Reuters has given Jay Rosen $100,000 to seed his NewAssignment.Net idea of pro-am, open-source journalism whereby volunteers and professionals collaborate to research and share intelligence.  Where the amateurs leave off the “pros” take over to assure standards are consistent and deadlines are met.  It is an experiment in using the internet’s reach to investigate and develop stories that otherwise might go unreported.  If it catches on, there may be a place for pro-am journalism in the auto world.  The American Press Institute reports, “circulation, readership and print ad revenue are shrinking faster than online audiences and online spending are growing. But the API study concludes, "the good news for newspaper companies is that many of the opportunities are local."  Examples provided were smaller, non-daily community pubs, small business and specific interest group services enhanced by ties to the web.  While not mentioned specifically, the opportunity for increased circulation and revenue exists in going beyond simply reproducing auto sections on the web.  Jack Neff, writing in Ad Age, suggests that consumers may be suffering from “Opinion Fatigue” a phenomenon only likely to increase with the coming elections.  He deems it a crisis for big marketers with people hanging up on telephone surveyors and online polls proving statistically weak.  Studies show that 32% of internet responses come from .025 of the population and 50% from less than 5%.  Next for the fatigue factor could be the information redundancy (automotive and other) facilitated by the web.  Like “enough already.”  As a professor at the Wharton School of Business observed recently: The Internet may be filled with people using blogs and chat rooms to share information, but that may not be enough to reliably replace the local news researched by trained journalists. "For a newspaper to be appealing, it has to have competent staff," he said.


The September Newsletter and the item about the new website Engines and Heels (up but under construction) brought this response from John Dinkel: “I let my wife read the current newsletter and she has decided to start an on-line auto site called "Engines are Hell". It's for all women, hispanic or otherwise, who consider themselves auto enthusiast widows.” . . . Mike Davis’s comments about today’s auto journalists earned a number of “amens” and amendments, including the suggestions that “too many of them can’t drive.”  Dave Satz wrote: “Michael Davis tells the truth. Especially about "pack journalists." How many times do we have to hear "xxx American company will be bankrupt by the end of the month"? Or "not as refined as a Honda"? (Driving Hondas, other than the S2000, I was unaware of much refinement.) Good for him for speaking up.” . . . Belated condolences to Josh Max on the death of his father, Stanley P. Friedman, 81. Josh sent the note a few weeks back and we lost it.  His Dad was an award-winning photographer with UPI and a successful freelance writer, he authored three books, including one on President Reagan and another on the Kennedy family.


Car and Driver is one of four Hachette Filipacchi titles to offer free ad-supported mobile web sites although recent surveys show that only 0.4 % of cell phone owners have ever used their phone to watch a paid video.  Even so, Time Inc. is shedding 18 of its titles in order to focus on developing the digital presence of its best-known brands. . . . Automotive journalist and novelist Kevin Clemens has founded Demontreville Press, Inc. to specialize in, novel length fiction, short stories, essays and even collections of columns that are automotive, motorcycle or adventure travel related. He plans to publish and promote five new works per year.  Authors and writers
should send three typed chapters along with a synopsis and one page bio to:
Demontreville Press, Inc. Box 835 Lake Elmo, Minnesota 55042-0835.  Emailed manuscripts will not be considered. For more guidelines check . . . For would-be-published writers, Wooden Horse News reports The Chicago Manual of Style is available online at . . . Gunnar Heinrich blogs at that CAR leads a bevy of British mags, Top Gear, EVO, and Classic Car among them from whence the greatest automotive hard copy springs.  So far, reader comments on his blog all agree with his sentiments and put down their U.S. counterparts. . . . The Truth About Cars may be sold shortly (if not already) but its feisty attitude will remain according to editor-in-chief Robert Farago who hopes the sale will bring more pay to the site’s phalanx of writers. . . . At this writing it is either our Mac or the web site but we remain unable to open Winding Road, the David E. Davis helmed enthusiast emagazine that has been on the web for a number of months. . . . The Media Cornerstone Award was presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Minority Enterprise Agency to On Wheels, the first national auto media for minorities.  Accepting was Randi Payton founder and CEO of On Wheels. Payton’s On Wheels will present its own annual Diversity Awards of the Year for the 11th year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 9.  Nominations for all awards close Oct. 20. They include: Diversity awards for Motorsports, Automotive Advertising, Company Executives of the Year (Afro-American, Asian-American and Latino) and Urban Truck.  Complete information is available at www.onwheelsinc.comAutomotive Rhythms (AR), will extend its unique persona to the small screen when Automotive Rhythms Television (ARtv) premieres on Comcast Cable On Demand.  It is the latest addition to AR’s multiple media formats including the Internet, e-Newsletters, Automotive Rhythms, The Magazine, special events and car shows.  AR president Kimatni Rawlins said, “With ARtv, you can watch recent auto shows and events geared around popular music, fashion, sports, travel and technology, in addition to getting up close and personal with our vehicle reviews via informative multimedia production packages.” . . . Veteran AutoWeek, freelance and web autowriter Larry Edsall tells us his  ', an auto enthusiasts (and motorsports and classic cars) website, has added some new categories to its coverage, including "Road Trips" (self-explanatory) and "Book Reviews" (almost self-explanatory,except that we've also done one movie review as well), and we've just launched Larry's Blog, my almost daily perspective on things automotive -- and, from time to time, perhaps on some things not automotive."


