the road ahead
The people have spoken and they are saying
they do not want to pay for content online. The New
York Times has dropped charges for its “Select” content.
CNN, Economist and Financial Times
preceded it among others dropping barriers to their content.
From bloggers to professionals, it increasingly appears
that it will be advertising that will monetize their offerings.
Complicating this form of collecting for content is Band
Promiscuity as reported by the Center for Media Research.
The numbers that currently most often determine an ad’s
value are being diluted by news readers or
viewers normally visiting as many as 16 different news
properties a week.
The peripatetic consumer supports the
conclusion by Online Spin Columnist Max Klehoff
that “The Future of News Is Small,” following a
roundtable discussion of the subject with fellow Spin
columnist Dave Morgan, Buzzmachine’s Jeff Jarvis
and Business Week’s Steve Baker. The latter offered
the interesting prediction that “Editors will go the way of
the linotype machine. Increasingly, human editing will
be viewed as an expense and a delay that few can afford.
Algorithms, editing software and search engines will handle
much of the work. Communities will bounce around the stories
and edit in their own way.”
Klehoff points out that as the
importance of the editor or other aspects of the present day
newspaper decreases, "the importance of the individual
reporter or voice will rise.” He elaborated, “... If we
are in a long-term period of eroding trust in what’s big and
institutional, then we are bound to enter a period of
intense consciousness and value over what is small... This
period will bring tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurial, independent, innovative thinkers to shape
what does become the news business.”
Shannon Atkinson of Tigard, Ore. was not satisfied
with the automotive sites he found on the Internet. An
automotive enthusiast with a computer background, he decided
to create one of his own. The result is
self-proclaimed “Best Car and Truck Forum Site On The
Internet.” The key word is “forum” because
Njection emphasizes the web’s interactive nature, offering
Forums by make, language and region; Blogs by technical
contributors; an AutoWiki capable of being modified by all
registered users of the site and moderated by pros; a World
Map showing the location of site members and a World
Calendar of automotive events and links to them.
Atkinson will pay contributors based on the hits and
advertising “click-throughs” their work generates.
From Wooden Horse News: Go is a new travel
magazine from the publisher of Outside, for active,
affluent men. It includes a “Go Fast” feature
with “one of the foremost automotive writers in the United
States.” . . . ZOOM-ZOOM is a new global customer
magazine from Mazda. A partnership with London
publisher Redwood Custom Communications resulted in
the 1.5 million-circulation title in five languages to eight
countries, including the US and Canada. . . .
Continental, the general in-flight magazine of
Continental Airlines, has added a new Go for a Spin
department that will report back on a test drive of a luxury
automobile, inspiring readers to check it out for an
adventure of their own. . . . Laura Burstein
has been invited to play with the boy bloggers aggregated at
Jalopnik. She also blogs “Girl On Cars” for
www.CNET.com and writes
for Forbes Autos.
Jan Wagner who writes
and takes outstanding photos for his web site and newspaper
column has added hosting “You Auto Know” talk show on
KCEO AM 1000 to his busy schedule that now includes
coverage of power boat and air races. The radio show
is archived for download at
Chris Beddows has introduced TACH NEWS a
monthly newsletter for The Auto Channel.com. . . .
Jill Amadio, auto columnist for Entrepreneur
magazine and www.KBB.com
adds a new column at
www.WomenEntrepreneur.com. She's also ghostwritten a
mystery and credits Denise McCluggage for suggesting
the title: A Moment in Crime. . . . Automotive
Rhythms has launched a new web platform,
to provide another way to view its Automotive Rhythms
Television programs and compliment its
Keith Griffin has added Life Publications, a
171,000 circ. monthly newspaper group to his outlets.
They serve the towns around Greater Hartford and are
starting a new automotive section with Griffin as the sole
product reviewer. He’ll also write at least one
article a month on automotive topics. His first was on top cars for 2008.
John Rettie is building a new and different auto site
on the web. Slowly. That’s a frustration of his
entrepreneurial life: postponing possibilities while tending
to actualities in or at hand.
Of those, he has many, including a monthly column on digital
photography for Rangefinder, a magazine for
professional photographers and another column on web
technologies for After Capture, a magazine for
professionals about what to do after the image has been
captured. He also conducts the annual Automotive PR
Survey sponsored by the Motor Press Guild, which
he conceived while serving as that group’s president for a
second time in 2004 and 2005. He also was president of
MPG in 1992.
