the road ahead
One Man's Road Ahead - William Jeanes has had a
distinguished career in automotive communications, a
craft which he treated as a profession and expected
those who worked for him to do likewise. He spoke
out on the need for literary and ethical standards
in a field of journalism that often invites and
sometimes requires compromises in at least the latter
and increasingly devalues the former. His voice will
be missed now that he appears to be turning to
Musings from An Automotive Dinosaur
I've followed the Blogosphere vs. Establishment
controversy as presented on Autowriters.com during
recent months. As some of you know, I spent a few
decades as a part of the establishment, most visibly
as a writer, an editor-in-chief, and a publisher at
Car and Driver magazine. I also worked in the world
of advertising agencies for ten years and was thus
allowed to see car magazines and automotive writing
from a second perspective.
I am now 73; my first for-pay automotive freelance
piece appeared in AutoWeek in 1972, and my most
recent piece is a less-than-serious history of the
automobile that will appear in the May/June issue of
The Saturday Evening Post. I recently quit an
editor-at-large slot at AOL Autos, and I'm now
inclined to log off my laptop insofar as automotive
writing is concerned. Why? Because I have other
interests that I want to explore in the few years
remaining to me before the world succumbs to vapor
lock. And because I don't think automotive writing
matters as much as it once did.
For years I've been convinced that cars have become
too good to support meaningful criticism. Hybrids
and electrics have provided some diversion, of
course, just as they did in the early 1900s, but
that does not change my conviction that the industry
has improved and refined itself to the point of
dullness. I and my peers have been reduced to the
undignified picking of nits. Most of all, a
decreasing number of publications have the space or
inclination to run long features, which is what I
enjoy writing. Further, pay for writers has adjusted
inversely to inflation.
With the arrogant belief common to all writers - that
someone, somewhere, wants to read what you write - I
am going to offer up some thoughts and mention some
principles I've come to value during the past forty
years. As I express my thoughts, with any luck I
will irritate both sides of the continuing
discussion in equal measure.
I begin by saying that I was a writer before I was a
car person even though I pulled a wrench for pay
from about age 15. I was 34 before I sold an article
about cars (about racing, actually). I was a car
enthusiast, but not to the point of hysteria.
When Car and Driver offered me a staff writing
position in 1972, I had just been accepted to the
University of Arkansas writing program. I opted for
the excitement of New York, writing on a daily
basis, and pay. I've never regretted that decision.
After three and one-half years there, the late David
E. Davis, Jr. then creative director at
Campbell-Ewald (Chevrolet, Goodyear), brought me
into the advertising profession. He called me in
1975, before we ever met, and said, "I sure like
your stuff. Why don't you come out to Detroit and
let me teach you the advertising business?" I went,
and I never regretted that decision either.
Most automotive writers cannot make the transition
from prose writing to copywriting; I never
understood why, but it's so. I learned that
advertising writing was a business, a complicated
one. At some point, it became obvious to me that
automotive writing or, more accurately automotive
publishing, was likewise a for-profit activity.
There was no need for a Scarlett O'Hara moment ("As
God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."). I
just came to realize that, writer or not, I had no
intention of starving in the pursuit of writing.
Rightly or wrongly I liked money and still do.
According to our President I've made a great deal
more than my share.
My late father was fond of saying, "You can tell a
lot about a man when you watch him get something
free." I believed that, based only on my
pre-magazine years. Imagine my reaction when, on my
first press junket as a Car and Driver writer, I
witnessed the spectacle of a gaggle of automotive
writers fighting over free foul-weather gear
provided by Volkswagen during a sail to Martha's
Vineyard. You're right; my throw-up valve slammed
into the red zone.
That sad vignette begs the obvious question, "If
you're so all-fired pious, why did you ever accept
junkets, trinkets, and dinners from car companies?"
About the big-ticket item, junkets, the business
answer is simple enough. Early access to new
products was critical to our success. Couple that
with our accountants having discovered that there
was a way to avoid travel expenses, and there you
are; take it or leave it. The small gift items were
easy; just don't take them, and if you're the boss,
don't let your staff take them.
I failed at repeated efforts to have our parent
company pay all our travel expenses. But I want to
add that this was anything but a holier-than-thou
act; it was an effort to create a set-apart
differentiator with which to beat the competition
over the head.
Press cars were another matter. We at Car and Driver
drove as many cars as possible in order to maintain
a comparison-driven awareness of the market's
products. Was it always necessary to keep on hand
enough cars for the entire staff to drive, even
those who did no writing or evaluation? The answer
is yes, and here's why.
