the road ahead
Confessions of a Magazine Junkie
By Richard Truesdell
Like many of my colleagues, I have watched as our
profession, automotive journalism, has been transformed,
first by the Internet, and over the last four years by this
relentless recession that has caused an unprecedented
consolidation among automotive publications.
Every morning before starting my work day I read a
half-dozen publishing, tech, and media blogs, trying to get
a handle on the intensifying transformation of our
profession. And it's not just the automotive publishing
segment that has been impacted. You name the genre
shelter, travel, culinary, sports, celebrity, lifestyle
all have seen titles contracting, going all-digital, or
simply closing down.
Just last week the Dow Jones publication
announced that it was going all digital
and was laying off 25 staff members. SmartMoney is not a
magazine with insignificant readership; it has a paid
circulation of more than 800,000. This reminded me of a
couple of years ago when Conde Nast shut down Gourmet when
it boasted a paid circulation of almost one million. You can
see all the bad news on how magazine advertising is
declining by clicking on this link:
Last year we witnessed a seismic event that directly and
indirectly affected us all, the Borders bankruptcy and the
closure of its 600+ newsstands. What's so funny is that I
haven't seen much of anything written on its impact on the
magazine industry. But rest assured, it's has a major impact
on single-copy sales coming in the aftermath of
well-publicized 2008 reduction of 1,000 titles it carries. With many other retail outlets,
like supermarket chains, reducing their assortments and the
space dedicated to displaying periodicals, it all paints a
pretty bleak picture for those of us who write for a living.
Where is this leading to?
Of course there's the Internet, but few of us have found the
way to fully replace good-paying magazine work by writing
primarily for Internet properties. There's a pretty simple
reason for this. The advertising that typically supported
automotive magazines, mainstream and niche, has not migrated
to the web in a meaningful way.
Don't believe me? Take a look at any of the four mainstream
automotive magazines with huge circulations and compare
their advertising packages today with their 2008
counterparts. The number of ad pages are down sharply,
especially those double-page ads from the car manufacturers.
It's not much better for niche publications. Magazines that
once enjoyed robust ad packages of 40 pages or more, now
struggle to sell 20 pages of ads. I suspect that some of
those ads are sold at a deep discount from the magazine's
rate card or are packaged together with ads in other titles.
The net result is that magazines that were once 100+ pages
now are published with less than 70 pages between the
One report I recently read said that only one dollar in 27
is migrating to the web. I'm not sure I believe it's that
bad. But the difference of the loss of ad dollars in print
magazines that hasn't migrated to the web is significant.
The question that begs to be asked is where all those
dollars are hiding? I don't have an answer.
Good journalism, automotive or otherwise, is expensive.
Expensive if contributors are to be paid a living wage. We
all bemoan that we're working harder and getting paid less
today than 10 or 20 years ago. That's a fact, the reality
that we all struggle with.
A while back, in answering a blind Craigslist ad seeking
experienced automotive writers, what I found was a
well-funded web publisher seeking contributors to produce
500-word "articles" for $10 a pop. Thanks, but no thanks.
I'd rather write for free for my own website and hope that
at some point I'll get the breakthrough I think I deserve
and find the necessary advertiser or subscriber support. But
I know it's going to be a struggle.
What keeps me going every day is that even with all the
success of the iPad, no publisher, large or small, has
really been successful in monetizing their digital
properties. I know of few digital-only publications that are
self-sustaining, Automotive Traveler
But I know we are making progress and have invested heavily
with my two partners to develop a platform we call it a
viewer that is well-suited to present magazine-quality
content to any tablet or computer.
What's great about the approach I've taken is that I have
complete editorial control over what I publish. The content
automotive and travel can be viewed on any device
running a browser (but I think it works best on devices with
screens nine inches or larger, like an iPad), that whatever
I publish is indexed by search engines and shows up as text
and image searches when you Google a search term. This is
not true, to my knowledge, with any device-specific app.
I will acknowledge that apps do have their advantages in
certain instances. I'll cite the British motoring magazine
Octane. I think that many of you will agree that Octane is a
top-tier print publication and that any of us would
welcome being published in its pages. And it should be noted
that Octane has not one, but two digital
One digital edition is what I call a magazine replica. This
is where the pages and layouts from the print version are
simply carbon copied to the app with the addition of active
links. This version suffers from the problem of when reading
text since it was originally designed for a vertical page
layout with small text requires zooming and scrolling.
