If you’re looking for a career that involves burning dust, writing and producing high-powered stories, and being super creative, this could be your answer. Tegan Lawson is the Lifestyle Editor for CarAdvice and spends her days test driving and reviewing everything from Jeeps to Ferraris, conducting in-depth interviews with the experts behind the wheels and writing stories to help the audience make the best choice for their next car purchase. So how did she land the gig?
“I got my first taste of motorsports journalism working for a regional newspaper,” explains Tegan. “I was a student at the University of Southern Queensland but was moonlighting patrolling the pits at the Leyburn sprints and heading to the drags, as well as working trackside at the Queensland Raceway V8 supercar rounds in the early 2000s.” With petrol firmly in her blood, it was these early days that spawned her love of all things automotive and landed her a dream career. Here, Tegan goes through the gears to reveal what really happens in the pits…
Q. What does your job involve?
“As Lifestyle Editor my focus is on putting a car into a real-life scenario to find out what it’s good at and where the shortfalls are. I spend a lot of time researching and brainstorming to come up with creative ways to show off the features of a new car. Then of course I spend countless hours behind the wheel of cars each week, and the rest of my time writing, presenting videos and photographing vehicles.”
Q. Tell us about CarAdvice.com.au
“CarAdvice.com.au is where Australians turn to for the most comprehensive independent editorial reviews and videos of new cars. With a unique monthly audience of 326,000 (Nielsen), CarAdvice is Australia’s largest independent automotive content publisher only focusing on new cars, rather than used.
Through a combination of authentic, compelling content, owner reviews, videos and independent advice, CarAdvice’s team continually review all new models to ensure Australians can choose the best vehicle for their specific needs – whether they’re family-friendly wagons, work utes, eco-friendly run-arounds or luxury cars.”
Q. What attracted you to the job?
“Growing up in regional Queensland, it would have been hard not to develop a healthy interest in cars and motorsport. I love road trips and enjoy driving everything from utes and small city cars, to commercial vans, luxury sedans and supercars.
Before I joined CarAdvice, I worked in mainstream media as a journalist across multiple platforms including newspapers, magazines, radio and television. I wanted to specialise and find a niche that I was interested in and passionate about. Working with cars is a lot of fun, but like anything worth pursuing, it’s also incredibly challenging at times.”
Q. Do you travel a lot?
“I’m lucky that I get to travel the world to attend motor shows and car launches, and do crazy things that are on people’s bucket lists – like driving fast cars at Phillip Island, going for hot laps with V8 Supercar drivers at Bathurst, driving supercars, taking a car glamping for a weekend, heading to New Zealand to learn how to drift in the snow and Mount Buller too. The opportunities I have been given are truly amazing. I’ve been to France and toured the Peugeot museum, Spain, Germany and England in the past year alone.
Q. Are you a good driver?
“Learning new skills and honing my driving technique is incredibly important for me professionally, and I strongly believe everyone should participate in a defensive driving course – at the very least. They’re great for building confidence on the road and vital in teaching drivers what they can do to help minimise the damage if things go wrong.
I’ve completed the Driver Dynamics advanced driver training course, BMW Alpine xDrive experience in New Zealand, Audi Advanced Driving Experience, BMW Intensive Driving Experience, Porsche Sport Driving School and Mercedes-AMG Performance drive day.”
Q. Any advice for people wanting to become a motoring journalist?
In the early days I found journalism itself a difficult career to break into! But once you forge your path and start building a reputation, specialisation is the next step. Motoring is such a small niche but well worth the effort if you are passionate about all things automotive.
My advice for anyone interested in breaking into motoring is to read a lot of reviews, get to know the life-cycle of cars and explore what makes them such an emotional investment for people. Then of course, knock on every door you can and if motoring is your dream, keep persevering till one opens.
Tegan Lawson is the Lifestyle Editor of CarAdvice.com.au and Motoring Editor for The Carousel.