It’s an interesting thing that so many people are highly critical of journalists. Yet if you ask those vocal ‘keyboard warriors’ (read: couch potatoes) on the forums where they get their news from … yes it’s from journalists!
Sadly there is corruption all over the world on a large and small scale. And who is it that stops and exposes this? Yes it’s journalists again.
Which brings me on to the Guild of Motoring Writers Annual Dinner which took place last week at the RAC Club in London. I attended this event with colleague Junique Aujla, and I had the honour of presenting the award for Road Safety Writer of the Year, a trophy IAM RoadSmart is proud to sponsor each year.
More than 40 articles were submitted by the world’s best motoring journalists, keen to win this award. Myself and Colin Dawson, editor of the Guild’s own newsletter called Update, pored through each entry looking for that certain something that would make us go ‘wow’!
Last year’s winner, Brazilian writer Gustafo Ruffo very nearly made it a double with his article ‘What automakers suppress in cars to reduce costs in developing countries,’ where he talked about the scandalous way car makers deliberately do not include safety features for vehicles in the developing world that they would do in the west.
But he was pipped in the end by David Williams’ article, which was an interview called ‘Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research on Vehicle Safety Technology.’
David’s interview discussed the undisputed merits of autonomous emergency braking and other autonomous systems that will undoubtedly save countless lives – systems that both David is keen to talk about and publicise to a wide audience, and Matthew utterly passionate about.
And Matthew certainly didn’t hold back in his interview with David. Such as this: “I would just like the manufacturers to stop playing about with safety and people’s lives. I’d like them to make all this new safety technology standard-fitment because they know how to do it, they know it saves lives, they know vehicle manufacturers will have to fit it eventually. So why not just get on and put it on as standard?”
And that was just for starters! This was an article that wasn’t afraid to challenge the world’s biggest car companies and accuse them of endangering the lives of road users. Words many are afraid to use.
This is the kind of challenging journalism that caught the eyes of myself and Colin.
And with such journalists as winner David and nominee Gustafo able, willing and ready to demand answers to the tough questions, we can be sure that journalism at its very best is in safe hands.
You can read the whole of David’s interview with Matthew Avery here: https://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/matthew-avery-of-thatcham-research-on-vehicle-safety-technology/
By Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart senior communications executive