“Auto Express won Automotive Consumer Publication of the Year. But why won’t it happen?”

Crick, I felt like a proper old dude at last week’s Newspress Awards—a sort of poor man’s Al Pacino. I’m talking here about one of the events of the automotive year – the ‘Oscars’ of the car journalism and broadcasting world, with only the VIP-types on the guest list.

Despite this, I made my way in. And summoning up decades of experience at these kinds of events (and with zero award success, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it) I did all my usual stuff: I sat down at a celeb-free table in the bright of the room. Back; I found a loyal partner/colleague/thinker to sit next to me and support me; And I quietly informed the wine waiter that, at my age and in my condition, I actually prefer a mug of hot cocoa to the more usual glass of chilled champagne.

The youngest, one of the most talented people in the room, and nominated for the Automotive Consumer Journalist of the Year award, was our very own Tristan Schell-Hester, who is just 24 years old — going 47! Sadly, he didn’t take home the trophy on this occasion, but as I assured him in the bitter-sweet night, he will in the future, as time is on his side and he is an extremely talented wordsmith. Same for Dean Gibson (over 24 on 47 running), who was named in the commercial vehicle writer category. He also missed out on an outright victory in this highly competitive category. But still, Tristan and Dean should have been proud to have won a runner-up medal for themselves and their magazine and website in 2022.

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Speaking of which, Auto Express won the Automotive Consumer Publication of the Year. But, I mean, why wouldn’t that happen? And it gets better still, as Alice Hyde from sister title DrivingElectric won the Automotive Rising Star award, while her editor Richard Ingram watched a national newspaper reporter or three snatch the EV Writer trophy. “He almost won over the board in terms of judges’ votes,” the newspress admitted. I think in business this is known as a wide win.

Which should not be confused with the victory that was incomprehensible, and still is. I’m talking here about the final prize of the night – one in which the judges were walking and some scribbler/broadcaster Blok who was about a “great automotive journalist, always curious, always enthusiastic, but practical, with in-depth industry knowledge.” Which others can only dream about.”

More words of praise flowed in – I heard everything from “informed opinion” to “unquestionable integrity.” OK, we get the picture, I thought. But before I could find myself whispering cynically to my partner sitting next to me that I didn’t like the sound of the Mystery Journal-cum-radio and TV bloc, the drum roll started, the lights dimmed and the MC announced:

“The Newspress Lifetime Achievement Award … goes to Mike Rutherford.” No word of lies, I almost choked on my cup of cocoa.

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