But the publishers and editors of Octane have taken a
second, separate approach, what they call their interactive
edition. They have redesigned each new issue of the entire
magazine with fresh, horizontally-oriented layouts that take
full advantage of all the iPad's capabilities.
The text in the interactive edition is bigger important
for those of us who now own shares in reading glasses
companies and this interactive edition includes
outstanding videos. One case was a time-lapse film of a full
day's studio photo session of the cover story on the four
significant cars introduced in 1962 (the Ferrari GTO,
Cobra, MGB, and Lotus Elan), that are fully integrated
into the issue.
In the case of Octane, I think the digital interactive
version is even better, more compelling and engrossing read
than the already excellent print version.
As automotive journalists, we have to stop complaining and
take our digital destiny into our own hands. We have to band
together and innovate, coming up with our own fresh
editorial concepts. One of the beauties of the Internet and
the digital age that we are transitioning into, is that in
many instances we have eliminated the need for traditional
publishers. With the tools available to us, it's possible to
publish directly to our readers.
The issue remains how to support ourselves as we move to
this new and exciting publishing model. This will require a
leap of faith on the part of advertisers and sponsors.
Because we've grown up in an era where our readers expect
content on the Internet to be delivered free, we need their
support to publish the same level of high-quality, properly
edited, and fully vetted content that serves our needs,
those of our advertisers and sponsors, and most of all, our
readers. That is the reason why most of us got into this
business in the first place.
Julie Hamp's appointment as communications chief for
Motors Sales, USA, Inc. may halt or hasten the dismantling
of what at one time was rated the most potent PR force among
the automakers. Retirement, resignation and severances have
removed four seasoned veterans from the Toyota field force
and three of its PR field offices have been shuttered. Calls
to them are either greeted with "out of service' or referred
to Toyota's U.S., headquarters in Torrance, Calif. With Hamp's arrival the company may be following the perceived
communications curve reported by the Center for Media
Research that puts the marketing departments of most U.S.
companies in charge of customer communications and
fashionably assigning more marketing monies these days to
multiple new channels at the expense of auto journalism -
until the recalls begin.
Yet, Mark Walsh reports in
Online Media Daily, a new study reveals "nearly two-thirds
(64%) of people say they "hate" when a company targets them
through their social networking profile, and 58% agree that
social media marketing is invasive." Walsh concludes from
findings of the study conducted by Insight Strategy Group,
"In short, people like being able to provide feedback to
marketers via social media -- but they don't necessarily
want to be followed by them."
In another study reported in
The Social Graf by Erik Sass it was revealed that the more
time college students spent on Facebook, the more likely
they were to have low self esteem. Published in an academic
journal called Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social
Networking the study is titled "They Are Happier and Having
Better Lives than I Am': The Impact of Using Facebook on
Perceptions of Others' Lives." It is based on a survey of
roughly 425 college students asking them about their own
lives and the lives of friends, acquaintances, and
strangers. Also, the time they spent and frequency of using Facebook. Sass notes other studies have shown a
correlation between social media use and mental health
issues but not, necessarily, a causal relationship. However, Facebook's IPO flop may have put some investors in a funk.
Maynard 'Mac' Gordon Named AWcom Detroit Correspondent &
Born September 5, 1927 in (Motown) Detroit,
Gordon early on was a newspaper addict. He became editor of
his intermediate school newspaper and co-editor of his
senior high school newspaper.
Wayne State University, 'Mac' Gordon was a night editor
and recalls as one of his top stories student reaction to
the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Gordon was drafted during the Korean War in 1952 and - what
else - became editor of The Camp Gordon, Georgia Army
In 1944, upon his release from the army, he joined
Automotive News as a copy reader. 19 years later, as news
editor, he purchased a dealer-focused newsletter called
Motor News Analysis.
Later Gordon acquisitions included The Imported Car Reports
Newsletter. Gordon and five other Detroit-based auto writers
co-founded the Detroit Auto Writers Group (DAWG) in 1967. He
wrote the annual 'auto industry' report for the Encyclopedia
Americana for 25 years and in 2011 received the Lifetime
Achievement Award of the Detroit Society of Professional
He and his wife, Lucille Gordon, were married in 1949 and
have three children, Dr. Julian Gordon, Elizabeth Anne
Holmes and Adam Gordon.