An independent writer, in his or her conception of a
perfect world, can get one press car per week.
That's 52 per year. At Car and Driver, our unwritten
requirement for maintaining a useful
seat-of-the-pants database was to drive at least 125
cars a year. That is possible only if you maintain
and manage a large press fleet at your place of
business. I do not think there's a freelancer or
blogger on earth who can do that.
Bloggers and freelancers also do not normally have
access to instrumented testing and an engineering
staff. At Car and Driver, we emphatically did. So,
those of you who routinely savage the establishment,
exactly what is it you're bringing to automotive
enthusiasts other than your opinions?
If you say that magazines which take advertising are
susceptible to influence by manufacturers, I agree.
But the key word is susceptible. Integrity is your
choice, and it wasn't even difficult. If you have 40
automakers as advertisers, you have every reason not
to favor one over the other. Doing so, as I've said
a hundred times, will cause you unshirted misery.
And if you, as I did, forbid staff writers who do
road tests from doing freelance work for automakers,
your job is that much easier.
Is this a slap at bloggers and freelancers? Not a
serious one. A serious one would be to reference the
endless stories told to me by public relations folks
and fleet managers about "journalists" who are
getting by with a single car at home and who are
wont to call up and say, "Get a car over here. I
don't care what it is." I don't know about you, but
if I ever made such a call I would hope to God that
a thunderbolt of revelation might tell me that I was
in the wrong business.
That "wrong business" thought brings up the question
of professionalism. Are you a professional?
Once upon a time, I served an undistinguished term
as president of the American Racing Press
Association. Its membership was composed of writers
and photographers who covered all forms of racing in
the United States. Our continuing dilemma was our
inability to gain blanket credential approval from
the major racetracks. We tried, but we were
Here's why we failed: not enough of our members were
professionals. I can't be sure, but it may have been
Jim Foster at NASCAR who asked me, "How many of your
members make their living covering races?" I do not
remember my reply, but it was not "All of them."
Foster's point was simple: If you don't make your
living at it, you're not a professional. Never mind
your talent level.
When a blogger, or anyone else, requests credentials
to an automotive event, it seems reasonable to ask,
"Do you make your living doing this?" If the
answer's yes, you win. If not, see us next year.
That of course may be oversimplifying.
Assume that an individual blogger has a large
audience but does not make much, if anything, in the
way of money. Is the press officer not shooting
himself in the foot if he refuses a credential? I'd
say he was, but I'd say so reluctantly. But my
heavens, I read earlier this week that some website
or other had set its pay range for an 850-word piece
at $25-$300. You do the arithmetic; I don't want to
waste my time. You could make a better living
collecting aluminum cans.
Here, I'll pause and make the distinction between
individual bloggers and well-staffed electronic
giants such as edmunds.com, autoblog.com, and
Kelley Blue Book. And of course the traditional car
magazines' electronic operations.
By and large, existing print media have failed to
marshal their considerable horsepower to add
compelling electronic executions to what they offer.
The reason is simple to an outsider, which I am:
Properly done, a hotshot website has the potential
to kill off its print sibling. You may not agree
with that, but you cannot argue that the reverse is
even remotely possible in today's world of instant,
Just as certain, no individual one-man or one-woman
website can compete, save through copious use of
links, with the big guys mentioned above. The
individual can't drive enough cars, do enough - if
any - serious instrumented testing, produce enough
distinctive copy, or otherwise match the
heavyweights. A website that uses many freelance
contributors, I might add, faces serious
organizational and consistency issues.
I suppose it would be possible for an individual to
carve out a niche, such as the absolute best instant
photo and video coverage of all auto shows. But,
after all, how many of those are there? And could
you make a living? You'd be lucky to make travel
expenses, although your credential would at least
put you in the Eat Free or Die buffet lines and keep
you from starving a few weeks each year.
For the past three weeks, I have been cleaning out a
building I own. It was filled with more relics than
you can imagine, and among them was a copy of the
first issue of Automobile Magazine, April 1983. Its
founding editor, the aforementioned David E. Davis,
Jr., wrote in his opening column that he was proud
of the first-rate writers he'd assembled (among them
Dean Batchelor, P.J. O'Rourke, Jean Lindamood,
Smith, and even this writer) because, as Mr. Davis
went on to say, "…second-rate writers attract
Consider the blogs in light of Mr. Davis's
statement. In a recent issue of Autowriters.com,
bloggers demonstrated what appears to be utter
unfamiliarity with their native tongue (e.g.
"…newspapers have went under.") I find this
depressing almost beyond endurance. And if you think
that's a sad example, you should read the comments.
