Rydal Penrhos Community
Mari Jones scoops prestigious Wales Media Award

Mari Jones scoops prestigious Wales Media Award

A former Rydal Penrhos pupil and popular regional journalist has scooped a prestigious award.

Mari Jones, who left Penrhos College in 1991, won the Print News Reporter of the Year at the Wales Media Awards, which took place on Friday, March 23.

The Conwy county reporter for the Daily Post joined Penrhos Junior when she was seven and gained a degree in English Literature from the University of Manchester.

She said: “I always loved English lessons especially when I was taught by Mr Moore at Penrhos. He always believed in me, and was gently encouraging.

“I spotted an advert in the Weekly News to do film reviews, I went for an interview-I had just come back from a year's travelling and living in Hong Kong-the then editor offered me a job as a reporter in the Conwy Valley -to my great surprise and I accepted.

“After a few months working for the Weekly News, I was transferred to our sister newspaper the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and had my own office.

“It was a baptism of fire as I had no contacts and had to fill the newspaper every week. This was before the internet and social media, so it was good old-fashioned journalism.”

The former pupil also spent some time working in London before returning to North Wales and married her husband Tim Bilton.

She stated her “surprise” at winning the accolade, adding: “I was one of only two winners from North Wales, so that was good. My editor urged me to go for it, and obviously I'm now glad that I did.

“I love my job, every day is different, you never quite know who you are going to talk to next. I think Penrhos gave me the confidence to be able to speak to anyone.

“I'm fundamentally a curious person which I think you have to be as a journalist, and I think everyone has a story and I find it a privilege to tell them.

“Journalism has got more and more challenging in recent years as the profession is changing so rapidly - now it's all about digital first-stories go online before they appear in print.

“Working for a weekly newspaper meant I could go out and meet people, now it's a lot more fast paced and time constrains means I can't do this as much as I would like.

“Also now when the occasion demands I might have to go out and contact interviews on the likes of Facebook live, which can be nerve-racking.”

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