april 2010 newsletter

Problems viewing this newsletter? Click here to read it online

the road ahead

The Road Ahead: Internet Shaping Us - April 2010
Photo by: CLUC

Increasingly, it is the Internet shaping us.

Its ubiquity, interactivity and immediacy means (among other things) communicators cannot bluff, puff or hide as Dave Morgan observes in his Online Spin Columns for Media Post, “Branding In the Age of Authenticity.” He sums this up for brand marketers: “brand slogans in the future will be those uttered by marketers' customers, not those that marketers broadcast at them.” (An increasing concern for Toyota).

In a “Pollyanna-ish” blog for SearchInsider, Kathy Colbin says, “Greed is out; dishonesty will be revealed, and, ironically, the more you prioritize doing the right thing over the bottom line, the more your bottom line will benefit. “This direction is inevitable, thanks to a simple phenomenon: the proliferation of ever-more-powerful search capabilities and the rapid disappearance of whatever semblance of privacy we once had. We are experiencing a top-down, bottom-up convergence of forces that compel us to just be better people.” Really.

A snake in this Garden of Eden is seen by Kurt Cagle in his “The Rise and Fall of Journalism " (Part IV) for TechNewsWorld where he is managing editor. He adds another characteristic of the Internet that he sees shaping journalism: “pertinence.” His line of reasoning is that the Internet is supplanting communities of place with communities of interest whose members are scattered geographically but gathered by “a shared theme, topic or cause.” In this view, “moderators who act primarily to insure that inbound content from contributors do not stray too radically from the role of the interest group” are replacing “editors”. This may be obvious but it is also problematic with the rise of the “Semantic Web.” Semantic tools read through blogs, articles and documents to determine what they are about (apparently without the bother of a human reading them). This may save time but it also may fail to recognize that, “user-generated content does not necessarily just represent true facts, but also contains opinions, distortions, analyses and biased content.” (Again, a growing problem for Toyota).

What do you think? Comments:


Mothers Polishes*Waxes*Cleaners
autowriters spotlight

Paul Eisenstein affirms there's life, challenge and satisfaction in freelance auto writing as he relates the back story of his journey from dispirited radio reporter to partner and busier-than-ever work for hire.

I truly believe that you make your own luck. Much of life is simply beyond your control, so it’s important to know when to go with the flow and when to try swimming upstream. It was an unlikely string of events that landed me in Detroit, perhaps the last place this New York boy ever expected to settle down, but once I got here – for what I truly believed would be no more than a couple year detour – I found there were plenty of opportunities to be made out of even the worst circumstances. Autowriters Spotlight: Paul Eisenstein

Paul Eisenstein

The job I’d come to Detroit for, working at a local radio station, didn’t work out as planned. The news director was of the old blood-and-guts school and, to be honest, I just couldn’t deliver the sort of stories he wanted: “High speeds, rain-slicked highways, and death…” began one of his favorites, and, “Little Tommy Tucker sang for his supper, but there’d be no supper tonight, his mother was dead.” Ouch. I would have quit, but he offered a nice severance, enough, I thought, to get me back to New York. Then the calls started coming in.

It was both the best of times and the worst of times. The latter for the auto industry, anyway, as the second oil shock sent the car market into what was quickly to become its worst downturn since the Great Depression. Plants were closing, almost by the day, jobs were being cut by the hundreds of thousands, and even the 10-day automotive sales reports were suddenly making headlines. I’d been fortunate enough to make some good friends among the local media and when they couldn’t handle the flood of freelance assignments suddenly coming in, many would refer them to me.

In October 1979, National Public Radio put me on contract, and within months, what with Chrysler desperately seeking a federal bailout, I was logging more hours of airtime than any but a handful of the network’s Washington correspondents. Meanwhile, I began freelancing for a wide variety of other outlets: radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, newsletter. Heck, I’d have written copy on the men’s room wall, had the pay been good.

