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Thoreau believed the perfect dialogue would have the speakers take a step away from each other with each sentence spoken until they could not hear one another.  That paradigm was shattered by the telephone, pulverized by broadcast and atomized by the Internet, which now offers a program to keep any and all constantly apprised as to “what are you doing now?”   Statistics quoted in Media Online Daily have one billion people online worldwide (Asia having the most), 50 million blogs in cyberspace with 7,200 being added every hour, 100 million Americans with broadband at home, 100 million members of MySpace and 65,000 videos uploaded every day on YouTube. . . . The Center For Media Research quotes from the new U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, “adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) next year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices.” . . .  The Center for The Digital Future at the Annenberg School for Communications reports 43 percent of Internet users who are members of online communities say that they “feel as strongly” about their virtual community as they do about their real world communities.  (An “online community” is defined as a group that shares thoughts or ideas, or works on common projects, through electronic communication only.) . . . John Blossom, writing in Shore Communications' Shorelines predicts: ". . . if marketing is better served through more direct and focused communications with audiences and through multi-channel advertising wholesalers like Google, then traditional media companies have nowhere to go but down.  With a near-infinite inventory of content and a finite inventory of advertisers, media companies are in a race with corporate marketers to come up with the most compelling content and context that can get a marketing message across to audiences.  In the long run this is a race that most media companies can only lose.  It's time for media companies to shift permanently to being enablers of effective conversations from all sources.  Today's "media star" is no longer the one with the least common denominator gazing at them but the one who can get audiences and marketers looking at one another most effectively.  At stake is some $19.5 billion in internet ad spending predicted for 2007.  Internet retail sales in 2006 reached $206 billion.  Recent examples of riding the tide to internet community: GateHouse Media, Press Think reports, is rolling out  “Creative Commons licenses covering nearly all of the 121 dailies and weeklies they own in Massachusetts. The CC license now covers 96 of the company’s TownOnline sites, which are grouped within a portal for their many Eastern Massachusetts newspapers.  This license is often called the ‘free advertising’  license because it allows others to download your works and share them - as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.”  Car makers are creating community web sites such as the Toyota re-launched site for hybrid car owners.  And they are blending “tell them” advertising and marketing functions with their “talk with them” communications as in the case of Nissan’s shifting global marketing responsibilities to its vice president of global communications, Simon Sproule.


Auto writers in other markets may benefit by the example if the new monthly seven page auto section pullout in The NY Daily News is a success.  The first one appeared December 26th.  There will be 10 articles in each pullout with photos on the cover and interspersed within.  Sole editor and author of the sections is Josh Max who is responsible for coming up with article ideas as well as opinions of the various machines he will test drive.  The section is titled “You Drive” and covers just about every aspect of the industry likely to be of interest to the consumer.  While he welcomes manufacturer news and information, Max cautions: “Please do not send me fat notebooks with every model in them and CD-Roms.  If I need to see your entire fleet, I'll go to your website.  Ditto if I need info on specific machines. Be sure to include those Monroneys in your vehicles if you have them available, though---love them.”  His preferred method of communication is e-mail.  The section will not appear on the paper’s online site.  However, he says a Podcast of reviews is being planned after the paper revamps its online presence. . . . The Car Connection celebrated its 10th anniversary with a complete redesign of its web site to makes it easier to see and navigate through the massive and diverse range of content on the site; everything from news to reviews to spy shots - along with a host of new features.  Not the least of these are additions afforded by TCC’s new affiliation with the authoritative J.D. Power and Associates.  Working with Power and Associates, TCC has vastly expanded its Consumer Center to provide Power's benchmark quality and reliability ratings, which are based on the company's newest independent studies.  Power also helps readers "build" a virtual car, and compare product prices and features.  More new features derived from the alliance are in the offing.  Also part of TCC’s 10th anniversary upgrade is a new Podcast feature, expanded RSS feeds and enhanced news coverage. . . . The Automotive Who’s Who now exceeds 4,000 automotive O.E. supplier location profiles and over 16,400 individual key points of contact (POCs ).  They can be reached at staff@automotivewhoswho.com. . . . When an expected official response to November's report on rumors concerning the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) did not arrive, TAWA member David Bolt wrote his own: "Your recent report regarding TAWA's rumored misdeeds was, at best, perplexing; at worst, a grossly inaccurate assertion. As a TAWA member since 1993 I've not been privy to all of the organization's financial matters, but I can speak to my association - as Rodeo committee member, board member and two-term president - since 1995. At no time during that period have I been aware of any misdirected funds, nor am I aware of any quid pro quo influencing a TAWA result. Ours is a diverse membership, and while we have few members serving a national audience I believe our members - and votes - credibly represent those audiences - print, broadcast and Internet - which rely on our information and perspective.”  He also said the implications are based on old rumors and that he “hopes for higher journalistic standards in the future (on AWCOM's part) but will settle for any journalistic standard.” . . . Keith Griffin, faithful scribe of the New England Motor Press Association reports that Duncan Haimerl, long-time motoring editor for the Hartford Courant is back writing about cars after coming home from the hospital Christmas Eve with three newly installed stents. . . . The Motor Press Guild’s 2nd annual media survey evaluating the performance of manufacturer PR departments is being well-received according to John Rettie who heads the project.  Ten companies have purchased the 2006 survey.  Jeff Holland, GM’s regional communications manager, wrote about the survey: "This is a valuable tool. . . it provides a good road map for areas where we can improve our service." . . . Memories of the California Jalopy Association covering Southern California Jalopy racing from 1938 through 1969 including early Ascot coverage of Figure 8's during the 1960's has been published by Thomas Luce.  More information is available by calling him at 949-631-1598 or sending an email to t.luce@att.net. . . . San Diego Motorsports: 100 Racing Years, by Johnny McDonald with 450 photographs is available from Johnny23@cox.net or call 619-583-0432 for details . . .. And, at least 50% of the people who plan on spending $30,000 or more on their next automobile purchase are affluent "empty nesters."  Their dominant media of choice are newspapers and the internet.


