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march 2014 newsletter

The Road Ahead
 Infographic: Data Naver Sleeps

Laurie Sullivan in Media Daily News predicts, "Internet-connected devices will change online advertising in ways that industry executives cannot yet imagine."  Reporting from the recent OMMA SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, where a Panel of semiconductor industry executives discussed "The Internet of Things," she says it "probably means a future without 'traditional' online advertising." If you think that sounds like good news, consider the example she offers of what's to come. First signs are native ads, curated content and voice-assisted apps. Then, in connected cars, she says, "Agencies can now take that technology and push information to the consumer, telling them to take a specific route to save money and gas. And, oh, by the way, stop at the Chevron station at Broadway and Third to fill up because they have the least expensive gas in the area."

Steve Smith elaborates on this in his essay in Data Insider: "Your Car is Following You: Will it be a Data Monster?" He writes: "As telematics turns the dashboard into an infotainment system and connectivity reaches into the cabin, the family car becomes yet another piece of The Internet of Things. From travel patterns to traffic snarls, speed records to cross-matching entertainment decisions with physical contexts, the potential data land grab here is impressive. And consider the amount of video being captured by rear-view parking cams and dashboard recorders. The big data aggregator in the cloud will be an invisible passenger."

Also riding along will be steeper price tags as the added gimmicks and features like the recently introduced Apple CarPlay ups the price tag the average car buyer already cannot afford, according to the Detroit Bureau. Quoting numbers crunched by the financial web site,, the Bureau reports, "in 16 cities (among the 25 largest metro areas) median family incomes fell at least $10,000 short of what it would take to buy the typical new vehicle." And, that is not counting the cost of projected government-mandated new vehicle safety upgrades such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or the extra $3,000 federal fuel economy regulations are expected to add to the cost of a new car or truck by the year 2025, according to Larry Printz writing in the Virginian-Pilot.

PS: "The Internet of Things" is in action at a Texas restaurant where the table asks for a customer's order and relays it to the chef. No word if robots deliver the meals but it won't be long until they do and wait persons will have to find a new way to make money.


road signs

The Writers Guild of America East warned that rules against blocking and discrimination "are essential to maintaining the Internet as a place of innovation and access." The group declared, "Permitting broadband providers to discriminate amongst content, to decide which programs get priority distribution, would transform the open architecture of the internet into a slightly upgraded version of today's television and film industry."

StumbleUpon's James O'Toole reminded readers of five predictions about the Web that were famously Way Off:

  • "Spam will soon be a thing of the past." – Bill Gates, 2004

  • "The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper."- Clifford Stoll, cybersecurity expert, astronomer and author,1995

  • The Internet would "go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."- Robert Metcalfe, one of the inventors of Ethernet Technology,1995

  • "The Web means the end of Big Brother." – Lawyer and Researcher Peter Huber in Columbia Journalism Review, 1995

  • "No one will buy anything over the Web." – Clifford Stoll, Newsweek, 1995

Tom Kutsch, writes in Al Jazeera America, "75 percent of publishers offer online native advertising, according to a July 2013 study by the Online Publishers Association and Radar Research." He points out the various objections to the practice but concludes, "In the past, a city's paper had a near monopoly on local advertising, but now companies don't need to rely on traditional advertising in newspapers."  He ends by quoting, presumably, Jay Rosen of Press Think, "There's a new balance of power," Rosen said. "It's clear advertisers have more power relative to the newsrooms, because there are so many more ways to reach people."

Evidence of this shifting power is a new $5 million deal between MillerCoors and AOL. Gavin O'Malley writes in Media Daily News: "The buy is part of a broader strategy by MillerCoors to own publisher content." AOL will produce 350 pieces of "original content" for the brewer in 2014. The male-oriented content will run across AOL properties including the Huffington Post and Huff Post Live. Also, O'Malley writes, Ford has inked a reported $10 million dollar deal to sponsor a video series, "This Built America," that AOL will produce.


pit notes

When it comes to pit notes, for those who have not witnessed a skilled pit crew in action during a race, this will be an impressive look:

