AUTOWRITERS.COM  December 2005         close window
"Your way to get the right info to the right people who write about cars."

2006 Chicago Autoshow

Have you registered yet?
Registration for the nation's biggest auto show is open by going to
     * World and North American introductions
     * Extensive executive availability
     * All wrapped up in a world-class city
Save the dates for the show the media love to visit.
Media Preview:  Feb. 8-9, 2006 Public Show: Feb. 10-19, 2006.

What would you advise this letter writer: “I’m trying to get my local paper interested in using me as an automotive reviewer, but they literally won't return my calls.  I've heard I might be able to get my review placed in other papers but don't know how to find a small paper that would be interested in my reviews.  At this point I'm willing to write for free because the perk for me is getting to drive the cars.  Any suggestions or advice?”  Besides “Don’t quit your day job” or Dan Neil’s infamous pre-Pulitzer “corrupt” quote ( would you suggest voice training, because money is flowing into Podcasts that can be downloaded and distributed globally via the Internet and Ipod MP3 players?  Would it be an actor’s studio and makeup and style schools because the video on-demand market will swell to $5 billion a year by the end of the decade?  Perhaps just a makeover because two new services are now providing digital reproductions of magazines: the same page layouts, tables of contents, photos and ads, “everything but the scent strips for perfume ads,” Ad Age writes. Maybe starting a “blog” (see below) and following the classic “write, write, write” and “write about what you know” will be sufficient.  Email your suggestions to
Cindy Stagg, staff writer for Car-Data has moved her computer terminal from Texas to Washington City, Utah and will continue to review cars. . . . In Detroit, Eric Mayne, formerly with the Detroit News, replaces Kevin Kelly as Sr. Editor, European Cars, at Ward's Auto Communications and Kelly moves to Automotive Design and Production. . . .Jeff Sabatini, who freelances for The NY Times and compiles its Drive Times E-Newsletter, has returned to the Motor City area from Chicago. . . .Chicago Tribune auto editor Jim Mateja now resides in Wisconsin. His work phone, fax and e-mail address remain the same. . . .Veteran outdoor writer and designer of Wheels Magazine, Keith Sanders has retired to Taos, New Mexico. . . .Harry Lewellyn has put aside his meticulously detailed and helpful Eco4WD Newsletter for a 25% participation in Staun USA, Inc. He may occasionally put an article on his eco site but not on any regular basis. . . .Jeff Bartlett is trading Florida hurricanes for winter. He has switched from online editor for Motor Trend and Intellichoice to Deputy Online Editor responsible for the Autos franchise at Consumer Reports Online (CRO) in Yonkers, NY. He is looking to create/manage content, improve user experience, and extend the channel's reach. . . .Lindsay Brooke returns to full-time journalism as a Senior Editor with Automotive Engineering International. He will cover all areas of vehicle technology including launches, alternative fuels, hybrids and heads a new engineering executive interview section for the SAE publication.
Online spending by marketers is predicted to triple by 2007. Two new RSS Ad Networks (Feedster and Feedburner) now aggregate blogs, news, and RSS feeds to provide productive marriages of content providers, marketers and consumers who, increasingly, are digitally self-selecting their information universe. One of these services states it has 18,500,000 feeds indexed and searchable. . . .Autowriters.Com's passing reference to Ford cutting back on its press fleet brought unexpected responses. Tony "The Car Guy" Leopardo, a Bay Area writer and publisher, suggested that it was more like a mass retreat and cautioned that a "no news is good news" approach does not make for great auto reviews. On the other hand, he predicts great press for "Ford-controlled Mazda's Miata MX-5 because it is a good car and they have flooded the press fleets with it." Others referenced Ford closing regional PR offices and a press release from told of plans to project 30-foot "light banners" onto the sides of big buildings in Los Angeles and Detroit to spotlight that, contrary to the good intentions professed in its advertising and promotion, Ford has been last in fuel economy five years running. Ironically, Mercury splayed Cougar silhouettes on the side of GM's headquarters building when that nameplate was introduced. Another observer criticized the company for not acknowledging, "We screwed up" when it fails to live up to its pronouncements and product launch rhetoric. Russ Dodge notes "the correlation of a car company's economic health and its having a decent size press fleet and media staff." He cites Toyota/Lexus press cars being easily scheduled and its frequent press events and the company "rolling along with continued success." Also, he says, "Infiniti/Nissan is aggressive about getting their cars to journalists and economically is on the rise." While, "Saab is nowhere to be seen and is a brand on the decline. "Ford", he concluded, "used to have an easy access to media relations staff, many media events and an extensive press fleet. Today Ford has fallen off the PR charts and they are struggling to keep up sales." Yet, for the third year in a row Ford won the "Truck of Texas Award" following the Texas Auto Writers Association's 13th annual Truck Rodeo. Awards were made in 14 categories. Lexus won the SUV award. . . .Restyling will be a featured attraction at the D.C. and Philadelphia Auto Shows. A contest winner's car will be customized at the Washington show Jan. 24-29. in a Restyling Salon sponsored by Automotive Rhythms Communications and the show. The Philadelphia Show (Feb. 4-9) will reprise its popular Tuner Salon where a variety of manufacturers' tuner cars, as well as customized vehicles owned by local and national celebrities, will be displayed by DUB magazine.
Keep your profile current.
Help us make sure you get the information you want the way you want it.
Fill out the form online:
or send an e-mail to
Thank you!
Energetic Steve Ford ( has enough certifications, accreditations, awards and degrees to rival a combat veteran's ribbons. And like a soldier's pride in his ribbons, Ford is proud that his credentials represent what he has done and can do. He walks the talk in each of his current roles of automotive consultant, journalist and educator. He earned a California Class A Technician's Certificate and worked a parts counter before he graduated high school. Master technician and computer controls certifications followed and were put to use in dealership and independent auto shops while he earned an undergraduate degree in mass communications. That led to public relations and marketing work with a national automotive advertising agency and to national awards as an auto journalist and broadcaster. A degree in Educational Technology and Distance Learning at Michigan Statue University followed along with certification as an Interactive Distance Learning Instructor from General Motors' Detroit Training Center. While in the Motor City he also produced and hosted "The Car Guy" TV show now archived on his web site. He returned to California to consult, write and educate as an "automotive consumer specialist." He also has co-hosted a weekly car-care show this past year, "Talk2DIY Automotive" on the DIY Network.
Blogs - In the aggressive style of his "The Truth About Cars" E-Newsletter, Robert Farago challenged the words used as well as his interpretation of what they said about "blogs" in the November Autowriters.Com Newsletter. He believes: "Blogs will face the same shaking out process experienced by the newspaper industry at the turn of the last century. Good ones will thrive, bad ones will wither. If anything is going to break-up the craven, unconscionable, unspoken collusion between the trade media and car manufacturers, it's the web.". . . Terry Parkhurst believes that any medium is only as good as the person doing the writing. That is why he continues to subscribe to Car and Driver; citing writers Brock Yates, Patrick Bedard and Barry Winfield as knowing their stuff and writing so well. . . . Peter DuPre of AutoWord Communications believes that established media and writers should fight fire with fire: He says, "While it is true that today's computer geek generation (under 30) sees blogs as a valid and vital source of information, it is also true that many blogs are just the opinionated rantings of uneducated and uniformed people who are trying to gain personal status, often at the expense of accuracy. I believe that we autowriters need to counter this with a series of (our) own blogs. Every magazine with a website should also sponsor a blog. Individual autowriters who have their own blogs should bolster the legitimacy of their blog with a professional bio, links to their published online articles and lists of print media where their byline regularly appears.". . . The Los Angeles Times reportedly gave up its blog after a few days because of nasty and pornographic postings. Instead, they offered one of their columnists the opportunity to maintain a blog. The results (and insults) are being tabulated. A number of corporations are encouraging their employees to blog. IBM's blogger-in-chief says, "It expands our reputation, perceptions and relationships … at the same time expanding the number of people we can learn from."