Five years later, I severed my contract with NPR, rather than going staff and leaving Detroit. I had come to enjoy the beat far too much, especially as it gave me the opportunity, as a full-time freelancer, to call my own shots. One thing I quickly realized was the increasing globalization of the auto industry – which meant that a reporter who could put the stories together from places as far flung as Berlin and Beijing would stay in demand.

A good friend and an early mentor hammered into my head that no matter how good, a reporter was always at someone else’s beck-and-call unless they also owned the means of distribution – which led me, in the early ‘90s, to explore new avenues of production in the emerging online world. In 1996, I created The Car Connection, one of the Internet’s first serious automotive news sites. I’m proud of the work I achieved with this “e-zine,” but realizing it needed more resources than I could provide to keep growing, I chose to sell it, in late 2007, and move on.

Or so I thought. There really is something addictive to having your own outlet; one of the reasons I launched a new magazine,, in early 2009. Now, with partners like Ken Zino and Joe Szczesny, we’re out to prove that solid journalism remains a cherished institution online. Not to diminish many of our colleagues and competitors, but far too much of the Internet has become dominated by sensationalism, with “me” bloggers knowing or caring little about the who-what-when-where-how-or-why, never mind accuracy and integrity. All of us who value good journalism need take a stand for what we believe in.

While I’m putting more time and effort into than ever before, I still freelance extensively, for outlets ranging from The Economist to I am a contributor for a range of clients as far-flung as Cigar Aficionado to AAA and AARP, as well as international outlets like AutoCar and Auto Motor und Sport. And I’ve continued my relationship with public radio, on outlets like Morning Edition and the new show, The Takeaway.

If there’s one other thing I’ve learned, during my more than 30 years in the Motor City, it’s the likelihood that if you hang around the auto industry long enough you’ll experience what Yogi Berra once described as “déjà vu all over again.” That’s certainly been the case these last 18 months, with not only Chrysler but General Motors surviving only with the government’s assistance.

Once again, the news generated a flood of headlines – and plenty of assignments. Add the crisis at Toyota and I’ve been happily hammering away at the keyboard as much as at any time since I arrived in Detroit with a beat-up old Plymouth, an out-of-date suit and a sticky typewriter. I couldn’t be happier, especially when a new client with a new assignment dials my number or, these days, drops an unexpected e-mail into my box.



the tom-tom

Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit their own Clog (Online Column).  Your reward: a byline and an audience of your peers.  All submissions are acknowledged, queued and used at the editor’s discretion. 

Jack Baruth says he is the only person in American history to hold both a professional BMX racing license and a professional auto racing license. This, combined with five dollars, he notes, will get you a "venti" at Starbucks. He has been writing for publication since 1991 and wrote the unpopular "One Racer's Perspective" and "BMX Basics" columns for Bicycles Today magazine. In the past several years, Jack has won a few races, lost many more, and received multiple disciplinary actions for contact and rough driving. He races in NASA Performance Touring, the Koni Challenge and the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Series. You can find him at,, and in Malaysia's "Wheels Weekly" tabloid.

Automotive Journalism’s Credibility Gap

“If Woodward and Bernstein had been automotive journalists, the Watergate story would have been a five-star review of Richard Nixon’s personal tape recorder.” I’m putting that in quotes, even though I just wrote it, because I think it’s quotable. Tom-Tom: Jack Baruth

Jack Baruth

Here’s another quotable idea, courtesy of a young autoblogger whom I occasionally read: Manufacturers should stop paying for auto journalists to enjoy unbelievably sybaritic new-vehicle launches, $80,000 free loaner cars disguised as “long-term testers”, and all of the other little bennies of the biz. Instead, the money should be spent reaching out to, and connecting with, the actual customers for their products. In short, auto journalism as we know it needs to die. The denim-jacket fatties and bald old buzzards who shuffle-steer their incompetent way through a driving event, hold down barstools for the evening, and then rewrite the press release during the flight home — well, they should be taken out back and shot.