Here again, save for the most unusual individual,
the biggies at least have the budgets to ensure
decent copyediting if not sparkling writing. Whether
they do this with any real enthusiasm I do not know.
Something not in question is that bloggers exist,
and that there are lots of them. If you were an
automaker or an event manager, what would you do
with them? Paul Brian and the Chicago Auto Show
allotted a whole press day to bloggers. And they let
the manufacturers select who came, handing off the
difficult question of who deserves (as opposed to
wants) credentials. The day was considered a success
by most of the manufacturers, and one and all got a
better handle on the situation, albeit a hazy one.
Comparing the starting of a blog with the starting
of a traditional career in print media, I say that
the single most important difference is that the
traditional guys had to earn their way into the
business. A blogger can just peel off the pajamas,
open up shop and proclaim that he or she is a
credible source. Credibility, when you get down to
it, is everything. You can succeed without it, of
course, but you are a fraud. Not that your
intentions are evil, but you do not in most cases
have enough resources to allow you to know what
you're talking about.
Do I wish that celestial lightning would strike down all
bloggers? Of course not. I believe in free speech
even if its syntax and spelling are substandard. And
there are some entertaining storytellers and
commentators out there. Joe Sherlock comes to mind.
There are a few others. Very few, led by Peter DeLorenzo whom I consider to be the father of the
automotive blog (and who came with established
What I do wish is that I might be spared endless
whining about credentials, press cars, unfairness,
and general mistreatment from would-be automotive
"journalists" who are demonstrably hard put to write
much beyond their request for something free and who
dress as if they shopped at Third World yard sales.
And who couldn't get, let alone hold, a job at any
professional publication, electronic or otherwise.
When your blog's posted comments, most of which
appear to be sent from planets where correct
spelling and punctuation constitute felonies, are
better than your articles, it's time to consider
retraining. Or, if your enthusiasm for cars is
pathologically uncontrollable, suicide.
I will say that there is at least one good quality
about all blogs, even the most illiterate: Reading
them is voluntary; the same is true for the existing
magazines, most of which are well down the road to
obsolescence. Bloggers don't bring much that's new
to the party, and the establishment won't let
anything old escape from the festivities.
Those are my opinions, and I'm sticking to them. It
occurs to me that writing none of the foregoing
paragraphs gave me any pleasure at all, which
reinforces my decision to say goodnight and good
luck to the world of automotive writing.
William Jeanes is the former editor-in-chief of Car
and Driver, Classic Automobile Register, and AMI
Autoworld Weekly. He was publisher of Car and Driver
and Road & Track. His automotive writing has
appeared in more than two dozen publications, and
his non-automotive work has been seen in Sports
Illustrated. The New York Times, Playboy, Playbill,
American Heritage, Journal of Mississippi History,
Over the Front, and War, Literature, and the Arts.
He co-wrote the book Branding Iron with Charlie
Hughes and was a senior vice president at two major
advertising agencies. He was Writer in Residence at
Northwestern University in 2005 and serves on the
board of trustees at Millsaps College and on the
board of directors for the Eudora Welty Foundation.
He and his wife, Susan, the creative director of
five automotive magazines, live in Ridgeland,
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BC Honda launched the 2012 Honda Civic in downtown Vancouver, B.C. with this
eye-catching whimsical display of the new model as a prize emerging from a
gigantic cereal box. Vancouver photographer
Maurice Li was on hand to snap what became the photo of the week on the official
blog of Pan Pacific
Edmunds.com's day-long conference on "De-bunking Myths and Creating Effective
Policies for Car Safety" has a number of outstanding authorities coming to
Washington D.C.'s Newseum on May 24. Among them: Congressman John Dingell (D-MI)
NHSTA Administrator David Strickland, AutoNation Chairman and CEO
Mike Jackson, DOT's Research and Technology Administrator Peter Appel and several others.
A Policy Is A Policy Is A . . .?
When confronted with the fact that there was incontrovertible evidence that Facebook
had hired them to plant negative stories about Google, a spokesman for PR firm
Burston-Marstellar was quoted by Gavin O'Malley in Media Daily, "the assignment
was not at all standard operating procedure and was against the company's
policies. ...The assignment on those terms should have been declined." Until the
next time the money makes it worth doing?
1962 Fuji Rabbit, Ferrari F-40,Ferrari F-50
The Petersen Automotive Museum's latest exhibition Scooters: Size Doesn't Always
Matter, opens June 18 and runs through May, 28, 2012. Over 90 vehicles on
display will take museum visitors on a chronological tour of motor scooter
development beginning with the simple Autoped of the mid-1910s to the
alternative power vehicles of today.
