january 2008 newsletter

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BorgW Warner = All-Wheel Drive

The BorgWarner Experience Feel Good About Driving

the road ahead

“I am part of the web2 generation and we don’t have time for poesy. Keep it short, sweet and relevant to my immediate, and I mean immediate needs. The possibility of diverting the dash to the next twinge of distraction is well, oh you name it - who has time to figure it out.”

A Pew Internet & American Life Project reports 93 percent of teenage youth use the Internet.  A high percentage multi-task, text messaging with one hand while changing channels with the other and listening to their IPODs. An increasing number create content on a social network. . . . Intel’s Paul Otellini told BBC News correspondent Darren Watters that a chip using less energy but powerful enough to bring the Internet wirelessly to a pocket-sized mobile device is but five generations of break-through development away and he is confident it will happen.

Liz Tascio, writing in OMMA Daily, predicts:  “Users will make the WEB their social network.  Maybe 2008 is too soon for this but there are already tools out there helping this along.  coComment, for example, gives users one place to track and share every comment they or anyone else makes anywhere online.  'It gives me an overview of what people are saying on the entire Web,'  says Kristina Serafim, vice president of marketing for coComment.  The entire Web? Now that's a network.”

“No one much uses ad-blockers, you say? That's what they said about TiVo about 5 years ago.  Empowering the online audience is truly transformative, but the old forced viewing model of unwanted advertising is spiraling down the drain.  Maybe the solution will be opt-in viewing of ads to compensate for the loss of revenue to free sites.  Or it may just be that someone will always be willing to give it away, and no one will make any money.”- Max Kalehoff writing in Online Spin. . . . The deluge of drivel the Internet provides may be one reason attention deficit disorder has increased.  Bagging our sails may be the best defense against being swamped by a typhoon of data on an anarchic sea of understanding.

However, Cheryl Swanson, founder of Toniq ( tells Online Media Daily, “For the last decade or more our senses have been working overtime, trying to cope with the onslaught of data in the Survival of the Fastest era.  Even though we self-censor 85% of incoming stimuli, we are still overloaded and sleep deprived.  While we've survived, and succeeded, in the early years of the information age, we've spent most of our time trying to catch up.  Now we need to reconnect to our humanity if we hope to thrive in the emerging "Imaginational Era.” She sees three themes in this new era where we will regain control over technology: “Fantasy as Fuel, The Genetics of Aesthetics, and Expansion and Discovery.”


new roads

INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks at  is a new digital magazine that focuses on vehicle interiors and "inside stories" about the industry.  The site and first issue are up and they are looking for good, professional, automotive freelancers to write for them.  They take full and mini-reviews with the content ratio of minimum 60:40 interiors, technology, etc. as well as features on a range of topics.  The best way to understand their editorial platform is to go to the site and copy the first issue in its entirety.  They pay up to $100 for a story and can use 3-4 freelance pieces a month.  Query first, please, to  after checking the site out completely.

Steve Parker reports that a new weekly half-hour show, "Whipnotic” began airing in January in English and Spanish on KNBC and KVEA (Telemundo 52).  He describes it as “sleek, fast and covers everything cool, hot, hip, down and happening in the automotive world."  Whipnotic can also be seen on KNBC’s digital channel; 4.4 and online at  where (surprise) Parker’s Car Nut tab accesses his “treasure trove” of auto information, reviews and test drives.


the tom tom

Autowriters.Com is inviting readers to submit their own Clog (Online Column).

It should pertain to auto journalism, including PR.  Otherwise, we have no rules at the moment other than no personal attacks, slander and the old fashioned belief that for the most part profanity is a substitute for thinking. 500-800 words is preferable and photo(s) if applicable.

Your reward, a byline and an audience of your peers. We’ll acknowledge all contributions, queue them and use the one considered the most pertinent at the time.

Submit your clog to using CLOG in the subject line.


autowriters spotlight

Some auto writers are journalists who drifted into auto coverage and others started as enthusiasts who became writers. For the one, the storyAutowriters Spotlight: Ralph Gray lurks behind the vehicle and for the other, the vehicle is the story. Ralph Gray is among those who search for the “story”, “angle” or compelling “lede” while covering aspects of autodom.

It is a trait he came by naturally, having started as a copy boy on the Chicago Sun and Chicago Herald-American when the Windy City’s six dailies were still enamored with its famed rough and tumble, “get me re-write” portrayal of more than a generation earlier in Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s classic play Front Page.