Industry Insights By The Dean of Detroits Auto Writers:
DEALERS, FACTORIES SPLIT ON FACILITIES
Despite rising new car sales, new-car franchised dealers are
facing automaker pressures to modernize or expand their
Steve Wade, multi-franchise dealer in St. George, Utah, and
NADA's president in 2011-2012, is spearheading NADA's
first-ever resistance program to factory demands, which are
especially costly for small-town dealers... GM chairman &
CEO Dan Akerson tells Fortune magazine he wants a more
customer-centric automaker and for the first time will pay
dealers bonuses based on customer-satisfaction scores. Akerson fluffs off
Toyota's regaining No. 1 global ranking
in first quarter of 2012, declaring "I'd rather be the most
profitable in terms of margins." Dealers starved for shipments of hot-selling
Sonics don't agree with their boss's profit or production
DENZA'S ROLE AS COMING WORLD CAR
'Denza' means 'rising momentum' in the Mandarin language.
BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu says the 'Denza' spells a
forthcoming global role for all Chinese automakers as a
joint venture between the world's youngest and oldest
In a media conference at the Beijing exhibition, Geely Group
Vice President Frank Zhao declared that China's annual sales
are approaching 20 million units, with every "international
player here. In comparison, China now is a much more
competitive market than the U.S. and Europe."
Zhao, who has worked in Japan, Great Britain and the U.S.
(as a senior engineering executive at Chrysler Group) said
the acquisition of the Volvo brand by Geely reflects the
Westernization trend that sees more shared platforms and
engines now taking hold in the Chinese auto industry.
"Toyota has 25 platforms, and Geely only five," he explains.
"Our goal is to offer consumers vehicle products that look
all different from the outside but share the same parts and
The global 'buzz' surrounding the Denza could bring closer
the dates when the first Chinese cars are exported to and
built in the U.S., according to Yang Guoquing, China's
counsel-general in Chicago.
Yang Guoqiang spoke at a signal event - the 20th anniversary
dinner of the Chinese Association of Greater Detroit, a
supplier and service group.
EXPORTS COSTLY, SO JAPANESE
BOOST U.S. OUTPUT
Honda for the first time admits it's losing money on
exported vehicles to the U.S. The issue causing red ink is
the dollar's weakness vs. the yen, says American Honda CFO
Fumakiko Ike. Exported Hondas from Japan include the award-winning
Fit subcompact, Insight Hybrid, CR-Z and Civic Hybrids and the
Honda, like Toyota and Nissan, has stepped up sales of
vehicles built in North American plants, reaching nearly 90
percent of U.S. output in Hondas case, 85 percent at Nissan
and 73 percent at Toyota.
Each of the Japanese Big 3 is expanding production in North
America-their biggest overseas market.
According to Media Digest, the Financial Times believes the
future of news publishing is not only digital but also
mobile. The Digest says Robert Grimshaw, managing director
of the digital Financial Times, predicts that within three
years 50 percent of the newspaper's digital audience will be
accessing FT via mobile devices. .. . . A recent Nielsen
Report on a key segment of the U.S. consumer market supports
this trend. . . . As summarized by The Center For Media
Research, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are "Generation C" (Connected) It takes its personal connection
with each other and content to new levels, new devices, and
new experiences like no other age group.
device or age group, the digital content is likely to be
regulated, according to The Verge. It reports, "Senator Ron
Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) have
started drafting a crowd-sourced digital bill of rights in
hopes of preventing piecemeal laws like SOPA and CISPA
from over-regulating the internet"
Regulated or not social
networks will be under increased government surveillance
reports Media Post's Social Graf in an article detailing the
FBI's request for information about monitoring them for
terrorist threats including instant translation of` foreign
languages and mapping the locations and level of danger for
any perceived threats. That's in addition to what the CIA,
NSA and Department of Homeland Security are doing to detect,
analyze and evaluate any suspicious conversations via the
social networks. And that's with YouTube streaming four
billion online videos a day, a 25 percent increase in eight
months Reuters reported.