For those who like to test their knowledge or remember when you tried to beat your Buds
in calling out the name and year of cars as they came rolling by, here's a
quick trip down memory lane:
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Daily Beast's Photo Gallery reports that a survey to determine the 20 most
useless college degrees pinpointed Journalism as the most useless. The reasoning
behind this designation:
Median starting salary: $35,800
Median mid-career salary: $66,600
Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: - 4,400
Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -6.32
Undergraduate field of study: Communications
Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 78,009
Brian Stelter reports in the NY Times,
"Columbia University has surveyed the state of digital journalism, and it has
concluded that journalists must rethink their relationships — and their
audiences' relationships — with advertisers." He quickly assures that doing so
does not include giving sponsors/advertisers editorial control. But it does mean
newspapers need to develop a new business model based on how advertisers spend
their money in a digital environment. The 139 page report on the study and
recommendations for recapturing some of the ad dollars lost to other media was
released earlier this month by Columbia's journalism department.
With well over 200 new car awards offered every year, it is reasonable to ask if
awards make any difference as far as the consumer is concerned. Auto Pacific's
Vehicle Voice research division asked 869 adults that question in April and here
is what was found:
Influence in Vehicle Purchase
Awards based on safety ratings
Awards based on owner ratings
Awards from magazines
Ad on television
Direct mail ads
Ad in a magazine
Ad in a newspaper
Shopping mall display
Internet banner ads
Ad on the radio
Not included: Awards by auto media organizations.
Social Media has about as much influence as an Internet Banner ad David Barkholz
reports in Automotive News. Quoting a survey by market researcher R.L. Polk &
Co. and AutoTrader.com, a car shopping Web site, "just 3 percent of
4,005 new and used car buyers polled last summer said social media influenced
their purchase decision."
ContentNext Media's PaidContent.org reports The New York Times plans to spend $3
million, on its paywall in 2011, the bulk of it on promotion. If so, with 100,000 paywall subscribers signed up in just a few weeks, even if all at the lowest
price, the paper could break even on what PaidContent call its "have your cake
and eat it" paywall strategy. The newsletter compares that approach to the
London Times', "Berlin Wall" stance. When access was free, The London Times once had 10
million monthly "uniques". Now, after eight months of no free access, it has but
79,000 digital-only subscribers and its overall circulation has dropped 13.49
percent since erecting the paywall while the NY times has dropped but 5 +
percent since its partial wall was installed.
Ad Age quotes Arianna Huffington from her speech at the paper's recent
Digital Conference: "If you're going to produce great journalism, you have to build a
team of people who are working together and driving toward the same goals
editorially. That is something you cannot do with hundreds of freelancers."
Most of them, according to Huffington, were producing "commodity content" rather
than unique content that drives page views.
A memorial service for David E. Davis, Jr. convened luminaries from
within and without the auto industry to celebrate his iconic presence in
their lives. Ronald Ahrens provides this report.
DAVID E. DAVIS, JR. MEMORIAL
The literary efforts of David E. Davis Jr. had a profound and beneficial
effect on the American automobile industry and "did a great service to
the United States in the one major manufacturing industry we have left."
So said retired General Motors product czar Bob Lutz, whose voice was
among the many raised April 28 at the memorial service for the
incomparable, bewhiskered editor, who died in March.
The service was in two parts, beginning at the First Presbyterian Church
in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city where Davis had moved Car and Driver
from New York in 1978. About 200 people attended and heard his sister,
Dr. Jane Makulski, say, "If I have one regret, it's that no magazine
will have a column where he critiques what God has offered him."
"Your pals are still gathered about you for the sake of freedom and
whiskey," said his pal Ham Schirmer, ending the eulogy that emphasized
the great man's love of cars, dogs, clothes, his wife Jeannie, and all
Part two was held immediately afterward at the car guys' warehouse, as
it's informally known, next door in Ypsilanti. This former industrial
building along the Huron River is home to vintage and special-interest
cars, some undergoing active restoration or repair. In recent years,
about 2000 square feet of office area was reserved for Davis's
Enjoying the food, drinks, and live music were luminaries such as the
actor Edward Herrmann, a friend from Pebble Beach, and the writer
O'Rourke, whose sometimes hilarious essays followed Davis from title to
O'Rourke's toast summed up Davis's tastes in food, alcohol, and
automobiles: "To suckling pig when you're hungry, Sazeracs when you're
dry, all the cars you've ever wanted, and heaven when you die."
