may 2010 newsletter

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the road ahead

The Road Ahead: News May 2010
Photo by: Jenny W.

Reporting on the recent AP board meeting, Shoreline News sees “a glimmer of hope for beleaguered news providers” in that the AP intends to offer centralized business development, negotiating for its member newspapers and thereby helping them better extract revenues from web and mobile platforms. The E newsletter quotes AP Chairman Dean Singleton: "We need one voice, not only to work on business relationships but also new products that we might go together and also application frameworks so we decided AP should speak for the industry and work for the industry." Journalism as a platform, Shore says.

An Arbitron and Edison survey, reported in a Mediapost Research Brief reveals 48% of all Americans over 12 years of age have a profile on one or more social networks. For teens it is 78% while more Americans, 42%, rate the Internet as the most essential medium in their lives compared to television, radio or newspapers. Another Research Brief supporting that study tells the reaction of 200 college students who went ”24 Hours Unplugged” at the University of Maryland. They reported, “going without media in their world meant going without friends and families.” According to the study the students get their news and information in “disaggregated ways” and have only casual relationships to actual news outlets.

The takeaway for journalists, according to the report: readers and viewers of the future see them (journalists) as both irrelevant and indispensable. Apparently they don’t care how news and information comes to them, they just want it.

Not directly related but an interesting prediction in the shift in values cloud computing could bring comes from Max Kalehoff writing for Online Spin. As an example he offers music collections. With literally thousands of tunes at our finger tip for little or no investment and no longer needing to invest in records, tapes, or discs or to provide the space to store them along with the equipment to enjoy them, music collections no longer become a personal expression of our taste and mean less to us.

What do you think? Comments: Are Journalists Irrelevant & Indispensible?


autowriters spotlight Autowriters Spotlight: Steve Purdy

Steve Purdy

“Shunpiker” is an uncommon enough word to prompt an inquiry into the Shunpiker Journal and Shunpiker Productions and the person behind them. Turns out, it aptly fits how the man producing and hosting the hour-long web radio journal and a number of other auto-related endeavors arrived where he is. Steve Purdy “shunned” the turnpike or the direct route in favor of back roads or more circuitous paths to making a living as an automotive journalist. He takes pride in that designation and tries to live up to it although he has no J-school training, no desire to write, no “hands-on” mechanical experience, and no time at the wheel of a racecar. But yes, plenty of enthusiasm, networking and “hanging in” part time– like seven years as the call-in correspondent for a Detroit radio station’s coverage of the Cannonball One Lap of America, once in a Yugo GVX. (And not when he was a flexible young teenager able to easily shake off days of being cramped in considerably less than the world’s smoothest ride.) The experience provided him with numerous contacts and opportunities to work with TV shows and find outlets for his car photography. And, he worked on his writing skills.

That made it relatively easy to segue when early retirement was offered in 2002 from 25 years of social work to a second career in automotive journalism. He began with radio coverage of the Detroit Auto Show and events at Michigan International Speedway for the local Fox station. A year later, he was named Detroit editor for The Auto Channel and began covering a full range of auto topics, including product reviews. From there he added writing and photography for collector car publications.

Purdy’s hour-long Shunpiker’s Journal launched in February and right now is on Tuesdays, 11AM to noon at but within a few weeks the programs will be downloadable as podcasts and archived for access to any of them, any time.

Purdy co founded a group of Motor City area freelance communicators that, among other projects, revived the Detroit Press Club Foundation’s prestigious International Wheel Awards. They were going strong until two years ago when the auto industry’s economy went sour. He plans to bring the event back.

Cultivating an ability to write and on-air presence, he parlayed his interests, enthusiasm and ability to network into a second life but cites the help and guidance of veteran journalists in making it work for him, particularly veteran freelancer Gary Witzenburg who went out of his way to help Purdy make his way and Bob Gordon who gave him a shot with the Auto Channel.

Comments: Steve Purdy - Autowriters Spotlight


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. 

The plentitude of pixels has muted the old saw, “don’t get in a war of words with someone who buys ink by the barrel” as PR pro John McCandless evidences in his response to Jack Baruth’s April Tom-Tom. Baruth proposed, “auto journalism as we know it should die.”

 McCandless, who has PR in his blood (his father was an ace practitioner in his time) has been in automotive PR with Chrysler, American Motors and Toyota where he is now National Manager, Corporate Communications Field Operations. He also rose through the ranks as a communications officer with the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring as a captain in 1999. He recently won praise for his frank discussion of Toyota’s communications problems with graduate students in the University of Michigan’s School of Management.

In Defense Of Automotive Journalism

Oh No! A free trip will bring down all of automotive journalism. Tom-Tom: John McCandless, Toyota PR

John McCandless

I hope Jack Baruth is a better racer than he is a reporter. His recent rant demonstrated little knowledge or talent for the latter.

It would appear that he wrangled an invitation to a new car preview and was aghast that others, (likely as well as himself,) were the guests of that manufacturer, to the tune of airfare, lodging and meals. Somehow, he concluded, that this hosting would guarantee that automaker good ink (or internet space), regardless of how good or bad the product performed.