Video: Ferrari Pit Stop Perfection

With the Formula One season underway, Peter Aylett reminds that his Car Art, Inc. Grand Prix Gallery has more than 200 cars representing 25 different teams from 1906 to 2010. Contact . . . And not to be overlooked, David Bull tells AWCom, and as many others as he can, that he has an array of Formula One books on hand, including Hunt vs. Lauda: 1967, A Year of Living Dangerously and Postcards From Detroit. Contact him at: or 1-800-831-158. . . . . It may have nothing to do with weed now being legal in Colorado but Jay Lamm has added an early September race in Denver to this year '24 Hours of LeMons race schedule. . . . Apple has applied for patents on a device to monitor a wearer's psychological as well as physical well-being. For a startling description of the capabilities projected for this device, check Steve Smith's Media Post MoBlog: Targeting Moods: Apple Proposes Next Generation Of Psycho-Physical-Behavioral Profiling. One use not mentioned could be, when this mind and mood reading device is coupled with Apple's recently introduced CarPlay: a "kill switch" that activates when a car's driver is inebriated or in the grip of road rage.

Cuba: A Living, Rolling, Car Museum. Photo by Brenda Priddy

Cuba: A Living, Rolling, Car Museum

You don't have to go undercover to join Spy Photographer Brenda Priddy, on a tour of Cuba and a cross section of its estimated 60,000 vintage cars this October. It is U.S. Government-approved, week-long trip accompanied by an Earthbound Expeditions program director and a bilingual Cuban national guide. It includes one night in Miami, two nights in Colonial Trinidad and five nights in Havana. A highlight of the trip will be interaction with members of "A lo Cubano" a Cuba classic & historic car club–one of the most important and active car clubs in Cuba with excellent cars and owners. For more information check out: Or, you can call 1-800-723-8454.

Everyday Driver's feature-length documentary "50 Years of the 911" is being shown on Velocity Channel at regular intervals. Produced in celebration of the Porsche 911's 50-year anniversary, the film is a one-of-a-kind retrospective on Porsche's automotive icon. Co-hosts Paul and Todd drive and review eight separate 911 models, tracing the changes and experiences of one of the world's best-known sports cars.


new roads

Freedom Communications is going against the tide, by launching the Los Angeles Register daily newspaper, slated to debut April 16. It will be the sixth daily newspaper published by the Orange County California –based firm that will also launch in coming months more than a dozen monthly newspapers serving selected towns along the California coast and as far east as Pomona. The company's web site identifies its network of community newspapers as the heart of its business. . . . If so, it may have a heart attack if Microsoft's new hyper-local HereHere internet service goes national. As described by Laurie Sullivan in MediaPost's Data and Targeting Insider, HereHere "blends data analytics and social media to alert the public of issues affecting their neighborhoods." The program sections New York city into 30-plus neighborhoods and scours social media and other sources for trending concerns and complaints by residents in each. The results are published in short, understandable blurbs overlaid on a map showing the neighborhoods involved.

Really, really hyper-local is Comcast's new initiative in Chicago. According to Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune, "The cable and Internet provider has begun to turn hundreds of thousands of Chicago-area homes into virtual coffee shops, using existing Comcast equipment to build out its publicly accessible wireless network. The neighborhood hot spots initiative, rolling out during the next several months, will send a separate Wi-Fi signal from Comcast-issued home equipment, enabling anyone within range to get online." And it's free, for several hours each month.

XCAR is the centerpiece of considerable automotive coverage on CNET, CBS's Interactive site. According to Gavin O'Malley in VidBlog. The program is distributed on its own platform as well as the network and features video, writing, and photography from editorial staff positioned in various regions, including Australia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Car Guy TV launched this month in Dallas, Texas on Channel 47 KTXD, SAT 11:30 am SUN 6 pm, FRI 1:30 am. Hosted by Lifestyle magazine publisher Timothy Miller and Porsche national race car champion, Kristen Treager, the show was "born out of a desire to bring something fresh and new to the automotive enthusiasts of Texas," Miller says. He is interested in interviewing automotive journalists. Reach him at or 972-754-0100.

