Rage against the machines wins major prize

Published: 28 March 2014 at 11:30

Anglia Ruskin alumnus scoops Independent award for article on self-service checkouts

Former Anglia Ruskin University student Brendan Sharp has won the Wyn Harness Prize for young journalists, an annual award presented by The Independent newspaper.

Brendan, who graduated with a degree in English Literature in 2012, was awarded with a cheque for £1,000 and two weeks of work experience at the newspaper after impressing the judges with his article about how self-service checkout machines can alienate shoppers.

And the 22-year-old wrote from a position of experience, having worked as a self-service assistant at a supermarket in Cambridge city centre during his studies at Anglia Ruskin.

Brendan, who is originally from Clare in Suffolk and attended Sudbury Upper School (now Ormiston Sudbury Academy), said:

“To win such a prestigious prize is amazing and it was a fabulous experience going to The Independent’s headquarters and meeting the Editor.
“To see my article in print in a national newspaper is what every aspiring journalist dreams of, and I hope that this can act as a springboard for my future career.”

“I’m delighted for Brendan,”

said Rowlie Wymer, Professor of English at Anglia Ruskin and Brendan’s tutor. 

“He applied himself very well to the course and his writing got better and better during his time at Anglia Ruskin.”

Amol Rajan, the Editor of The Independent, said:

“Brendan Sharp’s article was notable for two reasons: clarity of argument and aptness of subject.
“The threat to manual workers from automation is a challenge facing all advanced societies. He addresses it in a compassionate and cogent way, and looks destined for a long and glorious career in journalism.”

The Wyn Harness Prize was established in honour of the former Assistant Editor of The Independent, who died of a brain tumour at the age of 47.  In addition to Amol Rajan, the prize was judged by Wyn Harness’s widow Sue Royal, Helen Boaden, Director of Radio at the BBC and a friend of Wyn, and national newspaper journalist Jason Burt.