For no good reason autowriters.com has not until now put the Spotlight on an auto
photographer. That oversight is corrected with this look at one of the
best, Pete Lyons who has just launched his "freshly redesigned, rebuilt
and revitalized" web site featuring thousands of historic motorsports photos at
Mr. Campbell wonders how I got into this game. Well, Glenn, some lucky
people just stumble into deep chocolate. I suppose I could have done
something more PC all these years, but by great good fortune I drew a
dad who liked both photography and motorsports and taught me to combine
them. Voila, perfect lifestyle.
Writer, Photographer, Author of "CAN-AM"
Ozzie Lyons was an engineer by training and that's how he approached his
photography. He always had the latest high-end cameras and lenses, and
whenever we moved to a new house Ozzie immediately hammered up a
darkroom in the cellar.
I didn't inherit his aptitude for engineering, and I can't say sloshing
around in photo chemicals was fun, but I did find out that working with
a camera is a creative joy. Composition, panning, planning
I love it.
The first time a magazine published one of my pictures was a thrill that
still hasn't grown old.
That magazine was England's Autosport. Dad was their USA correspondent
precisely during my formative teen years, when imported sports and
racing cars made the automotive world exciting for us both, so it seemed
natural to start sending in my own racetrack work. It began with photos
and then, tentatively, apprehensively, I submitted words. I think my
first published race report was from Bridgehampton in 1964. By 1967
racing coverage was my main livelihood.
For good old Autosport I spent six seasons going all over North America
to races of all kinds: Can-Am, Trans-Am, Indycar,
Enduros, F1, even
Baja. Then for four years, 1973 through '76, I was F1 correspondent for
both Autosport and the US AutoWeek, covering every Grand Prix around the
world. That station felt pretty exalted.
More recently I've put in desk time as editor of a couple of monthly
magazines, but mainly I've enjoyed good freelance relationships with a
long list of publications (a premier one now is Vintage Racecar) and
publishers. Of my nine books to date, three are based on my beloved
Pete Lyons with father Ozzie.
To my mind, writing and photography go together. They're different but
associated means of examining and expressing what I think of as "the
Magic of Motorsports." What's also magical is how, in either discipline,
there's always something new to learn.
Long ago I switched to computers for writing, and it's been ten years
since I gladly swapped film for digital photography. Now, thanks to my
wife Lorna, the technologically gifted one in the family, I've been able
to marry those two skill sets to build an Internet presence; we've just
launched a third iteration of petelyons.com.
Goes some little way toward redressing what the Internet has done to the
print publications which used to support us all.
If I had my motorsports career to do over again, I sure would, but I'd
do more of it. I'd make the effort to attend more races, interview more
racers, visit more race shops.
I'd take more pictures, too. My silly thinking then was, "film costs
money." Now, I try not to think of the unrealized value of those uncaptured images.
And of images I did shoot but no longer have. I used to blithely mail
off film hither and yon, never worrying about getting it back. "Those
pictures are only good for this week's news, nobody will care about them
years from now."
My keen-eyed foresight argued against investing in old racecars, too.
Jake Lingeman reports in AutoWeek that this car will
the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's in Plymouth,
Mich., on July 28-29. It is the "rare and famous" Graham-Paige
known as the "Hollywood Convertible." . . .
Experts in global manufacturing will kick off the Car Management
Briefing Seminars at Traverse City, Mich., August 6- 9. One
seminar will be, "Global Manufacturing Strategies" and
the other is titled, "Tooling Up for Tomorrow's Cars." For more information
Tickets for IMPA Test Days are on sale now. The two-day program
Sept. 19-20 permits members to operate a broad number of
vehicles in a variety of venues. Ticket purchases help defray
expenses of the event that is centered at the Monticello Motor
Club, Monticello, NY. Email email@example.com or check
www.impa.org for more information, map and ticket ordering form.
Michael Herzing, president of the Texas Auto Writers Association
and host of the InWheelTime radio show, presented three industry
awards to Dodge executives at Dodge's first dealer drive away
event at Texas Motor Speedway. The 2013 Dodge Dart won
Car of Texas, Best Value of Texas and Best New Feature
Dart's TFT display. Dodge executives from left are: Shannon
Carr, Director-Southwest Business Center, George Guba, Dodge
Brand Product Planning, Ryan Nagode, Chief Interior Designer,
Ram, SRT and Dodge Brand and Richard Cox, Director-Dodge Brand.
Topless in Miami
Pictured are the winners of the SAMA second annual Topless in
Miami competition (l-r) Fiat500c Gucci Edition; Mercedes Benz
SLS AMG; Chevrolet Camaro; Audi TT-S; and the Jaguar XKR-S.