The color rags should wither and fall from the shelves like autumn leaves, with only the lace-like rotted pages of a MacNeil Products special-advertising section remaining. The functional illiterates who take a free plane ticket to an auto show, have their hands held by PR reps through a scripted sequence of roundtables, and then breathlessly blog about the “awesomeness” of cars they’ve never driven — they will become as difficult to find as their talent was. All change, as they say. Everybody goes home.

It’s interesting to note that special-interest car rags have been around nearly as long as the automobile itself. Autocar was founded in 1895, and the inimitable LJK Setright tells us that it was originally a bit of a shill rag, featuring far-from-impartial opinions to benefit its owner, who also held part of Daimler. The idea of the self-published auto magazine is still with us — nearly every major carmaker publishes an utterly worthless color rag on a quarterly-ish basis, complete with moronic reviews of luxury hotels, expensive watches, and second-tier men’s fashion — but I find it hilarious that the most dignified name in the print trade was corrupt from Day One.

As we’ve all heard, the automobile is the second-most expensive purchase we will make in our lives, unless we buy a used Porsche 928, in which it will be the most expensive purchase we will ever make. It’s no surprise, then, that buyers have been looking for advice since the nineteenth century. In some cases, such as when Patrick Bedard left an engineering career to work for C/D, or when Consumer Reports decided to pay its own money for cars to test (mostly) impartially, the buyer has been well-served by listening to that “expert advice”.

Other examples of automotive “expertise” are closer to being laughable than reputable. Consider the “Wheels” section in nearly every major newspaper. The “Wheels” writers are as numerous as Biblical locusts at the new-car launches, and they descend on the buffet table with the same legendary ferocity, but in most cases they are completely unqualified to review automobiles. They aren’t engineers, race car drivers, or even hopelessly passionate enthusiasts. They’re just the guys who sucked too hard to be permitted to write about something critical, like municipal levies, local flower shows, or country-club golf tournaments.

This is the problem in a nutshell. Real journalists go out and find their stories at their own expense, or their employers’ expense. Automotive journalists are effectively compensated by the manufacturers on which they report. And if an autojourno decides to take a “principled” approach, refusing to participate in press launches or take loaner cars… that writer will be effectively six months behind the competition.

One solution: stop inviting journalists to events. Rather, manufacturers should invite existing customers to attend preview events, and manufacturer-sponsored discussion forums should eventually replace general-interest automotive news sources as the place for consumers to get their information. This doesn’t sound like a very impartial way for consumers to receive new-car information, but trust me: putting a fifty-year-old man who normally drives a used Corolla behind the wheel of a Corvette ZR1 and letting him putter around a racetrack, thirty seconds a lap off the pace, isn’t exactly delivering absolute truth either. Customers, on the other hand, tend to be reliable sources of purchase information. They’ve actually purchased the product in the past. They have credibility.

Automotive journalism has survived due to arbitrage of information. As discussed above, we see the product well before the public does, and are granted no-cost access to it through loaners and long-term fleet cars. We have the information and you don’t. If the manufacturers took that “gap” in time and access away, the “experts” would simply vanish.

This is my vision of the future: Joe Customer wakes up on a sunny Sunday. His tablet/smart paper/superphone says to him, “Good morning Joe. You’ve been happy with your Nissan 160Z and you’ve been an active Official Z Forum participant. The new Nissan 180Z is coming to a release event in our town this week. Would you like to chat with an expert system about the car’s features, schedule your own exposure event, or have a complete simulation of the car loaded into your PS6 for a few laps of the old Fuji circuit?” In a world like that, nobody’s reading a color mag. The guy from that mag won’t see the car before you do, and you wouldn’t trust him anyway. You might trust nissanZfan1983, a guy you know on the forums who races Z-cars. Maybe he’ll meet you at the event, or you will chat about it over Skype, or you’ll race each other in a simulator. In any event, you’ll make up your own mind.

