THE ROAD AHEAD
Newspaper circulation dropped 1.2 million subscribers nationally in the past six months. Magazine revenues will be less than the Internet’s by the end of the year. Online advertising increased to $12.5 billion in 2005, 30% more than 2004. Quoted in Advertising Age, Greg Stuart, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau is positive about future growth. "We are confident that this growth trend will continue as more marketers find interactive to be an imperative and additional platforms including broadband video, gaming, iPTV and others continue to emerge as real opportunities." It is not all bad news for the print industry, however. . . . “It’s not as if publishers have been turnips, unaware that the world has embraced the Web,” Hearst, Executive VP-General Manager John Loughlin told Age Age. His company has formed a new digital media unit to extend its titles in digital space. Road & Track and Car And Driver publisher, Hachette Fillipacchi, is seriously looking into cell phones as a means of growing revenues as well as strengthening awareness/loyalty for some of its titles. Newspapers are increasing their online revenue streams with digital editions and web sites. John Blossom, writing for Shorelines Communications, Inc. ( www.shore.com ) provides these happy thoughts: “While many worry that this drift of revenues away from traditional news organizations is worrisome for the future of journalism, in the long run it is likely to mean that we'll have media organizations that are able to monetize news far more effectively through a broader variety of multi-faceted content outlets. It promises to be a rocky road for news organizations for a couple of years yet, but at the end of that road could be a new "golden age" that will bring new life to quality news production efforts.” Another aspect of multiple platforms for delivering content is instead of media dictating content, content will seek its optimum media. And that should mean that content creators will be more highly appreciated. ($ $ $). Further evidence of this are comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as quoted by Meg Weaver, publisher of Wooden Horse News: “So far, the technology industry hasn't made a digital screen that is as good as paper.”. . . But he assures, "Change will come." Ballmer reports “Microsoft can't get enough quality online content to fill demand. We are sold out for inventory." Weaver adds this caution to writers sharpening their pencils, “Just keep one thing in mind: It doesn't cost much to put up a snazzy-looking website, so be sure to check out the owners to make sure you get paid.”
Brock Yates fans will be glad to know that his “early retirement” from Car And Driver does not mean he has forsaken auto journalism. Randy Riggs, editor of Vintage Motorsport, is proud to announce that Yates will be a featured columnist starting with the magazine’s July/August issue. Riggs says Yates will have “carte blanche in his column as it relates to motorsport history—the personalities—drivers, mechanics, team owners etc., as well as the races, tracks and cars of the past.” Yates joins VM columnists Brian Redman, Tony Dron and Art Eastman. And, this does not preclude Yates' motorsports television work, other works of his prolific pen (film scripts, books and magazine articles) and his current Cannonball Challenger development project with the highly regarded Chris Theodore, former Ford and Daimler-Chrysler Design VP. Along with Barry Brown of Riter Vintage Car Care, they plan a series of Cannonball Challengers weighing less than 3,000 pounds and offering a selection of “mild to wild” powerplants (including a 550-hp, 6.1-liter Roots-supercharged Hemi V-8). . . . Tech guru Larry Carley, reports his website http://www.aa1car.com has expanded its coverage to include even more technical information for motorists and technicians. . . . Another tech tiger, “Sleepy Gomez” plans to have www.OvalTrackDigest.Com up and running in June. It will be a subscription online magazine with original informational and how-to articles (“no forums or chat rooms, just good solid technical information to help the racer.”) The first issue is free at the web site. . . . . The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has added team owner Joe Nava to its Board of Directors, president Tim Meyer announced. The Hall was founded in 2002 and held its first induction ceremony in 2003. The next ceremony will be July 21 in Monrovia, CA. . . . Sue Elliott-Sink will edit the new California Driver Magazine. A stable mate of Texas Driver, the upscale lifestyle magazine is slated to be out of the gate at Pebble Beach in August. Eliott-Sink, who adds the new title to her many other outlets, says “each issue will include road tests, road trips and destination travel info, lifestyle content (everything from high-end watches to scotch), profiles of California car collectors, features on vintage vehicles and more.”. . . Mark Elias was one of those marooned by AMI’s sudden sinking of Autoworld (followed by the recent demise of its replacement, MPH) He reports that he is now automotive editor for Boca Raton Magazine, right around the corner from his old AMI digs. He also contributes to the Miami Herald and Impulso Magazine and snaps photos for Bloomberg News Wire. . . . Jan Wagner has created an AutoMatters web site: http://www.AutoMatters.net (not .com) for his AutoMatters Newsletter. A recent column and brilliant photos featured the Audi 2007 Q7. . . . . A Mother’s Day Note: Kristin Varela advises she is the “Chief Executive Mother” of Mother Proof, LLC. She says, “We feature practical and entertaining car reviews based upon what matters to the average American consumer (women/mothers). The reviews are seen regularly in 15 to 20 family magazines and frequently featured nationally in print and on television. Check www.MotherProof.com for more information.