Brian Redman will serve as Grand Marshall of the
Bahamas Speed Week Revival, Nov. 24-Dec. 2, 2012. Redman joins
Patron Sir Stirling Moss and Event Ambassador Derek Bell, MBE,
for the second running of the Revival, a week-long celebration
of racing, gala gatherings parties and events that will include
a Speed Week Concert, a Miss Speed Week Beauty Pageant, the now
traditional Pictet Bank Gala Ball, the 007 Island Tour, Arawak
Cay Sprint and the Fort Charlotte Hillclimb.
The Revival salutes
the original event by entering race cars of its era: 1954-1966
as well as classic cars and modern supercars. For more
information go to:
contact: David McLaughlin,
awards honors and events
Senior Editor Jim Donnelly
won his second straight writing award from the American Auto Racing
Writers and Broadcasters Association. His column in Hemmings
Classic Car on the Indianapolis 500's centenary earned him the
prize. The prior year he won an award for the book Miller's Time,
co-written with Penske Racing South co-founder Don Miller.
AutoTrader is sponsoring a free, 60-minute webinar moderated by
Online Editor Dave Versical on July 12 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Titled "Invent The Future: Transparency & Integration," it deals with the
"disconnect between online shopping and offline purchasing." For
more information or to register go to:
Madelyn Miller is looking for car event stories for her
She welcomes word of annual or recurring auto events, particularly
those focused on women. Auto shows, enthusiast events, races, rodeos,
owners clubs, are examples. If you do not have all the details, provide
an email for a contact someone who might help. The top ten will be
listed in her online pub's annual calendar. Email her:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
John "Jay" Lamm spoofingly claims
Omaha investment whiz Warren Buffet may be alarmed about the future of
his hometown. "The noise, smoke, and general 'crapification' threatened by
LeMons' Prairie Chicken Fricassee (11-12 Aug @ Mid-America Motorplex)
could depress home prices and drive Nebraska businesses elsewhere." That
may be why Buffet is investing heavily in newspapers to suppress
While riding a 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 on assignment for
Automobile, Ronald Ahrens (right) reunited with former co-worker
Stein near Santa Barbara, Calif. They were both associate editors in the
early days of the magazine. Now freelance, Ahrens recently moved to the
West Coast where Stein, with partner Jeff Karr, specializes in
automotive corporate communications at Stein-Karr Marketing &
Communications and also does automotive, motorcycle and marine editorial
work. Ahrens is adding a new challenge this fall. In addition to
contributing to Automobile and the Automobiles desk at the New York
Times, he is launching a night class at the renowned Art Center College
of Design in Pasadena. Titled "Creating Content for Automotive Media"
the workshop will emphasize the necessity of combining writing skills
with good photography and video. Persons interested in enrolling should
go to the school's website for night classes:
The last (and first) we heard, the Maserati Trofeo World Series is
including Infineon Raceway in California on its world tour of top racing
venues. Launched in 2010, the
the Maserati Trofeo MC, is the international mono-brand racing
championship, dedicated to all drivers aiming to race in the GT class
with a prestigious brand. It offers a " Fly and Drive' package,
specifically made for gentlemen drivers." A brief scan of the entry
form did not indicate women were excluded but it probably is something
to pursue next year, with four of this year's seven race dates expired.
Two years after it was revived, National Speed Sport News has launched a
digital edition on Itunes, Speed Sport Magazine. Powered by
it combines the look of the print version plus interactivity and bonus
content and is available for both iPhone and iPad. . . . Michael Harley
and Christian Wardlaw have teamed up to launch Speedy Daddy, a digital
publication aimed at parents with a passion for driving who want a safe
car for carrying their kids. The site went live in January, and had
reached 15,000 unique organic monthly visitors prior to an official
launch in June. In addition to using the main Internet site, consumers
can follow Speedy Daddy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,
Tumblr, or sign up for an RSS feed of the daily updates. Wardlaw and
Harley will continue to contribute to other publications.