That’s the future, and it’s outstanding. But the road to that future is going to be bumpy. The first manufacturer to turn away from the free-ride merry-go-round is going to take a pasting. They won’t be discussed favorably in print or in major blogs. Rumors will fly. Mean things will be said. Snide comments will be made. It will be widely supposed that they have turned away from conventional press PR because their product is antiquated, or second-rate, or simply not good enough for the (*snicker*) “glaring spotlight of journalism”.

In fact, any carmaker who wants to know what it’s like to focus on real customers instead of the press can talk to Tony Crook. Mr. Crook is a former Grand Prix driver who ran Bristol Cars for decades. Bristol doesn’t bother with press drives. There are no press loaners. There are no press events. The auto media is not welcome to tour the factory. Bristol prefers to work directly with their existing customers and find out what they want in a car. Their business grows, such as it does, by word of mouth and exposure to the product in the hands of owners. Go read a Bristol non-review in an English magazine to get a sense of what will be said about any manufacturer who hops off the freebie train. It’s rarely complimentary.

Still, Bristol is alive and Pontiac is dead. There’s a lesson here, if we could only figure it out.


 Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are volunteered and express the opinions of the writer.


road signs

Google CEO Eric Schmidt may have sounded self-serving in his prediction that it will be “mobile first” as quoted in last month’s Autowriters.Com Newsletter. However, when Morgan Stanley managing director and “Queen of the Net”, Mary Meeker says so in her latest very detailed: “State of The Internet” report, it is hard to ignore. As quoted by Mathew Ingram at GigaOM, Meeker predicts “within five years more users will connect with the Internet over mobile devices than through desktop PCs.” She, of course, relates this to prospects for communications hardware companies and the commercial search and social potentials for the web.

Driving this trend in the U.S. (and no doubt Japan and elsewhere) and of particular important to providers of content for the web are media users between the ages of 8 to 18. A study of kids’ use of media (referred to us by reader Doug Stokes) shows their average time spent in reading a newspaper has dropped in five years from 6 minutes to 3 minutes per day! During the same time span, the study sponsored by The Kaiser Family Foundation found that mobile devices are expanding the number of hours youths can consume media, even while on the go. As it prepares to enter and influence the world’s use of media, this age group has increased its daily media use by one hour and seventeen minutes to 7:28 hours per day. By multitasking they boost that daily average to 10:45 hours– seven days a week.

In the process, Mike Doherty notes in Media Post, the new generation of web users “process data five times faster than most of us and use a language of abbreviations, fragments and images to click on rather than text. And, they are always on.” In The Danger of Always Being On, New York Times Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, cites the risks of “a print culture built on careful reporting, layers of editing and time for reflection as it moves onto platforms where speed is everything and attitude sometimes trumps values like accuracy and restraint.”  Ironically, on the same page as Hoyt’s piece, columnist Frank Rich decries the near universal acceptance of the “mistakes were made mantra” in lieu of assigning or accepting responsibility. When we accept errors without consequences in national affairs how accountable can writers be for spelling, grammar and often, facts, when trying to stay up to speed in feeding and using the Internet? Like a driver entering a crowded, really crowded freeway, where observing the speed limits may get him rear ended.



from the grandstand

Freelance writer Carl Goodwin makes a convincing case when pegging this book as “a notch above . . . in price, content and quality.”

Everyone should buy this book – the one titled Phil Hill…A Driving Life. It covers virtually every important racing marque. Cooper. Porsche. Ferrari. Jaguar. Lotus. Alfa. Etc. It’s written by the late champion Phil Hill. Photography is, for the most part, by John Lamm. Terrific writing and terrific photography.Book Review: Phil Hill A Driving Life

It’s chronological, starting with the 1903 Benz and Hill’s cross-country 1915 Packard. These may be an acquired taste for some enthusiasts but they are where your Maserati came from. Where else will you learn that the largest displacement engine made by Packard was not a V12 but a giant inline 525 CID six.