At what age does a race car driver become a “Geezer”? Does a bowler ever become one? Geezerjock editor Sean Callahan has the answers. The magazine profiles older athletes still performing well and shares their training regimes, tips on gear, diets and more. Callahan can be reached at: email@example.com.
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After a considerably longer than anticipated hiatus, Jim Flammang has returned his Tirekicking Today to the web: www.tirekick.com. Flammang has been writing about cars for three decades. For five years, from 2001-05, he wrote the full vehicle buying guide for www.cars.com, along with feature stories. Working as an independent journalist, he contributes vehicle reviews and features to Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com), www.autoMedia.com, the Northwest Herald (IL) newspaper, and other publications. He has penned more than 20 books on automotive history, and is a long-time contributor to online and print publications issued by Consumer Guide. A past president of MAMA, he is a member of IMPA, APA and the and Society of Automotive Analysts. In its current form, Tirekicking Today reports on drives of the latest models, selected new-car test drives, feature articles of interest to consumers, plus industry news and consumer Information. He says, “We will also be providing plenty of editorial commentary on a variety of auto-related issues, all viewed from a distinctly oblique perspective. All is available for publication individually or as a syndicated feature. Contact him at JF@tirekick.com.
Dave Zats suggests young writers wanting to break into the auto journalism field may be interested in opportunities at www.allpar.com and www.toyoland.com. Allpar currently gets over 700,000 visitors per month. They pay for articles on Chrysler, Dodge, and Toyota at $20-$60 per for nonexclusive Web publishing rights. “It's a nice opportunity also for veterans to find a new home for, say, that Corona or Volare article they wrote back in the 1970s, Zats says. They’re trying to build up a comprehensive knowledge base. Young writers can get valuable publication credits. They are open to pretty much any Chrysler Group or Toyota topics. . . . Hawaii correspondent Bill Maloney, producer/host of Ohana Road TV reports that Red Bull has launched a new auto/racing writers program spearheaded by legendary Chris Economaki. More information available from Maxim PR in NYC.
Manufacturers from the U.S., England, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Sweden provided a total of 110 vehicles for the 63 journalists and twelve guests attending the Western Auto Journalists (WAJ) media days. The March 23 & 24 event was a driving and dining feast. Most drivers had three hours of test driving per car over the two days that included time on the Hollister Hills off-road course, scenic on-road tours and Jon Rosner writes, “thrills beyond the pale of typical highway driving,” on the safe environment of Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Lotus test driver Matt Becker provided trips around the track in an Elise while GM, Nissan, Honda offered fuel cell vehicles for a drive around the perimeter roads. Rivaling the driving were menus that included steak, tri-tip, salmon chicken and, in the evening, wines from California vineyards.. . . Bridgestone Firestone has launched a $20,000 promotion for teens around the country who can log on to www.SafetyScholars.com and submit essays on various driver safety issues. Winning essays can earn $2,500 college scholarships, new laptops, sets of tires and $500 gas cards. . . . The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA)’s Spring Challenge held in Austin attracted 40-plus writers and 50 cars April 28 and 29. When the broncos were broken and the rattlers skinned, Jaquar XX was named best designed, the Volvo C70 coupe convertible the most innovative and the Lexus GS 450 the best use of technology. However, the writer’s choice award for the car with most “emotional impact” (price, performance, presence or whatever does it for the writer) went to the Corvette ZO6O. Renowned Texas auto illustrator Bill Neale has been commissioned to do a commemorative print of the Corvette. . . . Ezra Dyer is the new president of the New England Motor Press Association, (NEMPA). . . . Legacy Motors Automotive Art Gallery is soliciting photos of automotive art owners posed with or near one of their favorites. Some of the photos submitted will be included in a touring presentation by Legacy and their owners will be given a certificate for $100 off any single purchase at the Gallery. Contact: Michael Knab at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Plungis, now with Bloomberg, shared first place in the Detroit Press Club’s Wheel Awards in the Newspaper/Subject Related Series with Nick Bunkley for their Detroit News series “Aging America: Danger on the Highway.” . . . The Truck Writers of North America (TWNA) honored Paul N. Abelson with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Abelson is only the third person to receive the award in the organization's eighteen year history. For Abelson's biography, complete details on the award, and publication quality images, please visit http://www.twna.org/lifetime-award.htm on the web.