Not exactly a new road but a different look for Lauren Fix Car Coach's web site. Still the same expert knowledge, tips and comments but perhaps more easily accessed at: . . . .Complete Senior is a new digital magazine for people 50+, Wooden Horse News notes. Richard Pere-Fiera is the editor-in-chief. (No email available) . . . . Fern Siegel reports in Online Media Daily, ", has launched a platform of customized tools to connect digital content to social action. The company's widget gives publishers, brand and nonprofits the chance to distribute their material across the Web. For example, the site will post an article about severe storms in the Midwest, then display various ways users can help with disaster relief."


awards & events

The fourth winner of the Jerry Flint Scholarship for International Business Reporting was awarded on February 21 at the annual Overseas Press Club Scholarship Luncheon at the Yale Club. The recipient, John Ismay, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, intends to use his unique mix of multimedia journalism skills with his 12 years experience as a munitions specialist to continue his work on the unintended consequences of American foreign policy and military actions abroad, as well as the under-reported global issue of arms proliferation. John has an OPC Foundation fellowship and is headed to the Congo for GlobalPost. The scholarship is presented through the Overseas Press Club Foundation, 40 West 45th Street, NY, NY 10036 Those wanting to make contributions to the scholarship may still do so. Note that it is for the Jerry Flint Fund.

Matthew Brabham presented with 20th Gorsline Scholarship by John GorslineMatthew Brabham, of Indianapolis and Gold Coast Australia, was presented the 20th Gorsline Scholarship by John Gorsline at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Gorsline Scholarship recognizes aspiring drivers by providing programs with tools that will assist them in developing skills on and off the track to help attain their professional goals. Brabham is the son of Geof and grandson of Jack Brabham. . . . . The team responsible for the development of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was presented WAPA’s Golden Gear award by WAPA President Melanie Batenchuk, editor of Be Car Chic.

Through the Collision Repair Education Foundation and the 3M "Hire Our Heroes" program, 3M is funding special scholarship opportunities for veterans that want to begin a collision repair career. The scholarship awards will pay for tuition and required books/tools for veterans enrolling in community or four year college collision repair program in the summer/fall 2014. Interested veterans can apply for the scholarship by visiting the Collision Repair Education Foundation's web site:, under "Students" and "Hire Our Heroes." The deadline for the application is September 30, 2014.

Mario Andretti, the world's most recognized race-car driver, will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the "RRDC Evening John Lamm's Miata Photon wins mpg 2014 Media guide coverwith Mario Andretti presented by Firestone" in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, April 10, prior to the running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. . . . The 2014 Concours d'Elegance of America is presenting a VIP Collection Tour this Saturday, March 29. Starting in Troy, Mich. The tour will visit two collections and a restoration shop with a stop for lunch amidst 40 of collector Larry Smith’s favorite cars. Open to a limited number at $200.00 per person call (248) 643-864 for more information. The actual Concours d’Elegance of America schedule runs from July 24 to 27 in Plymouth Mich., with a press preview July 15. . . . John Lamm's photo of a Miata on the road won MPG's contest for its 2014 Media Guide cover shot.


passing scene

Video: Grizzly Destroys Brand New Toyota Sequoia

Grizzly destroys Toyota

Generation Y car buyers (under age 20 to 29) dropped from 10% to 8% of the market between 2007 and 2013, according to a Strategic Vision study reported by Karl Greenberg in Marketing Daily. However, it is not because young people don't want a new car, it is because they can't afford one, the research firm posits, pointing to heavy student debts and the recession as confining them to the used market, if at all. Those that do search the market seek personality and reliability in their wheels, which doesn't bode well for them according to J.D. Power and Associates' 25th annual Vehicle Dependability study that showed the number of owner-reported problems over 12 months for 2011 model years cars increased 6 percent. For the past several years dependability ratings have been going up.

Also suffering on the reliability front when it comes to car purchases, is social media. A TNS study reported by Erik Sass in The Social Graf reveals, car shoppers "don't consider social media a reliable source of information when it comes to buying cars." He quotes TNS as finding just 7% of U.S. car buyers cited social media, including automotive blogs, customer reviews and forums, as their most trusted source of information when purchasing a vehicle. Apparently, a considerable degree of cynicism about brands invading social media makes traditional media more trustworthy for American car buyers. (In China, where social media is relatively new, its just the opposite). In England, however, Top Gear shows in this clip how to have it both ways {believable and untrustworthy):

Women drivers rate treatment by the sales person as "the most influential when it comes to buying from a dealership," according to Anne Fleming at She says price comes in second and the car dealer's reputation third in her list of top reasons women buy from a dealer.


regional news


After a winter of driving dozens of contenders, the voting members of the New England Motor Press Association selected their favorite winter rides, the vehicles that offer the best combination of winter-specific features and options plus the dynamic qualities that make for safe, enjoyable and competent all-weather driving. For an unprecedented fourth consecutive year the Jeep Grand Cherokee was voted the overall winner.