John consults on digital photography and the computer
industry as well as automotive PR. However, he is
primarily an auto writer, having started in 1971 where his
first review, he recalls, introduced him to the tightrope of
the craft: reviewing a “horrible” iteration of a brand for
its owner magazine. That was in his native England
where he designed, built and marketed plastic VW
cowls for eight years while also freelancing in the States
and then partnering in a U.S. photo,
advertising and public relations shop after moving here
permanently. In the U.S, he
has been an editor for Meyer’s Publishing, West Coast
Bureau Chief for Ward’s Communications, and Editorial
Director for J.D. Power and Associates where he
created its first web site and then became Director of Automotive
Content for www.jdpower.com.
For three years, while with JD Power, he also wrote a weekly
road test column for the New York Times Regional
Newspaper Group. His auto writing and photography skills
take him to events around the world as a journalist and
sometimes participant, most recently Dakar 2007.
Another web site in the offing is his RocknRoll Photo
Gallery. While a student at Leeds University,
Rettie was fortunate enough to photograph many famous rock
groups that performed at the school's weekly Saturday Hop. It
is a matter of finding time to select the best from hundreds of
shots of those he covered, among them: The Who -- Live at Leeds,
Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Yes,
Pink Floyd and Procul Harum.
Another of his site’s where time is standing still features
his Glamour Photos Calendars and out-takes.
While a third, Web Insights, is running as well as
up. His chief web venture, however, is the new auto
site. He believes the web as well as eliminating the
publisher, producer and director middlemen is creating a new,
short-attention-span, sound-bite genre. He is building
his site accordingly. John no longer believes the
Internet’s “Long Tail” will make penny prices
feasible. And with subscription models not working, he
is back to ad servers as the likely way content will be
monetized in the future- “the cream rising to the top” from
the multitudes of content providers the web enables.
Worth noting is that while blogs are hot, making money with
them is not. Simon Dumenco,
reports in Ad Age that one of the nation’s best known blogs,
the Huffington Post, has consumed $10 million in
venture capital and is yet to turn a profit - despite not
paying its celebrity bloggers. Meanwhile, AWCOM continues
its search of the top 100 automotive blogs. So far, The
Auto Extremist is the top nominee and that’s without ranking
high in blogging’s three main virtues as cited in
AutolineDetroit’s recent program on blogs.
John Neff, editor of
www.Autoblog.com rates “immediacy”as
blogging’s chief value; Ed Garsten, former AP auto writer
and now Chrysler's blog master, cites building community as
the drive behind the carmaker’s media and consumer
blogs while Scott Burgess of the Detroit News says the
opportunity for interaction, personality and more
than print space allows, propel the newspaper’s blogs. And,
underlying all three, the fact that the public is
turning to the internet for their information and
The Auto Extremist is topical but no
where in the league with Autoblog.com that strives to be
first on the web with news and, like Wikipedia, relies on
the self-correcting nature of the worldwide web to append
and amend breaking news. Nor does the Extremist build
an interactive community. It does build “fans” much
like traditional print columnists but there is not much give
and take. Its virtue is writer Peter DeLorenzo’s
clear, authoritative voice reflecting an insider’s
knowledge, an outsider’s objectivity and a reasoned passion
for good sense to prevail.
Other nominees in our search so far are: Neff’s
Ask Patty.typepad.com – Automotive Advice for
Women; the Driving Women Blog at Edmunds.com/women;
Blog; Cars.about.com by Aaron Gold; Michael Knight at
The Bell Curve by James Bell
of www.Intellichoice.com; TheGarageBlog by
Gary Grant and
friends at the www.garageblog.com; and
You are invited to
nominate your favorite auto blog:
aggregate, corporate or solo while AWCom seeks a sponsor for
top blog awards. Please submit your nomination(s) to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include links to your
A new nationwide contest to select some favorite
vehicles has been announced by four Texas auto writers:
Marlon Hanson, Alan Gell, Kelly Foss and
Gretha Gudmundsson. The Readers Choice
Awards are designed for readers of newspapers, magazine
and websites. Voting is free and no inducements to
participate in the online voting are offered at
The winners will be announced at a special press conference
on Tuesday’s Media Day at SEMA. . . A provision in the new contract between publisher
and the Newspaper Guild prevents management from demanding
that print reporters must write for the web.