Former Time journalist Charles Eisendrath lauded board member Davis's
work on behalf of the University of Michigan Journalism Fellowship.
Representatives of the Car and Driver fraternity included Davis's peer
Brock Yates, former editor-in-chief Csaba Csere and executive editors
Rich Ceppos and Mark Gillies, current editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman,
technical director Don Sherman, columnist John D. Phillips III, and
staffers Darin Johnson, Tony Quiroga, Juli Burke,
Michael Austin, and Erik Johnson. Aside from Yates and Csere, all of the former either
started their careers or served intermediate stints under Davis at
Davis left Car and Driver in 1985 and soon launched Automobile. Deputy
editor Joe DeMatio and managing editor Amy Skogstrom represented the
magazine. Editor-in-chief Jean Jennings, who unseated Davis in 2000, was
not present, reportedly at the request of the Davis family. Automobile
alumni included William Jeanes, Bill Sharfman, Ken Gross, and James Lee
Ramsey, who were Davis's soldiers during the '80s and '90s. Kevin Smith,
the original Automobile co-executive editor with Jennings, traveled from
California. So did Davis's art director Larry Crane. Kathy Hamilton,
former senior editor, flew in from New Jersey.
Motor Trend was represented by Todd Lasa, Frank Markus,
and alum Jack Keebler. Larry Webster waved the Popular Mechanics flag; spy photographer
Jim Dunne also paid tribute. Kevin A. Wilson, former AutoWeek executive
editor, did the same for Crain Communications.
Michael Jordan, Automobile's West Coast editor for nearly 22 years, took
time off from his position as Edmunds.com Inside Line executive editor
to come to the rites, along with news editor Kelly Toepke, who started
in the early 1990s as Davis's assistant.
John Hilton, long-time editor of the alternative monthly Ann Arbor
Observer, contributed to Car and Driver and Automobile in the 1980s. He
lent his eminence to an assortment of locals ranging from Paul
Eisenstein, of TheDetroitBureau.com—present dean of Detroit's automotive
journalism establishment—to Lindsay Brooke, senior editor at Automotive
Engineering International, a publication of the Society of Automotive
Davis's long shadow fell across three generations of automotive
journalists, who came together to honor his singular career during a
memorable and often poignant afternoon.
The Davis family requests memorial gifts be sent to:
620 Oxford Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Ronald Ahrens is a former Automobile employee and a frequent contributor
to that publication, the New York Times and numerous other media
outlets. He recently moved his Baggy Paragraphs Company to Monrovia,
California and, until phone numbers are established, his best contact
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Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are
volunteered and express the opinions of the writer.
Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit a tom-tom. Your reward: a byline and an audience
of your peers. All submissions are acknowledged,
queued and used at the editor's discretion.
In a recent President's Message posted within the Motor Press
Guild's monthly publication, Mile Post, I wrote about a curious run
of discussions shared with various members of the OEM and PR
community. Normally I would have considered such chats to be a fact
of life as a press organization's President, but the frequency and
tone of these conversations started to add up to a bigger story. In
the April edition, I wrote:
James Bell, President
Motor Press Guild
"The other big topic this month has been the role of organizations
like the MPG and how they can best work with the OEMs to provide
guidance and "filters" on the ever-expanding media machine. The
discussion on old vs. new media is about as relevant today as CDs
vs. MP3s ... the battle is over. Rather than talking about old vs.
new or print vs. electronic, we need to lock arms as a unified
This point has been made even clearer to me thanks to several
conversations I have had with members of other press organizations
as well as several OEMs. This industry is striving for new and
creative ways to engage their audiences, and some of them are
looking to groups like the MPG for guidance and to help identify the
best providers of this new engagement. The value of each member and
their specific outlet is no longer the point — it is how well that
member satisfies (addresses) the needs of his or her intended
Unfortunately, the manufacturer's promotional budgets have not been
able to keep pace with the expansion of automotive journalism and so
many are looking to us (associations like the MPG) for help. My
feeling is that our goal is to provide a fair and proactive forum
for all participants to meet, share perspectives, self-promote, and
ultimately further our craft. The MPG is not alone in the space, as
my contemporaries at other press associations have reached out to
see how we are tackling this difficult subject.
Ultimately, this business demands a keen sense of responsibility.
The "good ol' days" that I keep hearing about are over, so now
is the time to make sure you are offering all you can to the
industry that we all love. Otherwise, don't be surprised when
opportunity stops knocking.
Of all of the thoughts that I expressed above, my comment that "we
need to lock arms as a unified automotive community" surprisingly
has generated the most reaction. It appears that the highly
competitive nature of the automotive industry amongst the OEMs has
percolated deep into the media corps as well, and this is a shame.