Then we leap from MG #1 and Bugatti T51 into the era of the pre-war Grand Prix cars, Mercedes and Auto Union. Hill corrects misconceptions about these cars. It is the rear-engined “Audi” that is easy to drive and the conventional ‘Benz that is difficult. Why? It’s all explained.

With that big 11” x 13” format and glorious color photography, you might mistake it for a coffee table book, the kind in which strong graphics compensate for shallow content. But you’d be wrong, because it’s chock full of little-known interesting facts – Stirling Moss’s father raced in the Indianapolis 500… the reality of team orders at Ferrari…and advice not to adjust your Bugatti’s magneto in the rain (or a shocking development may ensue).

You’ll read profiles of figures in the sport – Moss, Fangio, Gurney, Andretti, Brabham, Ginther, Rodriguez, Paul Frere, Gendebien, Hawthorn, Collins, Behra, Ascari, Portago and more. Then there are glimpses of the great racing circuits: Donington, the Nurburgring, Indianapolis, Pebble Beach, Laguna Seca, Willow Springs, Reims and Spa, as well as the Alfa and Ferrari test tracks.

And how about the vaunted Mercedes 300SLR, the classic Maserati 250F, the all-American Scarab, side-by-side comparisons of Cooper and Lotus F1 cars, or Porsche RS60 versus the front-engined Ferrari Dino sports racer; Ford GT40, Chaparral 2E and 2F.

But wait, we’re missing the obligatory criticism of the book. With apologies, it must be said that the worst that can be found is a little repetition between two chapters about the Chaparral cars, on the subject of the mysterious automatic transmission.

Speaking of that, the technically-minded will not be disappointed, as we learn that the 250F went from a live axle at the beginning of its evolution to a state-of-the-art De Dion type...or about Colin Chapman’s defiance of the laws of physics with the Lotus 18 rear suspension…and how a Dino is made from half of a Ferrari V12.

Among scores of terrific photographs are these gems: the Le Mans winning Ford GT40 Mk IV in front of a huge American flag, and Dan Gurney with friend Phil Hill at his last Pebble Beach Concours.

In all of this, Hill revealed himself as more than a fine writer but a great thinker as his insights on the racing scene rolled out on the page. You will like his writing style – no clichés, just really good stuff about your favorite sport. If you’re looking for the inside story on racing in the golden age, look no further.

The book is published by David Bull, distributed in major book chains and priced at $75 a copy, a notch above the $49 books in price, content and quality.



pit notes

BMW's “Historic Workshop in Germany, once reserved for company-owned vehicles now takes in customer cars. Two other similar company-run Classic Car centers have been opened in Europe and a Classic Center will be opened in the U.S. States as soon as a suitable partner can be found,” according to Ralf Vierlein, head of sales and aftersales for BMW Group. He said, "We have the theoretical knowledge of the vehicles, the technical know-how, the original BMW parts and the necessary infrastructure to connect everything up systematically.”

Tom Kelley recommends because it is all about Barn finds, rally cars, and needles in the haystack, thereby saving collectors and cherry-pickers a lot of time otherwise spent in searching through catalogs and the Internet. . . . Jeff Mohr advises that removing the ball hitch on your vehicle can reduce the chance of whiplash by 22 per cent. He can be reached at: Another site that might be helpful is It endeavors to answer the arcane as well as the mundane auto questions.

Car Art, Inc. is now partnering with the Vintage Racing League -- the world's leading community for people that love racing and cars. . . . Gale Banks Engineering is pleading with the State of California to get its California Air Resources Board off the dime and issue new diesel smog test standards. He and other diesel product manufacturers have been in limbo for eight years, unable to have their products tested and certified because no new tests have been developed.