Covering police and courts for the City News Bureau abetted this take on the profession before he moved on to the Chicago Daily News covering real estate and financial.  Gray became auto editor there in 1963 and recalls that his first auto “scoop” was revealing the original Ford Mustang.  From there he went to assistant financial editor for Chicago Today, a post he recalls that once had him serving as Henry Ford II’s bartender.

Gray modestly notes that a number of his employers did not survive his arrival or was it departure, those being the Daily News, Herald-American,
City News Bureau, Today and the Sun without merging with the Times. He did and moved to Detroit as bureau chief for Advertising Age, just in time to chronicle the afternoon of the halcyon days of Detroit auto advertising, when it was said account executives “only retuned phone calls from their client, mistress, lawyer or broker- and not necessarily in that order.”

Later, it was stints with Adweek and as an editor on Ward’s Auto Dealer before relocating to the sunshine of Palm Harbor, Fla. and freelancing, notably for Hispanic Business, the publication, and a regular weekly online auto review for

Gray describes his current status with a line he attributes to former Lee Iacocca lieutenant Ben Bidwell,  “I am in the twilight of a mediocre career.”  Although that does not include his batting average in an old geezer softball league that provides ample exercise.


road signs

Mitch Lowe, CEO of Jumpstart Automotive Media, notes: "The auto industry will spend at least 8% of its advertising budget--more than $3 billion in total--on digital advertising." - Online Media .  . . . Jean Halliday reports in Advertising Age that a survey of 100,000 new car buyers by Strategic Vision, “found that Latinos look for an enhanced sense of security; blacks are more attracted to models that reflect the success in their lives and express their individuality; and Asian-Americans showed stronger interest in balanced, complete vehicle performance and style to match their lives."  . . . A new study conducted by comScore with The Kelsey Group, shows that nearly one out of every four Internet users reported using online reviews prior to paying for a service delivered offline by restaurants, hotels, travel, legal, medical, automotive and home services, -Research Briefs.

Writing in Online Media Daily, Gavin O’Malley reports, “The Associated Press has launched a new tool for affiliate news sites to upload and monetize their own content. The service is designed to attract local viewers and advertisers, which are both responding well to relevant content like high-school sports, local events, and breaking state news. "  Local video allows these sites to really shine in their markets," said Ilana Arazie, an AP product specialist.  The affiliate sites also expressed an interest in making more money, Arazie said.  Local online advertising is forecast to jump 48% to $12.6 billion in 2008, according to Borrell Associates. Featuring exclusive AP content, the AP's Online Video Network serves some 1,900 newspaper, television and radio sites nationwide. AP affiliates can now control a "Local" tab within their player and fill it with their own video using a Web-based uploading tool developed by Microsoft.”

Hybrid car owners have more money, more years in school and are more likely to be older.  They also are more likely to do the things many of us know we should do (but don’t get around to): eat right, exercise, bike, hike, ski, golf, garden and use organic food.  This according to a research report from Scarborough Research, as reported in Research Briefs. Oh yes, they also are more likely to be Democrats, outnumbering Republicans 38 percent to 14 percent with 34 percent independent and the remainder unaffiliated. . . . While the new social networks are making the headlines in media coverage, Email Blows Away All Other Social Networks according to Max Kalehoff, writing in the public Online Spin blog.  He reports, “a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found that 91% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 64 send or read e-mail, far more than any social network.”

Eric Sass, writing for the BBC News, reports that Scripps, in what may be a first for U.S. newspapers, has replaced the Kentucky Post newspaper that was shuttered at the same time as the Cincinnati Post, with  – a new web site to continue the reporting of the expired paper.  He notes that it follows the launch of an entirely new web newspaper,, by the former publisher of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune but it is not a replacement for a print newspaper.


pit notes

Freelancer Rex Roy reports that his book: Motor City Dream Garages was launched at the fall SEMA Show and he believes it would make a great Father’s Day gift for those who plan ahead.  Published by Motor Books International it is a beautiful photo tour of the Motown garages of some 20 plus top industry names. . . . From the INL Digest: a Geneva, Switzerland research firms rates Toyota at the top of the ethical ranking of 198 multinational firms following the evaluation of thousands of documents covering 45 criteria including wages and waste management.  Honda was 9th and Ford 11th.  And, this advice to PR officers from the editor of England’s Performance Car:The most important thing for any PRO to remember is that journalists always respond well to free food.”