Long-lead previews have been around for ages. Mr. Baruth might be surprised to learn that a significant number of organizations pay their own way to these events and pick up their lodging tabs. Others, including buff books, trade magazines and freelancers, accept the fact that they are being hosted.

His solution to this terrible violation of ethics? Invite consumers to these events. Hmmm, let’s see. Most manufacturers sell millions of cars and trucks annually. Sure, let’s invite every prospect to come evaluate our vehicles. We’d get through the 2010 products say, by 2055. I’m sure Bristol Cars will be alive and well for decades, but then again, who has ever heard of Bristol Cars.

Mr. Baruth needs to keep focused on racing. As a critic of automotive journalism, he has crashed and burned.

For those who have not visited the hornet’s nest of other responses Baruth evoked, check out the comments online.

Comments: In Defense of Automotive Journalism

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


road signs

In case there was any question, the Center For Automotive Research (CAR) reports that the automotive industry continues to contribute significantly to the U.S, economy and employment. Specifically, 1.7 million jobs. CAR reports the industry’s impact in each of the 50 states and is available at

The Washington Post Company is hoping its trash may be another company’s treasure. Chairman Donald Graham acknowledged in putting Newsweek Magazine up for sale that they couldn’t stem the red ink and it might be a better fit elsewhere . . . Brandwire reports GQ Magazine unveiled a bespoke plug-in hybrid Citron in England last March to go with its branded tailored suits, after shave and hand-made shoes. . . . Wooden Horse News revealed that Canada’s Auto Journal Group has filed for bankruptcy and its six motor magazines are undergoing changes. Which may be why some U.S, freelancers have complained about slow or no pay from work they did for unnamed outlets north of the border.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence In Journalism revealed editors at newspaper-related companies “praise the cultural shifts in their organizations, the younger tech-savvy staff and a growing sense of experimentation,” According to, half of those surveyed believe their operation will survive another 10 years without significant new sources of revenue. . . . A good thing, too, because a recent Nielsen survey of 27,000 consumers across 52 countries revealed that 78% of them believe that if they already subscribe to a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV service they should be able to use its online content for free- as reported by Gavin O’Malley in Online Media Daily.

And, as a Pew State of the Media Report puts it in a felicitous conclusion, writes Jacqui Cheng in Ars Technica, “when it comes to online news, getting people to pay for content they otherwise value is "like trying to force butterflies back into their cocoons." . . . While it is presently too expensive for most individual users at $295.00 a year and likely too ponderous for daily news use, a new online resource Wired Magazine describes as “the Anti-Google”, Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO) has been launched by Oxford University Press. According to Wired it is, “essentially a straightforward, hyperlinked collection of professionally-produced bibliographies in different subject areas. The idea is to alleviate the twin problems of Google-induced data overload, on the one hand, and Wikipedia-driven GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), on the other.”



new roads

Cars.Com announced it has made its 24- person car news and information editorial staff available to broadcast news outlets 24 hours a day seven days a week by installing Videolink’s Readycam® System in its Chicago offices. Cars.Com is owned by the Tribune Company, The Washington Post Company, Gannett Co., Inc., Belo and The McClatchy Company and is an online car-shopping site. . . . Gary Grant, founder of The Garage Blog, has launched a new web site he terms “uniquely Canadian.” His new Driven Wheels automotive site combines news and reviews relevant to Canadian car buyers and dealers and offers the latter used car classifieds as well as social media training.



pit notes

Some one picked the wrong Ann Job to job with a fake message using her name and email address to appeal for urgently needed funds because she and her family had been robbed at gun point in London and were stranded there without cash or credit cards to get them home.  The giveaway was the poor grammar. The well-regarded AP journalist would consider that a crime in and of itself.

A recipient of the plea checked it out and in a series of email exchanges was given a location where the money could be delivered. In the meantime, Ann was at her desk in the States, busily assuring the many friends, colleagues and associates who phoned that she was aware of the scam, had shut down the email address and was calling every authority she could think of to bring the “perps” to justice.

She had no time to speculate or investigate how her email was infiltrated but Kurt Opsahl writes in his DeepLinks Blog for the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those (privacy) controls. Instead, it's slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users' information, while limiting the users' options to control their own information.”

Laurie Sullivan, writing for Social Media Daily, summarizes a Consumers Reports survey and recommendations for better securing personal information on the Internet: 1) do not list full birth date, 2) use a strong password, 3) do not overlook privacy controls, 4)leave off contact information, 5) do not identify kids in photos, 6) do not say when you will be away from home.