At the risk of setting a precedent we can’t always honor down the road, AWCom passes along Dan Kahn’s enthusiasm that his has been hired for PR services by HRE Wheels. . . . Having written and read news releases for more than 30 years, John Dinkel found it difficult to write one that didn’t seem like the real thing. So his spoof announcement of his appointment to a non-existent NHTSA post brought consternation as well as congratulations among its recipients – and required a follow-up acknowledging it had been an April 1 prank. . . . The new regional auto writers group in Georgia, GAAMA, manifested itself at this year’s Atlanta Auto Show by selecting Jaguar XJL as the runaway winner of the GAAMA Peach Award. GAMMA vice president Ryan Rees also passed along monthly meeting topics for May and June (see Calendar). . . . And last, Michael Lamm passes along this link if you want to “turn your Kia into a car”.



lane changes

Jeff Sabatini is now Managing Editor at AOL Autos. The former car reviewer for The Wall Street Journal will be working primarily out of his Ann Arbor home and can be reached at . . . Kevin Smith is parting ways with He can be contacted at and promises to keep AWCom posted on his next venture. . . . Also available is 19-year Detroit area newsman Bryan Laviolette. The former Oakland Press auto writer is well connected with the regions’ media fleet managers and can be reached at:

Dicken Wear’s new title is: Chief of Technical & Safety Inspections at American Sports Racing Assn., & GT Cars. . . . Chris Hosford has advanced at Hyundai Motor America to executive director, corporate communications. . . . Joe McCardle’s email address at Super Estralla radio in Chicago is:  . . . Replacing the retired Bob Hill at the Oregonian is Kendra Hogue who edits the weekly “Autos” section. She can be reached at: . . Mary Watson no longer edits Auto Services Operator Magazine. She is freelancing and can be reached at:

Randi Payton has definitely decided and designated with the launch of a new web site, that Decisive will umbrella his many initiatives in multi-cultural communications. The plan is to extend the cultural awareness and appeal of his OnWheels franchise to other consumer markets. . . . Not exactly a Lane Change, more like new heights: William Jeanes has been elected to the board of the Eudora Welty Foundation and last year became a Life Trustee at Millsaps College, his alma mater. He continues as chief judge at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and as an editor-at-large for AOL Autos. Jeanes and his wife Susan live in Ridgeland, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson, where, he reports, life is remarkably good.



across the finish line

Duncan Haimerl - The veteran, cheerful scribe who loved writing about cars died unexpectedly from a heart attack while recuperating from cancer surgery.

Lenora Carter – Long time TAWA supporter, publisher of the Houston Forward Times newspaper since the 70’s and before that the paper’s managing editor and advertising manager.

Mary Parks – 93-year-old widow of NHRA founder Wally Parks



- 30-


Glenn F. Campbell

table of contents



subscription info

Did someone forward you a copy of our newsletter? Sign up for your own subscription here. If you want to stop receiving this newsletter, please send an e-mail to

We welcome, appreciate and encourage, forwarding of our newsletter, in entirety or in part, with proper credit.



8- Petersen Automotive Museum Annual Cars and Stars gala, Los Angeles, CA
Heroes of Drag Racing, NHRA 60th Anniversary

30 – 11th Annual Princess Rally, Paris, France to Monaco, one-of-a-kind, feminine style motor sport event which combines anti-gloom and anti-stress


4 Conclusion of Princess Rally, a real road rally, with a feminine twist and a glorious collection of legendary rides.


April 2010
19 APA Luncheon, Detroit A.C., Audi
21 WAJ Luncheon, Nat'l Press Club, AIAM
29 SAMA Luncheon, Rusty Pelican, Miami, Nissan
13 MAMA Luncheon, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, Kia
May 2010
2-4 TAWA Spring Challenge, Fort Worth, TX
4 MAMA Luncheon, Oak Brook, IL, Bloomington Gold
11 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
11 PAPA Future of Journalism Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
13 APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, Automotive Design Panel
18 WAJ, Future Cars, Future Transportation Event
19 GAAMA Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, Nissan
25-27 MAMA Spring Collection, Elkhat Lake, WI
27 Automotive News Marketing Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
June 2010
8 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
16 Automotive News Green car Conference, Novi, MI
16 GAMMA, Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, GM
17 APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, J.D. Power & Associates
24 MAMA Luncheon, Oak Brook Terraces, IL, General Motors
July 2010
13 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
21-22 NEMPA, Boston, MA, Ragtop Ramble
August 2010
2-5 CAR Management Briefing Seminars, Traverse City, MI
September 2010
25 Ironstone Foundation's Concours D'Elegance, Murphys, CA, more info:


motoring press organizations

The 15 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 benefits.