Ultimate Garages II is not a book about housing cars,
working on cars, nor even the treasured cars cosseted in the
remarkable facilities shown in rich color (260 photographs)
and described with a minimum of hyperbole. It is about
acts of love - 23 lovers with varied tastes and means,
expressing their passion. A passion that celebrates the
possessing as much as the possessions. And for most a
kind of obsession which David E. Davis, Jr. aptly
captures in his foreword to this handsome coffee table book
by quoting collector William B. Ruger, Sr., “I
believe the definition of obsession is to continue to pursue
the original goal long after you have forgotten what it
was.” Ultimate Garages II is available through
bookstores, specialty motoring booksellers, and by calling,
David Bull Publishing at 602-852-9500 or by visiting
the Web site at
www.bullpublishing.com. Retail price: $34.95.
Also new from David Bull Publishing is Can–Am Challenger by
Peter Bryant. This 384-page book with 143 black
and white and color photographs, is about race cars -
designing, building and racing them. Bryant,
self-described as “the Cockney FI mechanic who designed and
built America’s best Can-Am race cars,” provides a wealth of
detail and insider looks at this legendary era in U.S.
racing when innovation and experimentation trumped
restrictions and regulations. In his career Bryant
worked with some of the top names in motorsports, including:
John Surtees, Jo Bonnier, Graham Hill,
Mickey Thompson, Carroll Shelby, Carl Haas
and Jackie Oliver, who wrote the foreword.
Hardly a tell-all, more a tell-it-like it-was, Can-Am
Challenger is available at $49.95 through bookstores,
specialty motoring booksellers, and by calling 602-852-9500
Back home after a hospital stay, Shav Glick,
widely liked and respected recently retired Los Angeles
Times motorsport writer, is seeing friends - his wife
and heavy medication schedule allowing. He was pleased
that the paper asked him to write a by-lined obit of his long–time friend, Wally Parks. Cards can be sent to
Shav at 501 Mercury Lane, Pasadena, CA 91107.
(and always was) “Test Days” for IMPA, not “Track
Days” as AWcom was advised by a member or two of that
pioneer auto journalists organization. Held in
September, the recent Test Days were reported as the
“most successful in recent memory.”. . .
And, while we are at
it, contrary to what was stated in our September newsletter,
the Automotive Industries
title is still around. AWcom was reminded of this by a
China's largest B2B auto parts sourcing platform, has entered
a partnership with Automotive Industries (A.I.). Gasgoo.com is
dedicated to playing a role in connecting China and
world automotive industries.
States of Toyota is a new tome by Peter DeLorenzo,
aka The AutoExtremist. His blog describes it as
“a never-before-seen primer on Detroit.” Its subtitle
is ”How Detroit squandered its legacy and enabled Toyota to
become America’s Car Company.” Perhaps “The Arrogance
of Ignorance” (“We’ll push ‘em back into the sea”) “Death by
Assumption” (They don’t know how to build cars”) or Suicide
by Presumption ("Amercians Won’t buy Jap cars”) could also
work. The United States of Toyota is currently
available on Amazon.com, in the $30 range, and at
Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com and
Powells.com. . . . Motor Trend Executive Editor
Matt Stone has penned McQueen’s Machines, for
MBI Publishing. With a forward by Steve
McQueen’s son, Chad. It includes
behind-the-scenes family stories about the actor’s passion
for cars, motorcycles and racing and a number of previously
unpublished photos among the 219 color photos in the
176-page book. The book is available in bookstores
everywhere in November 2007 or through
Vince Bodiford remains interested in “Worst
Car” nominees. Bob Storck suggests “cars listed
be given some justification: shoddy engineering,
inappropriate marketing, durability, lack of support, etc.
It would be important to only choose from cars well enough
known to be recognized ... the first half century was filled
with market failures like the Rockne, Stafford,
Winton, Marmon, etc. How many Brazilian, South
African or Indonesian brands would you recognize?” Send your
CAR COLLECTOR is celebrating 30 years as a
magazine and is publishing a Collector's Issue with over 200
pages and a print run of over 100,000... Editor Lyndon
Bell advises that the correct URL for the Urban
Wheels Awards is
www.urbanwheelawards.com . . . Aston-Martin is
the top “Cool” brand in a survey by Brand Republic,
the United Kingdom’s self-proclaimed leading online business
portal for the marketing, advertising, media and PR
industries. It beat out Ipod, Google and
You Tube, according to Immediate Network’s Press,
PR and Media Digest. Ferrari was ranked 11th.
