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New prize for young journalists named in honour of South Wales Echo news editor who died last year

A new awards ceremony is being launched to honour young journalists in Wales in memory of Nick Machin, the South Wales Echo news editor who died last August of a brain tumour.

The Nick Machin Prize launches today on what would have been the journalist’s 50th birthday.

Machin started out on the Skegness Standard in 1989, became editor of the weekly Louth Standard in 1994 and joined the South Wales Echo in 1998, where he spent the majority of his career as a reporter and news editor.

The decision to honour young journalists was made because of Machin’s “tireless commitment to mentoring trainees and junior reporters”, the organisers of the new prize said.

It will feature three separate awards: young journalist of the year, outstanding story/feature by a young journalist, and an outstanding contribution category.

It is being launched by a steering group which includes Media Wales editor-in-chief Paul Rowland, former Echo editor Alastair Milburn, and former business and political editor Phil Nifield.

Rowland said: “It’s an honour for us all to be part of something that will create a lasting tribute to Nick.

“The outpouring of emotion at the time of Nick’s passing was remarkable, but so too was the number of journalists across the industry who remembered him with the utmost fondness as someone who had given them invaluable support as they started out in their careers.

“It seemed fitting that an award in Nick’s memory should pay tribute to this work.”

Writing after Machin’s death, Rowland said he had “mentored generation after generation of young journalists, painstakingly and patiently taking them through how he’d improved their copy or advising them on how to tackle a story”.

Machin’s wife Sufia said: “Nick is and was so immensely important to me, but at times like this I see how important he still is to others as well. I’m just really honoured to have been his wife and to see so much love and admiration for him brings a massive smile to my face.

“I always knew he had an incredible work ethic, but this solidifies that and is the perfect legacy.”

The young journalist of the year and outstanding story/feature categories will be open to anyone aged 26 or under at the end of 2019.

Entries will open in May, with the application process still to be revealed, and an awards ceremony will take place in October.

Potential sponsors are currently in talks to fund the event for the next five years, but anyone can donate to a crowdfunding page in memory of Machin which will go towards the awards fund.

The event will also raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity and City Hospice, which provides palliative care in Cardiff.

The organisers are currently recruiting potential judges, plus any friends or colleagues of Machin who would like to join the steering group.

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Rowland on paul.rowland@reachplc.com.

Picture: Liz Pearce

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