That’s somewhat better than Bernard Simon’s revival in The Financial Times of the old press-car versus objectivity debate which he calls “the dark little corner of automotive journalism.”  To his credit he acknowledges: “Each side can marshal strong arguments in favour of the status quo.  It is impossible to review a car without driving it.  Media outlets gain access to newsworthy products and events.  And for the carmakers, exotic 'ride-and-drives' and vast media fleets are worthwhile investments, given the publicity they yield.”

Ted West earns a second plug of his unpublished novel by providing its name, “Closing Speed.” . . . Primedia scribes are in the process of having their email addresses changed.  Some are, others still at Primedia, some use their pub’s email address and some can be reached at any of the three, although the sourceinterlink address is expected to become standard. . . . Juan Gregory Robbins would like it known that his work appears in La Isla Times, a Key Biscayne, FL. newspaper, LUK Magazine, La Dolce Vita Television, a Caracol Television show aired on Direct TV throughout all of the Spanish speaking markets in the Americas, and online in monthly automotive reviews,

Lola, the world leader in race car victories and championships kicked off its 50th Anniversary Year celebration by asking drivers and media to name the top 10 Lola cars. Selected were: 1.- T70 MIIIB 2.- T70 Can-Am 3. - T332 F5000 4. - T90/10 5.- Mk6 GT 6.- Mk 1 7. -B01/60 LMP2 8.- T93/00 9. -T212 10.-T260 . . . The Motor Press Guild has posted a Request for a Quotation for prospective bidders seeking to replace Allison Altzman as administrator. It offers a variety of options so that the press group's needs might be performed by either one or two persons, depending on the applicants' skill set and experience.  Deadline for bids is February 1, 2008. The job(s) begins approximately March 1, 2008.  To download a PDF or Word document of the Request for Statements of Qualifications (RFQ), go to

Doug Stokes advises “if anyone in the biz needs some good solid information, strong quotes, and/or common sense about the very complicated (very politicized) world of alternate and/or "bio" fuels, hybrids, and clean diesel, Gale Banks is perhaps THE best in the business to interview up close and personal, .


lane changes

Congratulations to Jason Vines for recognizing he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time and resigning as vice president, communications for Chrysler.  No kudos for his boss, CEO Robert Nardelli, who thereupon downgraded the PR function, placing it under Human Resources (not Marketing) and brought in a New York PR firm he worked with in his Home Depot days. 

That action brought some quick responses from AW readers.  Among them: “boycott Chrysler press events,” “Human Resources’ idea of communications is getting the right signs on the restroom doors’’ and “selling cars is not the same as selling hammers” and the prediction that “Chrysler (news) will leak like a sieve.”

The latter a reasonable observation considering that Human Resources has little leverage on people it doesn’t employ and reporters are paid to break news. The moves also suggest the first priority for Chrysler is survival, sale or merger, with selling the product left to the eventual buyer.  Vines was quickly snapped up by Detroit-based software developer Compuware where he will start as Sr. Vice President,  Compuware 2.

Julie Hemp has traded cars for cola, features for fantasy, leaving GM PR after 26 years to head PR for Pepsi. . . . Veteran Motor City writer Bill Vlasic has moved from the Detroit News to the New York Times Bureau there.  He succeeds one of autodom’s top scribes, Miki Maynard, who is slated to move to the Times’ Washington bureau in the near future.

Louise Ann Noeth is now responsible for sponsor development and media relations, including the television documentary of the continuing pursuit of the absolute land speed record initiated by the missing and presumed dead adventurer Steve Fossett.  She can be reached at LandSpeed Productions, 805.445.8414 or . . . Joe Overby has assumed responsibility for Auto Remarketing Today and SubPrime Update published by S&A Cherokee in Carey, N,C. . . . Phil Floraday let AwCom know that he has been at Winding Road since September as Managing News Editor. . . . John Lippert is changing Bloomberg News offices -  Detroit’s for Chicago’s.  Jeff Green will succeed him as Detroit Automotive Bureau Chief, although Lippert will return to do stories from time to time.