Cadillac XTS AWD and Infiniti Q50 AWD tied for tops in their class, as did Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Kia Sorento, Subaru ‘s Legacy and WRX won their classes while single class wins went to the BMW 428i xDrive, Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4WD, Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX and Range Rover Sport.


WAPA members will get a chance to be cab drivers for a day when Nissan brings its NV200 Taxi to the nation's capital on April 2. Drives will begin at 11:30 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. with a luncheon meeting in between.


Suspense at Charlotte. Elvis fans Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham are slated to unveil the recently preserved last vehicle driven by Elvis Presley on March 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After several laps around the track, the car will become the Showcase Pavilion centerpiece during the 2014 AutoFair April 3 to 6 at the Speedway. The AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available but the make and model of Elvis' last ride has yet to be announced. . . . Media credential applications are now being accepted online for the 2014 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance through April 26. Log on here to the complete media form. You will be notified within 48 hours of approval. The event is May 1 through 4.

Southern California

The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles has opened a unique town-car display that will remain through the fall of 2014. Cars with the distinctive open chauffeur compartment dating from 1889 to the 1960s are included in the display. One of them is Liberace's unique mirrored town-car. . . . Auto-Aerobooks Books in Burbank, Calif. will have a book signing of USRRC April 5 by Mike Martin from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. . . . MPG has planned a "Power Trip" to the Toyota Automobile Museum for its members on Sunday, April 6. The idea is for participants to use their favorite, hopefully unusual, vehicle for the jaunt from Long Beach to Torrance. . . . . Also on the MPG agenda is a "Droptops and Dirt" drive. It combines the challenging off-road trails with an on-road convertible drive through scenic, twisty canyon roads. . . . Seal Beach is gearing up for its 27th year hosting Southern California's largest beachfront classic car show Saturday April 26. The event is free and open to the public, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Main Street in Old Town Seal Beach. . . . Also on the 26th, The Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip Reunion will be from 10 AM until 2 PM at Santiago Creek Park just off North Lawson Way in the city of Orange, Calif. The 22nd annual Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance will celebrate automotive innovation by showcasing the convergence of engineering, ingenuity, art and craftsmanship, according to Chairman Peter Kunoth. The event will be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. on Sunday September 14. The Concours will have 20 classes, with Tucker and Cord as the featured Marques.


Noted car designer Peter Brock will be the featured speaker at the Blackhawk Museum on April 27. He will talk about his time at GM Styling with Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, and his design that would ultimately become the '63 Corvette Sting Ray. His appearance coincides with the NCCA's annual "Legends on Display" Corvette event to be held at the Museum with over 100 Corvettes on display.


lane changes

John Moyer is now writing about autos for AAA World Magazine. He replaces Ed Kiggins and can be reached at: . . . Ed Jones has supplanted Benjamin Greene writing about cars for the Dupont Registry. His email is: . . . . Former Road & Track Sr. Feature Editor Doug Kott was able to stay close to home by switching to public relations at Hennessey Performance in Lake Forest, Calif. His email is: . . . . Bloomberg News reports Simon Sproule, director of Communications for the Renault-Nissan Alliance will become vice president of communications and marketing for Tesla in April; is a good place to start for more information. . . . . Sean Homan's role has changed in the recent Source Interlink Media re-org. He's moved from EIC role at Diesel Power and is now the Network Content Director for the Truck Trend Group, overseeing Truck Trend, Diesel Power, Truckin, 8-Lug, Work Truck Review, and RV. His email remains the same: as does his cell number. . . . Freelancer Jeff Zurschmeide is happy to report he now includes reviewing cars for Portland, Oregon's daily newspaper, The Oregonian, among his outlets. His email address remains: . . . Darr Hawthorne no longer is West Coast editor for Dragracing Online Magazine but continues to freelance automotive writing. He can be reached at: . . .  Peter Crespin has taken over from Mike Cook as editor of the Jaguar Journal. His email is: . . . Regina Mitchell has a new email: and a new telephone number:: 704-779-9515. . . . Wooden Horse News reports Motor Trend, Surfer and Shutterbug (among others) have a new owner, sort of. Owner Source Interlink has split itself into two with the magazines going to the Source Interlink Media (SIM) half. The new CEO, Scott Dickey, says he wants to take the brands into "new markets." . . .The Gannett Blog will end. Jim Hopkins, a former Gannett newspapers employee and author of the blog, said this is a good time to end it. "As I wrote in my final post, Gannett has become a very different company from the one I started blogging about in September 2007. It's now focused on TV broadcasting, with newspaper publishing quickly becoming more of a side business," he emailed to "That made this a logical time to move on to something new." . . . If you are having trouble emailing Don Alexander in Big Bear, Calif., try


- 30-

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automotive pr survey


John Rettie wants to thank all of you who have completed the 2014 National (U.S.A.) Automotive PR Survey. There has been a good response so far but the research group would like to have as many journalists as possible complete it, so the deadline has been extended to April 1.