Closing Speed by Ted WestTed West reports that he is “more than a little amazed” that his first novel, Closing Speed, has been published and is available through, Amazon or online brick and mortar. The novel, West says, brings back to life “one of the headiest experiences of my long career.”  It is a fictionalized remembrance of the 1970 World Manufacturer’s Championship he covered in Europe for Road & Track. . . . Melissa Preddy alerted her Detroit News readers recently to the Internet Movie Car Database ( where car fans can quickly verify makes and models of cars used in Hollywood films.



lane changes

BMW’s “Joy” is Steve Parker’s slogan as well in announcing not a lane but a venue change –from hospital bed to office and computer. When drugs he had been taking to combat Crohn’s disease for 43 years suddenly started to fail, he went on a not too magical two-year mystery tour of diagnoses, hospital stays, consultations and experiments before, he reports, four different medical departments at Cedars Sinai in L.A. concurred on a treatment and 36 hours later he was able to return home to his adored wife with a “second chance” at life. He is resuming his live radio weekend shows and automotive writing for several outlets, including The Huffington Post.

Steve Keyes is retiring as Audi and Volkswagen director of press and publications after 37 years with the company. He will continue to consult with the company’s PR team. . . . John Vincent, ( long-time Oregonian photographer with a ken for cars, is now writing and selecting content for the paper’s weekly “Autos” section. . . . Nissan North America, Inc. has appointed former Ford and Bentley, Motors, Inc. PR executive David Reuter director, corporate communications, succeeding Fred Standish who is retiring after 18 years with the company. . . . Dan Neil has added a second platform for his writing/reporting talents: In addition to his weekly Rumble Seat column for the Wall Street Journal, he will host a monthly Wheels Up show for Fox.

Joel Ewanick’s jumps from Hyundai to Nissan to GM deserves mention here for being the fastest on record for an automotive marketing director. Also, to express a hope that his facile maneuvering doesn’t presage more of the credulity-straining, out-of-touch “they’ll believe what we tell them” presumption behind Ed Whitacre’s TV spots. Nissan, Mediapost reports, was totally surprised by their ex-marketing chief’s departure after less than two months on the job - one of their executives suggesting he stopped by Nashville to “close his deal in Detroit.” . . . Brian Gluckman is leaving his post as manager, media relations for AutoTrader for a digital PR job with a Washington, D.C. social media agency. Until settled in at the new post he can be reached at:



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Glenn F. Campbell

table of contents


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Kia has been searching for a “Forward Model Vehicle Development Engineer” for sometime and welcomes referrals for what looks like a good opportunity for someone with a minimum of five years automotive industry experience in a product quality or engineering environment. Kia’s U.S. headquarters are in Irvine, Calif. Contact Beverly Braga for more information:


The AAA Research Foundation is seeking a Ph.D level Director of Research to work in the D.C. area. More information can be obtained from:


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

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

May 2010
11 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
11 PAPA Future of Journalism Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
11 NEMPA, Boston Globe, Good Year
13 APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, Automotive Design Panel
15 Panel Discussion Highlighting Mickey Thompson’s impact on auto racing
Wally Parks NHRA Museum, Pomona, CA,
18 WAJ, Future Cars, Future Transportation Event
18 Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA, "Good Guys Bad Guys" Exhibit opens
19 GAAMA Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, Nissan
20 WAPA Luncheon, JW Marriott, Washington D.C., Hyundai
20 IMPA Spring Brake, Bear Mountain State Park
25-27 MAMA Spring Collection, Elkhart Lake, WI
27 Automotive News Marketing Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
June 2010
6 Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Automobiles of the Robert & Margie Petersen Collection
8 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
8 CAR Breakfast Seminar, Ann Arbor Marriott, Ypsilanti, MI, Cost Effective Fuel Economy
9 RMAP's Rocky Mountain Driving Experience including the new High Plains Raceway, street and off-road courses
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
27 IMPA Luncheon
July 2010
13 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
15 IMPA Luncheon
21-22 NEMPA, Boston, MA, Ragtop Ramble
August 2010
2-5 CAR Management Briefing Seminars, Traverse City, MI
9 MPG Luncheon, Proud Bird, Los Angeles, CA
12 MAMA Luncheon, Oak Brook Terraces, IL, Night Visions
September 2010
14-15 MPG Track Days, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA
25 Ironstone Foundation's Concours D'Elegance, Murphys, CA, more info:
29-30 IMPA Test Days, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA
October 2010
12-14 CAR's Second Annual "Plug-In" Electric Vehicle Conference, Detroit Marriott, Detroit, MI


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, Portland, OR, Jeff Zurschmeide, President


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,




Kind Words

Great newsletter -- gutsy, honest. A+++ all the way! Thanks.

Best Regards,
Susan Bairley
Communications Manager
United States Council for Automotive Research

Thanks, Glenn - another great read!

Don Weberg
Garage Style Magazine


Hi Guys,

I notice that you have the wrong information for RMAP (Rocky Mountain Automotive Press) in your newsletter. Our web site is Our main contact email is (Ed.’s Note, we have made the correction)

Please note that we are organizing a track day along with an on/off-ride and drive in Denver for June. It will be called the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience and I'll be happy to pass along the details if you want them. (see calendar)

Roman Mica
RMAP Vice President
Managing editor
720 310-5414

“Rained” On

Hi Glenn,

"Umbrella" is never a verb! In the inimitable words of Bill Watterson, "Verbing weirds language."

David Traver Adolphus


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