When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution moved writing of its auto section from the marketing department to features, the paper revamped its approach to auto editorial, including dispensing with long established independent contributors Linda Sharp and Russ DeVault.  Instead, Clint Williams, a staffer since 1998, was christened “the autowriter.”  A self-styled “regular guy” when it comes to cars, Williams acknowledges he doesn’t know who won Le Mans in 1961 and that the odds of his knowing the provenance of esoteric models at a concurs d’elegance are astronomical.  However, he also feels that the “snapshot” approach to his Friday car review and Saturday overview of say, the luxury class or trends in interior design, works for the constantly partial attention of today’s reader.  His reviews simulate a dialogue, briefly asking and quickly answering questions he believes readers have when deciding if they want to learn more about a particular model:  “What’s special,” "What do we like,”  "What isn’t there,”  “One shortcoming,” "You oughta know,"  and "What others say."  To answer that last one he quotes from enthusiast pubs and web sites.  Williams welcomes product press kits.


Cheryl and Chris Jenson are now ensconced in their Bethlehem, NH home. . . . Michael Jordan, Automobile Magazine’s West Coast writer for 20 years (thereabouts) is now executive editor at Inside Line, Edmunds.com’s enthusiast magazine.  He offsets leaving great times and great people at Automobile by noting Inside Line is also emerging as a great magazine in its own right and looks forward to helping it find its own special voice – “the kind of creative enterprise that I’ve always enjoyed.” . . . David Reuter is the new General Manager, Public Relations for Bentley Motors in Auburn Hills, Mich. . . . Jimmy (Gertrude) McWilliams reports the passing of her husband, Bruce, at age 85 on Dec., 29.  He was a veteran of the car wars starting with Mercedes when it was distributed in the U.S. by Studebaker-Packard.  Then it was to Saab and Rover in the ‘60s where Jimmy was Bruce's PR and advertising chief.  He migrated with that brand to British Leyland and in subsequent years to DeLorean and Bertone. . . . Earle Eldridge is a new Associate Editor of Traffic World magazine, a trade publication based in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.  He’ll cover government and regulation there and will continue to write an automotive column for the Baltimore Examiner as well as freelance auto reviews for various publications. . . . Rachelle Johnson is now Special Projects Coordinator responsible for the weekly auto section at the Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle. . . . Mike Austin most recently with the defunct RPM magazine, was named Tech Editor for Car and Driver. . . . Dick Wright’s recent passing brought this tribute by colleague Jack Lessenberry to the much-liked and long-time Automotive News reporter and Wayne State University Journalism professor:  “Dick had written books, knew German and Russian and had a law degree.  He was a superb automotive journalist who could also easily have been a top feature writer at any major paper in the country.  But he was so personally modest you might have thought he was someone who worked the counter in an auto parts store.  He was a great man -- a superbly gifted writer, teacher, colleague and human being who had a healthy perspective on life." 


Yes, there is a free lunch. MAMA Members in good standing eat for free when attending the organization’s annual business meeting Jan. 12, when
two new board members will be elected

Future transportation fuels will be the topic Thursday, January 18, at the first IMPA meeting of 2007.  Jim Macias of Shell Oil will be the presenter at the 3 West Club, 3 West 51st Street, New York.

The 2007 John Lynker Award presented by WAPA goes to NHSTA for
making great strides in achieving higher seat belt use, child passenger safety efforts and promoting active safety through electronic stability control standards.  Nicole Nason NHTSA Administrator will accept the award and speak on press preview day at the Washington Auto Show, Jan. 23rd.  Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG, will keynote the day. . . Automotive Rhythms has doubled the space for its popular “Urban Restyln’ Salon” at the show.  Extreme customized versions of new ways to “flip your whip” will be on display.


The 13 regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere.  If they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefits.


APA      Automotive Press Association, Detroit - John Lippert, jlippert@bloomberg.net
IMPA    International Motor Press Association, NYC - info@impa.org www.impa.org
MAMA   Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago - www.mamaonline.org
MPG      Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles - www.motorpressguild.org
NEMPA  New England Motor Press Association, Boston - www.nempa.org
NWAPA  Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA- www.nwapa.org
PAPA      Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix- ledsall@cox.net
RMAP      Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver - vince@theweekenddrive.com
SEAMO    Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC www.southeastautomedia.org
TAWA      Texas Auto Writers Association - http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, Harold Gunn, hgunn@gunstuff.com 
TWNA     Truck Writers of North America, www.twna.org Tom Kelley, Executive Director, tom.kelley@deadlinefactory.com
WAJ      Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco  - www.waj.org, Michael Coates, president, coateskm@aol.com

     Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C. - www.washautopress.org

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Glenn F. Campbell