the road ahead
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:
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
www.DetroitBureau.com 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.
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
While I’m putting more time and effort into TheDetroitBureau.com than ever
before, I still freelance extensively, for outlets ranging from The Economist
to MSNBC.com. 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
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.
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 speedsportlife.com,
leftlanenews.com 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
BMW's “Historic Workshop in Germany, once reserved for company-owned
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.”
Kelley recommends WWW.Bringatrailer.com 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:
email@example.com. Another site
that might be helpful is
www.RealWorldAutomotive.com. It endeavors to
answer the arcane as well as the mundane auto questions.
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
www.KahnMedia.com 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”.
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
Jeff.Sabatini@corp.aol.com. . . .
Kevin Smith is parting ways with
www.Edmunds.com. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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:
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
across the finish line |
Duncan Haimerl - The veteran, cheerful scribe who loved writing about
cars died unexpectedly from a heart attack while recuperating from
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
Glenn F. Campbell
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8- Petersen Automotive Museum Annual Cars and Stars gala, Los Angeles,
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
4 Conclusion of Princess Rally, a real road rally, with a feminine twist
and a glorious collection of legendary rides.
APA Luncheon, Detroit A.C., Audi
WAJ Luncheon, Nat'l Press Club, AIAM
SAMA Luncheon, Rusty Pelican, Miami, Nissan
MAMA Luncheon, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, Kia
TAWA Spring Challenge, Fort Worth, TX
MAMA Luncheon, Oak Brook, IL, Bloomington Gold
MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
PAPA Future of Journalism Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, Automotive Design Panel
WAJ, Future Cars, Future Transportation Event
GAAMA Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, Nissan
MAMA Spring Collection, Elkhat Lake, WI
Automotive News Marketing Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
Automotive News Green car Conference, Novi, MI
GAMMA, Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, GM
APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, J.D. Power & Associates
MAMA Luncheon, Oak Brook Terraces, IL, General Motors
MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
NEMPA, Boston, MA, Ragtop Ramble
CAR Management Briefing Seminars, Traverse City, MI
Ironstone Foundation's Concours D'Elegance, Murphys, CA,
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 -
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,
Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
Texas Auto Writers Association
http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, Mike Herzing,
of North America, www.twna.org Tom Kelley, Executive Director,
Western Automotive Journalists,
San Francisco - www.waj.org, Ron Harrison
Automotive Press Association, D.C., Rick Trawick, President www.washautopress.org
Show your newsletter appreciation and buy autowriters.com a round!
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
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
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
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
of work, of course, but I'll fully proofread each one I send. I have
that much pride in what I write.
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."
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
- Dave, email@example.com
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.
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