Michael Karesh's True Delta got a record 25,000 reports
from car owners telling him about their car's reliability. They are
posted on his web site:
www.truedelta.com/car-reliability. He's added
car reviews to the site and he's making it mobile friendly. Initially,
it is for reliability stats but he is adding more, starting with the
fuel economy form and reliability survey. . . .The UK's Guild of Motoring
Writers and Jaguar have teamed for what appears to be the 46th annual
presentation of the Sir William Lyons award to an aspiring motor writer
aged 17 to 23 years-old. Named after Jaguar's founder, the award
includes cash and prize as well as a trophy. Entry is restricted to
persons holding or eligible for a UK passport and resident in the UK. .
. . Also from England comes word of interactive paper. Media Digest
reports that students at the University of Central Lancashire are
"collaborating with a printed electronics company to develop smart
paper that responds to human touch. "The aim is to bridge the
digital gap, providing new ways for people to interact with news and
foster communication and social engagement within local communities."
And from Media Digest a quote we like, it was said by legendary war
photographer, Horst Faas, recently deceased. "You
can't photograph a flying bullet, but you can capture genuine fear." . .
.AutoZone and CarHelp have partnered to offer the formers' discounted
parts with the latters' online reputation management, information and
assistance to dealerships and repair facilities.
There's likely to be a lot of traffic on Lane Changes when Road &
Track's move to Ann Arbor, Mich. is finally done. That could be by the
end of September. CarPubInsider editor Eric H. Killorin writes the move
is the likely beginning of consolidation amongst the big four auto
magazines if not to two, at least to three. In the meantime, staffers at
the renowned West Coast title are, as the Scottish say, "prankling" on
the hot plate of financial and career uncertainty. Automotive News
reports there will be no wholesale personnel moves to the Midwest, with
each person being evaluated as to willingness to relocate and
suitability for positions open. The economic logic for the move is in
place, the details of making it work are left to Larry Webster, who now
is Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track and Eddie Alterman will
continue as editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. Former R&T
editor-in-chief, Matt De Lorenzo will serve as a consultant for an
unspecified period of time.
After 22 years serving as
Toyota's West Coast field public relations
agency, MDPR principal Michael Dobrin has announced that his firm has
resigned the account.
In resigning, Dobrin said "We feel it is time that corporate
communications vice president Mike Michels and field operations manager
Celeste Migliore choose their own team."
In addition to handling all facets of Toyota's field operations and
serving motoring journalists from Vancouver, B.C., to San Diego the
agency and its staff were involved in producing product launches,
providing dealer and regional support for all manner of community
programs as well as administering press fleet operations in facilities
from Seattle to San Francisco. Prior to the Toyota assignment, MDPR
handled similar regional public relations programs for Chrysler.
Dobrin has been an automotive journalist himself since high school in
the 50s. ("Yes, I was the editor of the high school newspaper and
wrote the monthly hot rod column"). His love of cars led to pr gigs with
the SCCA and the National Hot Rod Association, where he worked under
Wally Parks, as well as a long string of free lance writing assignments.
Beginning in the 80s and for nearly 15 years, he was the publicist for
the Grand National Oakland Roadster Show, world's great showcase of the
custom car and hot rod art forms. In the 70s he was public information
officer at the Oakland Museum of California, where he later initiated
and co-curated the 1996-97 landmark museum showing, "Hot Rods and
Customs: The Men and Machines of California's Car Culture." He was also
the curator at the same museum of a major retrospective on the life and
times of American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. In the early 60s he
was with the San Francisco Chronicle's promotions department.
MDPR will be operating out of its Alameda, CA, offices until July 31,
2012, termination date of the Toyota assignment. The agency has taken new
space for continued public relations operations and editorial services
at 2901 Park Ave., Suite B6, Soquel, CA 95073. Dobrin can be contacted
at email@example.com and the cell phone is (510) 693-9701.
Paul Lienert, second-generation member of a notable Detroit auto writing
family will take over as Motor City bureau chief for Reuters on July 2.
He currently serves as the president and editorial director of Global
Auto Systems, which he co-founded 30 years ago. Until he is settled in,
the Reuters switchboard number in Detroit is 313-967-1900. Email protocol
is: firstname.lastname@example.org . .