It will take about 20 minutes to complete and it's a good way of providing anonymous feedback, positive or otherwise, about your experiences with the PR offices at all the manufacturers, as well as delivery companies and regional group driving events.

The manufacturers find the survey results are valuable as it helps them provide journalists with a better service.

If you are a journalist who has started the survey but not yet completed it, you can continue from where you left off, provided you use the same computer you began it on.

The survey will also help regional groups, as they will be getting a donation from the survey organizers -- the more members who respond the greater the dollar amount.

U.S. Journalists can access the online survey here:

2014 U.S.automotive pr survey

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Join the International Registry of Automotive Journalists. *

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March 2014
27 SAMA | Luncheon - Miami, FL - GMC
28 SAA Tour of GM's New Innovation Center | Detroit, MI - Members Only
31 - 4/2 WAJ | Media Days - Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA
April 2014
2 WAPA | Luncheon - Nissan Taxi Demo/Drives - Washington, D.C.
3-6 AutoFair | Charlotte Motor Speedway - Charlotte, N.C.
6 MPG | Power Trip: Toyota Automobile Museum - Torrance, CA
6-7 SAE | 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium - Detroit, MI
7 Automotive PACE Awards, Detroit, MI
8-10 SAE World Congress | Detroit, MI
16-17 New York Int'l Auto Show: Media Days, New York, NY
18-27 New York Int'l Auto Show: Public Days | New York, NY
24 SAMA | Luncheon - Miami, FL - Honda
26-27 SO CAL Test Drive Expo | Long Beach, CA
27 Peter Brock | Blackhawk Museum
27-28 TAWA | Auto Roundup - Ft. Worth, TX
May 2014
1-3 Pinehurst Concours | Pinehurst, NC
7 APA | Luncheon - Detroit, MI - Michelin Design Panel
13 MPG | Droptops & Dirt - Malibu, CA
15 APA | Luncheon - Detroit, MI - KIA
20-22 MAMA | Spring Rally - Elkhart Lake, WI


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motoring press organizations

North American regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere. If they are too distant for you to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefi8.

American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.

Logo: AARWBA - Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association

Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director

Automobile Journalists Association of Canada


Automotive Press Association
Detroit, MI

Logo: APA Auto Press Associaion

Mark Phelan, President

American Racing Press Association

Lo Association

Stan Clinton, President


Eastern Motorsports Press Association
Ballston Spa, NY

Logo: EMPA Eastern Motorsports Press Association

Ron Hedger, President


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Atlanta, GA

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Davis Adams, President

International Motor Press Association

Logo: IMPA Int'l Motor Press Association

Dave Kiley, President


Midwest Automotive Media Association
Chicago, IL

Logo: MAMA Midwest Automotive Media Association

Kirk Bell, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

Joni Gray, President

New England Motor Press Association
Boston, MA

NEMPA Logo: New England Motor Press Association

Craig Fitzgerald, President

Northwest Automotive Press Association
Portland, OR

NWAPA Logo: Northwest Automotive Press Association

Nik Miles, President

Phoenix Automotive Press Association
Phoenix, AZ

Logo: PAPA Phoenix Automotive Press Association

Cathy Droz, President

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Denver, CO

Logo: Rocky Mountain Automotive Media Association

Andre Smirnov, President

Southern Automotive Media Association
Miami FL

Log: Southern Automotive Media Association

Bill Adam, President  

Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Charlotte, NC

Logo: Southeast Automotive Media Organization

Texas Auto Writers Association

Michael Marrs

Truck Writers of North America

Logo: Truck Writers of North America

Tom Kelley, Executive Director

Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA

Logo: Western Automotvie Journalists

Brian Douglas

Washington Automotive Press Association
Washington, D.C.


Melanie Batenchuk, President

Publisher's Note

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Our audience is interested in all things related to the automotive industry generally as well as the changing nature of media, communications and journalists.

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