AWCom neglected to mention when referencing Chic-Auto
edited by Camilo Alfaro that it is a new high-end
glossy automotive magazine inserted in Pioneer Press
Newspapers and the Chicago Sun Times with a
targeted circulation of 110,000 among households with
$150,000 + incomes.
Veteran journalist John O’Dell has joined
Inc. Santa Monica, Calif. headquarters as a senior editor. He will build the web sites “Green Car” coverage, focusing
on the automotive industry’s environmental initiatives and
undertakings, including: hybrid cars, alternative fuels,
technological developments and gas-saving tips. O’Dell has
won numerous awards in his 35 year journalism career. With
the Los Angeles Times since 1980, he covered the auto
industry for the past decade and before that government
affairs, politics and economics.
left direct employment of Car and Driver to freelance. He
will continue to work quite a bit for the magazine and its
web site but will contribute to other car and motorcycle
pubs and websites and also assist Peter Groschupf on
Mercedes Magazine. . . Leslie Maxwell, former
PR Director for Martin & Company Advertising, has hung out
her shingle as an automotive aftermarket consultant in the
greater Nashville area. She will continue to provide PR
services to Martin’s clients and can be reached at
Among the changes at Primedia under
the new owner, Source Interlink, Phil Howell, has
returned to 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility as Editor-In-Chief
from the same post at Off Road, now filled by Jerrod Jones. Howell has relocated from Hurricane, Utah to Wellsville,
also in the Beehive state.
. . . Detroit News auto editor Susan Carney has been named
business editor, filling the post vacated recently by Mark Truby who left the paper for a PR post at
across the finish line
Wally Parks - He built the National Hot Rod Association.
American Hot Rod Foundation video of Parks reflecting on his
life can be
Tom Beesley - Editor, Photographer, “Wheels” Columnist,
Star Community Newspapers, Texas.
A Memorial Scholarship in his name at Frisco Education
Foundation, Frisco, TX.
Cordell Koland - California freelancer who wrote for a number
of business journals.
A Memorial Scholarship in his name at San Jose State
University, San Jose, Calif.
Jack Walsh - Retired Automotive News truck editor.
Bud Ekins - Stuntman and pioneering champion
off-road motorcyclist who was also Steve McQueen's
double in "The Great Escape".
awards, honors and events
24 Hours of LeMONS at Thunderhill entry forms
first round draft by Nov. 1, WAPA'S Golden
Quill Award entry deadline Dec. 1 see
APA/NADA Luncheon, Detroit, MI
NEMPA/SEMA Dinner, Boston, MA
WAJ Dinner, South San Francisco, CA
Future Fuels & Propulsion Talks & Test Drives
MPG Power Trip long Beach to Toyota Auto Museum, Torrance, CA
APA/Consumer Reports Luncheon, Detroit, MI
Automotive Hall of Fame Annual Induction & Awards Night, Dearborn, MI
WAPA Lunch Strathmore Mansion, Luxury Market Panel: Bentley, Maserati,
Lunch 3 West Club, NYC GM
WAPA 9:30 a.m. Annapolis, Md. Road Rally
TAWA’s 2007 Truck Rodeo Grapevine Texas
SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress & Exhibition, Rosemont, IL
SEMA Show, Las Vegas
Detroit Press Club SteakOut, Dinner, Marriot Renaissance, Detroit
MPG Track Days, Willow Springs, Rosemead Calif.
Breakfast, Los Angeles International Auto Show
24 Hour of LeMONS, Thunderhill, Race Track, California
motoring press organizations
The 14 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.
|| Automotive Press Association,
Detroit - John Lippert,
||International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -
||Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
||Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
||New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
||Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
||Phoenix Automotive Press
Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President-
||Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
||Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL,
Ron Beasley, President,
||Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
Auto Writers Association http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org,
Harold Gunn, email@example.com
||Truck Writers of North America,
www.twna.org Tom Kelley,
||Western Automotive Journalists, San
www.waj.org, Michael Coates, president,
||Washington Automotive Press
Association, D.C., Kimatni Rawlins, President -
Glenn F. Campbell
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