.Former freelance writer
Rex Roy has "seen his light" and returned to the
independent life after a brief stint with a Lincoln car PR
agency. He is now providing PR, marketing and media services to some
startups, tech companies and companies in the "green sector." He can be
Regis Communications, Inc. at 332 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe,
Mich. 48236. Telephone 313-882-2400. . . . "Click and Clack", the
brothers, Tom and Ray, have announced the end of their live Car Talk
show on NPR this fall. The Detroit Bureau reports they will be doing
other things for the network and that the show's long-time producer,
Doug Berman, "estimates his team has enough material to repurpose
for at least eight years without the rebroadcasts repeating."
has been added to the Automotive News staff as a general assignment
reporter. Previously, he was an editorial intern at Waste & Recycling
News. Reach him at email@example.com. . . .
Peter Bohr, one-time auto
writer for the Riverside, Calif. Press-Enterprise, now writes a column
for the 4 million plus circulation Westways, a publication of the
Club of Southern California. He resides in Eastsound, Wash.
And can be reached at: 360-376-3403 or
Tom Appel has been promoted to publisher of Consumer Guide Automotive from
associate publisher. He succeeds Frank Peiler who continues as publisher
of Collectible Automobile. Damon Bell, moves from Consumer Guide
editor to senior auto editor. . . .Channel 10 in San Diego has made
changes but auto reporter Bob Lawrence is still very much there at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 619-237-6320. . .
"Fitz" at the
McComb Daily out side of Detroit can now be reached at
. . send auto news to Michigan Citizen publisher
. . . .and for The Washington Informer: in D.C.,
. . Indianapolis freelance writer Stirling Matheson's email is:
email@example.com (good town and good first name for an auto
Glenn F. Campbell
3rd Annual Sonoma Historic Motorsports
Festival, Infineon Raceway, CA
Trail Day, Cross Section of SUVS, Calamigos Ranch, Malibu, CA
PAPA: Event: Phoenix, AZ: Dodge
APA: Luncheon: Detroit Athletic
Club: Detroit, MI: J.D. Power
MPG Petersen Museum Annual Design
Panel, Los Angeles, CA
WAPA: Dodge Dart Ride & Drive
MPG: Luncheon: STBD
APA: Luncheon: Detroit Athletic
Club: Detroit, MI: Honda
IMPA: Luncheon: New York City, Honda
NEMPA: Ragtop Ramble: Boston, MA
NEMPA: Cool Cars For Kids Event:
CAR Management Briefing Seminars:
Traverse City, MI
APA: Luncheon: Detroit Athletic
Club: Detroit, MI: Kia
Concours d'Elegance: Palos Verdes, CA
Automotive News Marketing Seminar,
IMPA:Test Days, Monticello Motor
Paris Motor Show Press Days, Paris,
Moscow Int'l Auto Show, Moscow,
29 - Oct. 14
Paris Motor Show Public Days, Paris,
MAMA: Fall Rally Manufacturers
Dinner, Hoffman Estates, IL
MAMA: Fall Rally Driving Event,
Hoffman Estates, IL
MPG: Track Day, Fontana, CA
TAWA: Truck Rodeo, San Antonio, TX
APA/NADA: Luncheon, MGM Grand,
APA/Consumer Reports: Luncheon,
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.
American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.
Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director
Automotive Press Association
Joann Muller, President
American Racing Press Association
Stan Clinton, President
Mike Spinelli, President
Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Davis Adams, President
Tom Appel, President
Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA
Laura Burstein, President
New England Motor
Keith Griffin, President
Nik Miles, President
Phoenix Automotive Press
Cathy Droz, President
Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Nathan Adlen, President
Southern Automotive Media
Jaimie Flores, President
Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Texas Auto Writers Association
Truck Writers of
Tom Kelley, Executive Director
Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA
Washington Automotive Press Association
Jessica Anderson, President www.washautopress.org
Help us make sure you continue to get the information you
want the way you want it. Keep your autowriters.com profile
current. Fill out the
form online. Thank you!
2012 NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE
John Rettie reports that there has been a good response to
the 2012 National Automotive PR Survey. However, he would still
like to have more journalists participate so the deadline to respond
has been extended until Monday July 2.
The biennial survey is
truly national this year as it is no longer sponsored by MPG and
more than half the regional auto groups have shown their support
by encouraging their members to respond.
The 2012 survey is
being fielded as an entirely independent venture by the Gronstedt Group with Rettie
managing it. In the seven years
since the survey was first conducted it has become a valuable
benchmarking tool for auto companies and they truly value your
Rettie would like to thank all those journalists who have
already completed the survey so far. He encourages those of you
who haven't yet completed it, or have meant to but keep putting it
off, to please do so.