As many of you know who share the "Groundhog Day" life of press
event to auto show to press event to auto show with me, there is
decreasing cohesion among those of us that cover this dynamic
industry. The exceptions to this rule are found in the rewarding
friendships that develop after a day spent as driving partners "geeking out" over a vehicle's handling balance and steering feel
and an evening breaking bread with the chief engineer responsible
for that vehicle's final state of tune. It doesn't get much better
Our sense of camaraderie has been threatened by the democratization
of automotive media and the proliferation of "channels" that have
sprouted to help the OEMs spread their news. I suspect that most of
this threat comes from raw and healthy competition for access to the
OEMs and their stories, but all too often the comments I hear some
of us make about others of us are downright nasty and obviously
designed for personal advantage.
it is worth a reminder that we are privileged to work in an
industry that many of our friends and neighbors would give their
right arm to join. This business has every right to keep us sharp
and push us to be better at what we do, but it shouldn't turn us
into a roving gang of "ugly and evil stepsisters" along the way.
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Wooden Horse News reports two publishers are launching new editions, one
in the U.S., the other in Canada. The Red Bulletin, published by
Red Bull energy drink launches this week in the U.S.
Already published in nine other countries it features traditional and
extreme sports, travel and adventure. Also this week, Maxim will debut
an all-Canada edition with nearly all Canadian writers in the first
issue. Girls (Canadian) and sports will still be the draw.
The New York Times' Jim Wilson reports the new Storify Web site, can
find and piece together publicly available content from Twitter,
Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. They can also add text and embed the
resulting collages of content on their own sites. During a private test
period, reporters from The Washington Post, NPR, PBS and other outlets
used the service. Wilson says it is one of several solutions to help
journalists collect and filter the information that floods the Internet
on almost any topic. Others are: Storyful, Tumble and Color.
Google has been testing a new format for its News page, Laurie Sullivan says in
Online Media Daily. It introduces expandable sections with related
stories about a subject, highlights movable modules and click-through
slide shows. It identifies articles most cited and shared. Also, social
tags for Google Buzz, Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook allow the
searcher to post links and comments directly from the Google News page,
In what seems contrary to what its star employee
is saying, AOL plans to add 8,000 unpaid bloggers (10 each) to its
Patch Network of 800 local news sites. Arianna has down played volunteer
bloggers contributions to quality content that attracts page views.
Appropriate for the month of May and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis
500, artist Colin Carter has introduced Legends of Indy a series of artworks as
seen here http://www.carart.us/news.aspx.
Each artwork comes in a choice of prints: a 36x48 giclee on canvas (250 edition)
and a 23x31 lithograph (850 edition), all signed by the artist. Many of the
litho series are also autographed by the driver. For more information contact
Peter Aylett CarArt US 949-443-0500.
Auto A Fondo TV's second season began April 18 on Speed TV.
The half hour Spanish language show for Hispanic car enthusiasts in the U.S and
Central and South America, is produced in Los Angeles by Ricardo Rodriguez Long,
editor of Auto A Fondo Magazine and airs at 7PM Wednesday evenings and again on
Saturday mornings. . . . Randy Leffingwell has been commissioned by Porsche to produce the "definitive
official history of Porsche motorsports activities,"
according to David Bull who will publish the book. Its working title is
Racing History. Leffingwell is working on the project in Germany now. He will
share his progress on a blog as he interviews executives, mechanics, and drivers
and adds his own photographs to those from the company's archives. The blog uses
the book's working title: www.Porscheracinghistory.blogspot.com.
Another book on racing: "Caribbean Capers -The Incredible Story of Racing In
Cuba" was introduced at this year's Amelia Island Concours. Authored by
Joel Finn, it covers the 1957, '58 and '60 Cuban Grand Prix races in 368 pages packed
with more than 500 photographs. It is available at
Motor News Media has relocated from Urbandale, Iowa to 3710 Capitol
Circle, Ste. F Grimes, IA 5011. MNM provides new vehicle reviews, feature
and photography services to media outlets throughout the U.S. and
through IVintage Automotive Media and Materials Unit has online stores in 35
countries as well as an iPhone app.that provides concept, custom and
prototype vehicle images. Contact Kenneth Chester at 515-986-1155 or
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
Driverside.com editor-in-chief Jon
Alain Guzik has taken on the added role of west coast editor for Antenna
Magazine. He can be contacted at 415-217-8899x 107 or
As of last report, Mike Armstrong can be emailed through:
email@example.com . . .Michelle Nelson has supplanted
Marquis in the west coast office of Popular Mechanics. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
Jeff Zurschmeide, current president of
NWAPA, has a new email address:
email@example.com . . . Bruno Bornino's
email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
newest outlet is blogger/vlogger at Forbes.com covering fine
automobiles, travel destinations, men's fashion and related subjects at
http://blogs.Forbes.com/people/joshmax. "Vlogger" new to AWCOM,
probably references the videos he offers at that site and other outlets
for his varied interests, activities and talents - from guitars to
Gospel. His new email address is: team@JoshMax.com . . .