The second annual Chi-Town STA-BIL Kruze takes place Saturday, June 3, 2006 in Chicago. Car collectors are encouraged to sign up to participate in the event whereas car enthusiasts are urged to save the date to attend along with the entire family. The event includes a classic car cruise on Lake Shore Drive and a rally/show in Soldier Field. For more information contact Colleen Ryan at: email@example.com . . . In 1919 then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower led the first Transcontinental Motor Train from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, Calif. That newsmaking journey helped Harvey Firestone validate his pneumatic tires and helped pave the way (groan) for then President Eisenhower to sign the bill creating an Interstate Highway System in 1956, something Harvey advocated. To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of that signing, Bridgestone Firestone will support the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) re-enactment of that flak-labeled “greatest road trip in American history." A convoy will leave San Francisco June 15 and with stops along the way is slated to reach D.C. June 29th. No word if the reverse journey is intended to help roll back gas prices. . . Another attempt to return the land speed record to the U.S. This time with a modified F-104 Starfighter jet body that's been configured for running on land. The project has been building for nine years. No date for the attempt has been set but money-raising is underway. More information is available at http://www.landspeed.com, or as usual, the desert diarist, “LandSpeed” Louise Noeth at Bonneville@adelphia.net. . . . Ward's Automotive Interiors Show will be held in Detroit, June 7th and 8th.
Motoring Press Organizations
The 13 regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere. If they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefits.Calendar
16 - APA, Kelley Blue Book Luncheon, Detroit, MI
17- NEMPA, GMC, Larz Anderson Museum, Brookline, MA.
17 - WAPA, Mark LaNeve,GM V-P, NA Sales, Service Marketing
18 - IMPA, Jim McDowell,V-P MINI USA, The 3 West 51st Club, NYC
1 - APA/Harbour, Report Breakfast, Detroit, MI
6 - MPG/Nissan, Luncheon, Los Angeles, CA
19 - MAMA, GM Luncheon, Oakbrook, Terrace
19 - NWAPA’s, Summer Run To The Sun, Seattle
- Automotive Press Association (APA), Detroit - Jeff Gilbert president firstname.lastname@example.org
- International Motor Press Association (IMPA), NYC - email@example.com www.impa.org
- Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), Chicago - www.mamaonline.org
- Motor Press Guild (MPG), Los Angeles - www.motorpressguild.org
- New England Motor Press Association, (NEMPA), Boston - www.nempa.org
- Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA), Port Orchard, WA- www.nwapa.org
- Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA), Phoenix- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), Denver - email@example.com
- Southeast Automotive Media Organization (SEAMO), Charlotte, NC www.southeastautomedia.org
- Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), Red Oak TX - http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Truck Writers of North America, www.twna.org Tom Kelley, Executive Director, email@example.com
- Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA), D.C. - www.washautopress.org
- Western Automotive Journalists (WAJ), San Francisco - www.waj.org, Michael Coates, president, firstname.lastname@example.org
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