If you haven’t met Al Vinikour, it’s not his fault.  He has traveled the hallways and byways of autodom with a raft of stories, one liners and self-deprecating humor longer than most of the people he deals with have been in the industry.  He meets, greets and remembers names and faces with a salesman’s practiced ease.  That, in fact, is his day job and has been for 39 years.  It keeps him connected with the PR side of the automotive business while his avocation keeps him writing about his passions: automobiles and airplanes.  Based in Detroit, his Vinikour Communications represents North American Precis Syndicate (distributor of news and feature material) to the automotive, aerospace and defense industries.  In addition, he also sells ads for and helps develop a number of the automotive press association directories and on occasion, produces internal or external directories for auto companies.  His love of flying got him started writing and in the course of those stories, put him at the controls (albeit briefly) of bombers and other military aircraft.  He began his auto writing when some of his contacts asked him to cover events they could not attend.  It has grown or as Al would not resist saying “groaned” from there and his freelance auto outlets now include the Pioneer Press newspapers in Chicagoland, the Journal-Register newspapers in the east, the Fort Worth Business Press and  He also finds “homes” for occasional pieces about auto-related aftermarket items and gadgetry.


AutoWeek, has hired a new publisher, Tony Merpi.  Formerly the sales and marketing director of the Automotive News Group, Merpi is a 30-year veteran of Crain Communications Inc., which owns AutoWeek and Automotive News.  He replaces Rich Ceppos, who has left the company. . . . Matt DeLorenzo is returning to the West Coast as the rumored replacement for Thom Bryant when he decides to retire as editor-in-chief at Road &Track.  Matt was AutoWeek’s west coast editor before relocating to taking the top editing job and then Detroit editor for Road & Track.  Despite the housing prices, Matt is said to be delighted with his California redux. . . . Tom Fournier reports that Price Digests that provide professional vehicle valuation and identification information, is no longer owned by Primedia. The new company is Prism Business Media. . . . Gavin Conway is the new editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine. . . . Russ Heaps, long-time South Florida autowriter has added Hispanic Magazine to his outlets. . . .  Paul Van Valkenburgh writes “After 125 consecutive editorial columns in Race Car Engineering magazine over the last 13 years, I can't think of any significant topic left uncovered, so I'm (writing) my closing summary.”  He starts teaching a graduate class in hybrid electric vehicles in a few months, and will continue to work on his own kit-car version. . . .  Camilo Alfaro is the new Automotive Editor for the Pioneer Press which is part of the Chicago Sun Times Group and circulates 250,00O copies every week in Chicagoland and adjacent communities in Wisconsin and Indiana. . . . Chris Jensen has accepted a buy out from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and will leave at the end of the month, after 22 years there.  He and his wife, Cheryl, will repair to family property in New Hampshire where Chris will continue to cover the auto industry as a freelancer (several NY Times assignments already lined up).  No contact info at this point and no named replacement at the Plain Dealer but, Chris writes, his replacement will not do product reviews and will not do much traveling.



16-18   SAE Convergence, Transportation, Electronics, Detroit
19        IMPA luncheon, NYC, Saturn
19-21   TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo- Fort Worth
22        Extreme Auto Fest
24        APA Luncheon, Chicago Daimler-Chrysler Financial

3          APA/MEMA Luncheon, Detroit, Supplier Economic Impact Study
9          APA Luncheon, Detroit, Consumer Reports
15        WAPA Luncheon, DC, Audi


19-21   TEXAS TRUCK DAYS ,Texas AutoWriters Association, Fort Worth
22        URBAN RALLY. Washington Automotive Press Association Mclean, VA

15-16    MPG TRACK DAYS, Willow Springs
17        SEAMO Rideand Drive, Roswell, GA


25-26   Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Show, Dayton
25-27   Automotive Testing Expo, Novi, MI
31        SEMA Show Media Days, Las Vegas

1         SEMA Show Media Days, Las Vegas
3         NEMPA Media Days, New England International Auto Show, Boston


The 13 regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere.  If they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefits.


APA      Automotive Press Association, Detroit - John Lippert,
IMPA    International Motor Press Association, NYC -
MAMA   Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
MPG      Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
NEMPA  New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
NWAPA  Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
PAPA      Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix-
RMAP      Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
SEAMO    Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
TAWA      Texas Auto Writers Association, Red Oak TX -, Albert Flores,
TWNA     Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,
WAJ      Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco  -, Michael Coates, president,

     Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C. -

- 30 -


Glenn F. Campbell