Ronald Ahrens' has relocated to Monrovia, Calif., and has a new email address:
across the finish line
Steven Gehrlein, the automotive answer man at KTSA radio station in San
Antonio for 17 years.
Glenn F. Campbell
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awards honors and events
The 2011 International Car of the Year Awards:
World Car of The Year – Nissan Leaf
World Green Car of the Year – Chevrolet Volt
Sedan of the Year: Volvo S60, Most Dependable
Luxury Car of the Year: Jaguar XJ
– Most Respected
SUV of the Year: Ford Explorer – Most Resourceful
Women's car of the year
Car Coach Lauren Fix reports:
"Women motoring writers from around the world have determined their
choices for the Women's World Car of the Year for 2011. So close was
the voting this year that the supreme award produced a dead heat –
the BMW 5 Series and the Citroen DS3. Category winners and the
Family Car - Volvo S6, Kia Sportage
Sports Car - Aston Martin Rapidev, Audi TT
Luxury Car - BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XJ
Economical Car - Citroen DS3, Mini One Diesel
A special award this year recognized the ‘Green' Car – which does
not qualify for the overall supreme award because some models are
not sold in the requisite 10 countries worldwide. The Women's World
Car of the Year 2011 – Green Car – is the Audi A1 with the Honda CRZ
a close second.
The fourteen judges selected their short list of no more than seven
cars in each category earlier this year. Final secret ballot voting
was then undertaken to produce the 2011 results."
TAWA'S Texas Auto Roundup winners
Writer's Choice – The Car of Texas 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
High Performance Car of Texas 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Family Car of Texas 2011 Dodge Journey
Alternative Powered Car of Texas 2011 Chevrolet Volt
Most Innovative 2011 Chevrolet Volt
Best New Design 2012 Fiat 500
Best Value 2012 Fiat 500
One category winner still to be announced.
EDMUNDS SAFETY CONFERENCE
Edmunds.com's May 24 conference in Washington, DC will feature top
safety experts, researchers and industry leaders addressing a
"standing-room only" crowd. Interested parties may request to attend
the kick-off cocktail party from 6-8pm May 23 by writing
Bloomberg TV Wins Top Award
For one of the few times in its 40-year history, a TV report won the
top honor in The Detroit Press Club Foundation's International Wheel
Awards competition. Its Golden Wheel went to Bloomberg TV in Detroit
for John Meaehan and Ed Caldwell's insightful "GM: Retooling an
American Icon." Numerous awards across a wide spectrum of media were
presented. For a complete listing of honorees, visit
26th Annual Huntington Beach Concours
Car and Motorcycle show June 4 + 5 in Huntington Beach Central Park.
Saturday features Hot Rods in the park and Sunday a tribute to
Cadillac, Chevrolet & Bentley as well as Triumph & Victory
Motorcycles. Dave Kunz, KABC-TV Automotive Specialist, will be the
Grand Marshall. Click here for
Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and
John Towle will be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame during a gala and fundraiser
July 29 in Long Beach, Calif. For more information and tickets:
England's Motorsport Industry Association welcomes
nominations for their Award for Outstanding Contribution to
the motorsport industry from anyone involved anywhere in the
motortsport industry. It will be presented to the honoree in the
House of Lords, July13th. Previous winners listed are all from
England but the MIA assures its is a world-wide election. The MIA
bills itself as "the world's leading trade association for
motorsport's performance engineering, services and tuning industry."
Send your vote to
email@example.com. Or contact her for more information.
A news release from the Road Racing Drivers Club named the persons
who earlier this year were inducted into the Talladega International
Motorsports Hall of Fame: Brian Redman, John Holman,
Jan Opperman,Maurice Petty and Rex White.
IMPA Spring Break, Bear Mountain State Park, NY
GAAMA, Lunch, Atlanta TBD, Nissan
NEMPA, Vehicle Connectivity Conference and Awards Dinner,
Edmunds Safety Conference, Kick-Off Party 6pm-8pm,
Newseum, Washington, D.C.