Click here to
go to the Survey.
Re: Kim Custer And Other Thoughts
I always enjoy the current issue of the Autowriters.com
newsletter you furnish, and appreciate being on your mailing
list. I think I recall your phone inquire(s) to me perhaps
upwards of 10 years ago, when I was a staff editor at Motor
Trend and more or less feeling on perpetual overwhelm with
relentless deadlines. You may well have been in the formative
stages of getting Autowriters.com up and running, and I believe
you were laying out and updating your database - hence your
proactive contact. If we had met, I had forgotten our
introduction or otherwise did not recognize your name. Of
course, I shortsightedly and with more than a substantial degree
of self-importance regarded the interruption as a distraction
that didn't help me get my work done. If I was less than cordial
as a result, I apologize. You should be congratulated on your
perseverance and the valuable resource you now create.
Autowriters.com helps keep me in the loop on industry players
and issues that would otherwise be off my radar given that I'm -
for now - on the sidelines of the auto journo world.
Specifically, I'd like to thank you for your mention in your
most recent newsletter of Kim Custer's passing. Kim is a guy I
might otherwise never have thought of again in my lifetime - it
had been years since I'd seen him or heard his name mentioned.
In my limited experience with Kim during his time at Kia, he was
the consummate "great guy". Given some of the online remarks
I've read, it doesn't sound like Kim had a real easy go of
things in life. Nevertheless, he apparently found a way to keep
his joy and share it with most everyone he encountered. At age
54 I can relate to perhaps some aspects of the ageism he may
have experienced late in his career - and it hurts. I guess it's
no secret that the auto journalism profession does not treat
aging, graying scribes particularly well. But, here's an
optimistic guy like Kim who keeps plugging along, staying
upbeat, working hard, and trying to prove to prospective
employers that he still had a valuable contribution to make.
Then, some terminal condition signals the end before there's any
opportunity for him to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. And we
know his career hadn't made him an independently wealthy man.
What a sobering scenario to contemplate in an era of average
annual CEO compensation equating to 244 years worth of the
average worker's salary.
I dunno. At the risk of sounding excessively maudlin, it's the
kind of story that breaks your heart. An American tragedy of
sorts. Good guys like Kim deserve to be remembered. Apparently,
Automotive News ran his picture and an announcement, but that
nugget in your newsletter mention is what flagged his passing
for me. Thanks again. Keep up the good work, and I wish you
Sioux Falls, SD
Shelby Piece And Other Tidbits
Enjoyed the Carroll Shelby section & other tidbits. Here's a tidbit re Shelby:
Rinsey Mills, the British author, completed his masterwork
CARROLL SHELBY The Authorized Biography, over 500 pages and
hardbound, and got it out on the market only to have his subject
die soon after. Mill's book went right up to the current year.
The book was first published in the UK. Mills is somewhat of a
specialist on the AC marquee.
In the book Mills has a tidbit about Shelby being chagrined
after Paul Dean of the LA Times "outed" the fact that the
427 Cobras that Shelby had discovered weren't as old as claimed.
Mills claims Shelby exacted some revenge but then frustrates the
reader by not telling what it was! Dean now contributes to the
Robb Report and many other "high line" life style publications.
Trevor Legate, another Brit who has written books on Cobras, is
coming out with one that's a true limited edition, described by
him as 12 x 12 inches, 160 pages, 99 euros, 289 copies printed,
not for general sales, lots of nice words and happy pics (mostly
Remember all the Karl Ludvigsen historical stories?
The Ludvigsen Library, the vast collection has been acquired by
the Collier Collection. Managed by the not-for-profit Revs
Institute for Automotive Research of Naples, Florida, the
Collection has more than 1 million books, documents and images.
Ludvigsen, a string saver extraordinaire, began saving race
programs, photos, etc. more than 60 years ago. He was also an
editor at several car magazines, and even a GM PR man for a
Miles Collier owns the Museum, he is the son of a man who was one
of the first to sponsor racing in America. Ludvigsen kept his aviation, aerospace, military and history
collections, and items pertaining to books he still plans to
write on a history of forced induction, an updating of his
classic Corvette: America's Star-Spangled Sports Car, and a
return to a favorite subject, Porsche, with two volumes on the
wartime activities of Ferdinand Porsche.
# # #
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