Automotive Press Association, Detroit - Joann Muller, President,


International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -,


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association


Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -


Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -


New England Motor Press Association, Boston -


Northwest Automotive Press Association, Bellevue, WA-


Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President-


Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -


Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Paul Borden, President,


Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC


Texas Auto Writers Association, Mike Herzing,


Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,


Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco -, Ron Harrison


Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Rick Trawick, President


Show your newsletter appreciation and buy a round!

click on the beer


Re: “Road Ahead Noisy and Congested

Hello: It really seems like nowadays everybody's connected to somebody, but not to anyone within the same room. I recently visited a neighbor of mine. He was on his cellphone with who knows who. His girlfriend was on the PC. A young lady visiting them was sending someone a text message. At least the cat strolled over and appreciated me being there.


Glenn didn't print my most extreme comments, though they're in the comments section following the month-ago Terry Parkhurst Tom-Tom for anyone to read if they wish, but what particularly peeves me is that except for the really literate bloggers at sites such as Salon, the Daily Beast, The Atlantic and some others, most Internet posters are simply typists. Their first draft is their last. What comes off their fingers, typos and all, is what you get, and that's certainly true of automotive bloggers. The race to get something--anything--posted totally defeats creativity and literacy. I'm a print writer, and I don't do anything on line other than the posts I used to do (for free, incidentally) when Robert Farago was still at The Truth About Cars, but even those took me two or three days each. Write, let it settle, go back and take another look, cut the stupidities, correct the typos and misspellings, do a new lead, take yet another look at it...and maybe then click on send. And believe it or not, I do the same for e-mails. Not two or three days worth of work, of course, but I'll fully proofread each one I send. I have at least that much pride in what I write.


Dear Glenn:
Enjoyed the newsletter as always...and the ongoing chat about the effect of the Internet on Man in the Moon Marigolds and auto writers manages to be simultaneously frightening and fascinating. I thought Stephan Wilkinson's observations were spot on.

PS: No email is complete without a picked nit: it's Road & Track, not Road And Track.

The Internet world could use proofreaders who operate at the speed of light. But I think proofreaders are an endangered species. And the old rule "Good writing is rewriting" is right up there with "Children should be seen and not heard."

Hi Glenn,

I've actually talked to Amit in the past and he's a decent guy, but what he's saying here is: Why not outsource your autowriting to India?


- Dave,

Re: Dave Sedgwick

Nice recounting of a full -- and continuing -- career. Inspiring with a dose of reality!


Great story, Dave. And well said. As with all professions, we must learn to re-invent ourselves. Who wanted to hear that years ago? But it's as true now as it was then. We all need to keep redefining, upgrading our skills; learn new things and be ready for whatever comes, like change.


talk to us

We’re always looking for better ways to put out a newsletter people want to read and advertisers want to use - -  so talk to us! What do you like or dislike about this newsletter?  What topics or information would you like to see covered?  Have a question you'd like posed to the readership?  How can we make this newsletter more useful to you? Talk to us!
Send your rants, raves, questions and suggestions to:

automotive journalists

Help us make sure you continue to get
the information you want
the way you want it
Keep your profile current. Fill out the form online.
 Thank you!

services & rate card

PR, Marketing and Media Relations Pros, can work
 with you to get the right info
to the right people who write
 about cars!
Contact us for your next release.
or phone 435.656.1040.

Our Ad Rate Card is available online at
or by request.

table of contents



Glenn Campbell, Publisher       Lysa McCarroll, Managing Editor

home services newsletter blog autowriters sign-up contact us

Copyright © 2010 All Worldwide Rights Reserved.