Edmunds Safety Conference, 8am-5pm, Newseum, Washington,
MAMA Spring Rally Manufacturer's Dinner, Elkhart Lake, WI
MAMA Spring Rally, Elkhart Lake, WI
WAPA Ride 'N Drive, River Farm Alexandria, VA, Fiat
APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., Berce-GM Financial
SAMA Luncheon, GM, site and date to be determined
WAJ, Dinner, So. San Francisco, Kia
Journalist Only: Mountain, Track and Off-Road Driving,
hosted by RMAP. For more info go to:
MAMA, Luncheon, Oak Brook Terrace, IL, Mercedes-Benz
Petersen Auto Museum, New Exhibit Opens, Scooters
GAAMA, Luncheon, Atlanta, GM
APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., JD Powers
APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., NTSB
SAMA Luncheon, Mazda, site and date to be determined
NEMPA Ragtop Ramble, Crustacean Crawl, Boston, MA
TAWA - A unanimous vote by members in attendance rescinded the
Texas Auto Writers Association's ban on bloggers. TAWA president
Michael Herzing said criteria will be pretty much the same as
for print and broadcast members: assuring they are legitimate
RMAP- The Cadillac CTS Coupe, Jeep Grand Cherokee,
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Sonata are
winners in the fifth annual Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Vehicle of the Year Awards. The field for the 2011 awards
included every significant new car, pickup, crossover and SUV
for sale in the region. More than 75 models received test-drive
evaluations by members of the Rocky Mountain Automotive
Press (RMAP) in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming
over the past months
"The members of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press drove this
year's winning vehicles on some of the most beautiful and
challenging roads in America," said RMAP President Roman Mica.
"We tested the cars at sea level to over 14,000 feet on some of
the biggest mountains in North America and came away sincerely
impressed by how well the winners handle the varied terrain of
the Rocky Mountain West."
Assessing the manufacturer-provided models for value,
performance, fuel economy, comfort and safety, RMAP presented
awards in five categories.
Chiseled good looks and refined performance earned the elegant
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe the RMAP 2011 New Vehicle of the Year
award for the top redesigned or new-to-market model.
Nearly unstoppable off-road and comfortable on-road, the all-new
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain SUV of
the Year among crossovers and sport-utility vehicles.
Capable of pulling a 17,800-pound trailer and boasting a new
frame and a revised turbo diesel V-8, the re-engineered 2011
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD has what it takes to be the RMAP 2011
Rocky Mountain Pickup Truck of the Year.
The RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain High-Mileage Vehicle of the Year
must be fuel-efficient but also comfortable, safe and fun to
drive. That describes the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta, which rates
30/40 mpg city/highway and delivers European-bred road manners.
Head-turning styling, a roomy interior, and a choice of
four-cylinder engines, including a turbo and a gas-electric
hybrid, makes the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan
the most impressive all-around 2011 automobile and the RMAP 2011
Rocky Mountain Car of the Year.
RMAP will host journalists for a unique
track, off-road, and mountain-driving rally in the second annual
Rocky Mountain Drive Experience June 15 and 16, 2011. Go to
information, media participation and coverage
motoring press organizations
The 17 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 Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc. -
Norma "Dusty" Brandel, President, Executive Director,
Automotive Press Association, Detroit -
Joann Muller, President,
American Racing Press Association- Stan Clinton, President,
International Motor Press Association, NYC, Mike Spinelli, President -
Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Midwest Automotive Media
Association, Chicago , IL-
Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
New England Motor
Press Association, Boston, MA -
Automotive Press Association, Portland, OR, Jeff Zurschmeide,
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
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
Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Alvin Jones, President www.washautopress.org
RE: VW China car is Urban Legend
That 1-liter VW car that supposedly will
be built in China is an internet hoax that's been circulating for
The car is a concept that was introduced by VW nearly 10 years ago.
Someone in the webworld decided to write it up as being built in
China for only $699 and the rest of the world bought it hook, line
VW may well end up putting a version of this car in
production and the latest version certainly looks much better than
the photos you ran. But it hasn't happened yet, and it will never
sell for anywhere near that price.
Anyway, love the newsletter!
All the best,
Sorry Glenn. When I got verification that one of our guys had seen
the darn thing, I thought it was a good item. Ya just can't trust
anything on the Internet. Geez! Now they are saying that Obama
really was born in Hawaii! Imagine that.
"The Austin Texas Grand Prix race track, site for a Formula One race
in the U.S. in 2012, has been named "Circuit of America," Steven Cole
Smith reports in AutoWeek."
Circuit of the Americas.
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