echo as a general reporter in the late 1990s from his home county of Lincolnshire, working his way up quickly to become news editor, which is where perhaps the fun really began.

His commitment to the paper and print journalism was unquestionable. Often the first to arrive at work and the last to leave.

But despite the long hours he was the ideal manager, someone who knew how to get the best out of people.

He would introduce newcomers to all in the Echo family, help and encourage young reporters and praise them when they turned out a cracking story.

We did have the occasional disagreement – mostly when I told him what page my story should be placed on and he disagreed. But Nick never held a grudge, even when I jokingly told him: “You know what I like about you – nothing.”

He took it all in good part.

We were rivals for the worst “joke” tellers.

When the fire alarm in Thomson House, the old home of the Echo, went off he’d quip: “The Western Mail (our sister paper) has got a story” and we all chuckled! He just made people smile.

For those who had trouble with the spelling of his name he’d say "It’s machine without the 'e'!"

Nick was also the paper’s Millennium Stadium correspondent and he had the honour of being the first Englishman to take a conversion at the ground back in 1999. And one of his journalistic highlights was undoubtedly his trip to an Iron Maiden gig on Flight 666, piloted by one Bruce Dickinson.

Outside work he had so much going in his life: The Mighty Imps (Lincoln City football team), his bands, The Mighty Badger and Johnny Says Yeah, with whom he played drums, watching over and over again his TV classics like The Sweeney ("Get yer trousers on, you’re nicked" was a favourite line), Porridge and Carry On movies, with the cheeky innuendos and The City Arms pub in Cardiff, where he was a regular.

Less than four months before he died and while seriously ill, Nick was at Wembley with Sufia watching the Mighty Imps lift their first ever trophy – the Checkatrade Trophy – in their first visit to the home of English football in 133 years.

He will be missed by all who knew him, none more than Sufia Shabani Machin. Nick found true happiness after meeting Sufia in Boston, USA, during one of his many trips across the world. More recently he and Sufia spent time trekking across Europe.

Sufia was Nick’s life and Nick was Sufia’s. She loved and nursed him during what were enormously difficult times and both also adored their lovely Yorkie dog, Ellie, brought over from the USA. Ellie was so much part of the family.

Sadly, Nick and Sufia had too few years together – but what wonderful years.

Those who met Nick will miss him but we are all richer for having spent time in his company.


Our judges

Meet the judges for the first Nick Machin Prize. Thanks to all of them for getting involved, and we're very pleased to say that, with the exception of our chair Ian, all had a close professional or personal connection to Nick (or most commonly, both).

Ian MacGregor - chair of judges

Ian MacGregor is editor emeritus of The Telegraph and chair of the Society of Editors. Having started out at the Southern Evening Echo in Southampton, Ian has served as editor of the Metro, deputy editor of the Evening Standard, deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph and editor of the Sunday Telegraph over the course of a glittering career in journalism stretching over 30 years. He also sits on the board of the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Aled Blake

Aled Blake is a freelance journalist and writer. After 18 years working for the Western Mail, South Wales Echo and WalesOnline in a range of roles, he left his job as a news editor to look after his then 21-month-old son. As well as looking after Joe, Aled has since written a book about Cardiff City’s promotion to the Premier League in 2018, Bluebirds Reunited: The Fall And Rise Of Cardiff City.

Gavin Allen

Gavin Allen has been a journalist and editor for 20 years. He was latterly an Associate Editor at but has also worked at MailOnline, Microsoft and MediaWales. He is now Digital Journalism Lecturer at Cardiff University's School of Journalism.

Gavin O'Connor

Gavin O’Connor is currently Army Media Officer Wales under the Army Media Engagement and Communications for the Ministry of Defence, based in Brecon. Formerly a reporter who completed his NCTJ training in Newcastle under the employment of Media Wales, going on to work for the Rhondda Leader, Pontypridd Observer, Neath and Port Talbot Guardian and then Deputy Editor at the Gwent Gazette and Merthyr and Rhymney Valley Express. In 2004 he was awarded The Western Mail and Echo Young Reporter of the Year, and also worked on the South Wales Echo, Western Mail and Wales on Sunday newsdesks.

Gerry Holt

Gerry Holt worked for BBC News in London for nearly a decade as a senior broadcast journalist and news editor, and later in digital development. She has worked for both regional and national newspapers, having been mentored by Nick Machin in her early career. She now leads on communications for the world class biomedical and life sciences research emerging from Cardiff University.

Laura Kemp

Laura Kemp worked alongside Nick Machin on the South Wales Echo news desk for several years as well as heading up content on Wales on Sunday and editing the Western Mail and Echo. Now an author of commercial fiction, she also contributes features to national newspapers, magazines and online.

Nadine Linge

Having started out at Wales News in Cardiff, Nadine moved to London to join the Daily Star as a news reporter. Nadine was made Features Editor for the title in 2010, a role she still holds today.

Sara Robinson

Sara is a former print and broadcast journalist, and for sixteen years has worked in public relations. She is now a freelance communications consultant and writer, working with brands and charities across the UK. A multiple award-winning member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, she is also a past Institute of Directors’ Young Director of the Year in Wales. Sara worked closely with Nick Machin, who for many years trained her teams in the art of writing.

Simon Caney

Simon Caney is an award-winning magazine editor, who has worked on some of the UK’s biggest sporting titles and is now an editor at Bauer Media’s specialist division. He began in local newspapers more than 30 years ago and over the years has recruited many young journalists who have gone on to great things. He also went to school with Nick Machin.

Lewis Vaughan Jones

Lewis is a newsreader for BBC World News, and a presenter on the BBC News channel. A former ITN political correspondent, he started as a reporter at ITV Wales before moving to ITV Network News. He has interviewed world leaders from Boris Johnson to Donald Trump.

Elena Cresci

Elena is a freelance digital journalist from South Wales. She’s worked for news organisations like the Guardian, S4C, the BBC and Channel 4 News. She worked alongside Nick as a trainee journalist at Media Wales in the early years of her career.


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