Toni Honsowetz is now with A&M in L.A. . . . Andrew Schreck has joined John Bailey & Assocs. PR, Detroit. . . . . Corey Langworth has joined Suzuki’s strategic partner Paine PR as Account Director for Suzuki Auto. . . . Scott Ross, formerly with Drive! Magazine, is now associate editor for both Corvette Fever Magazine and Mopar Muscle Magazine with SourceInterlink in Fla.


across the finish line

Tony Leopardo, editor and publisher of www.Autowire.Net, sent along word of the passing of Gene Sherman “a real car guy, master modeler and collector car restorer.”  Sherman worked 20 years for the Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa until it closed.


awards, honors and events


AWCom does not pretend to track all motor sport awards but AARWBA, the nations oldest motor racing press association’s annual elections to its All-America Team and Special Awards merit listing.  Here they are as provided by Spin Doctor 500 Michael Knight:

Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy           Dario Franchitti

All-America Team Members
Drag Racing                                      Tony Schumacher and Tony Pedregron
Road Racing                                      Alex Gurney,Jon Fogarty and Scott Pruett
Open Wheel                                      Sebastien Bourdais
Stock Car                                           Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon
Short Track                                        Donny Schatz and Jerry Coons, Jr.
Touring                                              Frank Kimmel (Series) Ron Honraday, Jr.
At Large                                             Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Alex Lloyd

Special Awards
Pioneer In Racing Award                   Carl Haas
Jim Chapman Award                          Dave Densmore and Bob Carlson
Dusty Brandel Award                         Robert (Rocky) Entriken
Gorsline Award                                  Dane Cameron

For details and more information contact , Dusty Brandel, 818.842.7005,  or dinner chairman Michael Knight, 602.315.3900 (cell phone) or .


And, while AWCom does not intend to publish all of the various car and truck of the year awards – we do hope for a most-honored summary of sorts.  We also think that the North American Car and Truck of The Year Awards deserve mention because they reflect the un-sponsored effort of auto writers across the U.S., to reach a consensus. The winners are:

                            CHEVY MALIBU and MAZDA CX-9


Tom Bryant, Vice President and editor–in-chief of Road & Track, was named the fifth recipient of Road & Travel Magazine's annual award for achievements in the industry.


Executive Director and Administrator Elaine Hassner advises that because the competition has gone to the calendar year, entries will be accepted for work from Aug. 1 through December 31, 2006 as well as all of 2007.  The entry deadline is Feb. 15.  Awards will be presented mid-June in the Detroit area in conjunction with the North American Concept Vehicle Awards.  Entry forms can be obtained on request at


The Ken W. Purdy Award is for a body of work or a specific piece of work that may be an article published in a newspaper or magazine during the calendar year preceding the award presentation.  It may be a book published during the calendar year preceding the award presentation.  It may be a script that resulted in a movie film or video released during the calendar year preceding the award presentation.  Or, it may be a work that appeared online (Web sites, online news services, etc.) during the calendar year preceding the award presentation. Entry deadline Feb 1. Contact for entry form and requirements.



13-15 North American Int’l Auto Show, Press Preview, Detroit
15 Urban Wheels Awards, Fox Theater, Detroit
17 IMPA, lunch, 3West Club, NYC ALMS “Green” racing Series
18 MAMA, Lunch, Oakbrook, IL.  Annual Business Meeting
20 APA Family Daily At NAIAS
21-24 Automotive News World Congress, Deroit
22 WAPA/WANADA  Media Day Luncheon, Washington Auto Show
25 WAPA  Annual Gala, National Press Club
25 TAWA  General membership Meeting, Houston Auto Show
30 APA, lunch, Detroit, Nissan



1 Ken Purdy Award entry deadline
5 MPG, Lunch, Los Angeles
15 IAMC, entry deadline
6-7 Chicago Auto Show Press Preview
10 Automotive Hall of Fame, Awards luncheon, San Francisco
13 WAJ, dinner, So. San Francisco, Mazda Speed Racing


- 30-


Glenn F. Campbell

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vehicle awards list

Thanks to reader responses AWCom has a more complete list of “Car of The Year Awards.” Additions are welcome.  An asterisk beside a list award means we need the results when available.






















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motoring press organizations

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APA Automotive Press Association, Detroit - John Lippert,
IMPA International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -,
MAMA Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
MPG Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
NEMPA New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
NWAPA Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
PAPA Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President- 
RMAP Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
SAMA Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Ron Beasley, President,
SEAMO Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
TAWA Texas Auto Writers Association, Harold Gunn, 
TWNA Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,
WAJ   Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco  -, Ron Harrison
WAPA Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Kimatni Rawlins, President -

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