Paydays - Payment for multiple uses of an author's, (reporter, commentator) words brought this information from the aforementioned Parkhurst: The U.S. Supreme Court in Tasini vs The New York Times said writers should indeed be compensated for additional uses of their words. It is a subject of increasing concern with media conglomerates now sharing content among the print, cable, TV, internet, DVD outlets they control. Steve Parker, a.k.a. The Car Nut, notes that some radio and TV stations with shared ownership expect talent signed by one station to do work for the others. Even more aggravating is not getting paid for work performed for a single medium. Autowriters.Com was asked if any of the Motoring Press Associations provide assistance along those lines. Not that we could determine. However, the National Writers Union ( maintains a Writer Alert page on which it lists unscrupulous and unethical publishers (as determined by a pattern of behavior and complaints). An NWU Grievance Officer can advise in handling a dispute or negotiate directly on a member's behalf. The Grievance Officers are unpaid volunteers. They handle about 100 cases per year, winning 85% of them. Every NWU local has its own Grievance Officer(s) and they are the backbone of the NWU's grievance structure. National Grievance Officers coordinate, advise, and train the local officers and assist them with difficult cases. NWU membership Annual dues are $95 for writers making less than $5,000 per year an increase to $260 for those making $50,000 or more.

Former Automotive News staffer and now correspondent Laura Clark Geist is coming out with a book in May called "Praying Through Cancer" (W Publishing). She writes: "It is a Christian inspirational book. I wouldn't mind if you could mention it in your autowriters round up of what everyone is doing. I know that the book has nothing to do with the auto industry…but it's an interesting item. Several members of the automotive fraternity have been impacted by the disease.". . The Auto Channel is concluding its 10th year online later this winter and plans "an exciting array of changes, updates and what we think is exciting news about our future" executive vice president Mark Rauch messages. One of the very first omnibus automotive web sites, The Auto Channel has prevailed against many better-known names and better bank-rolled sites to top all of them in average number of daily users per million Internet users for the three months ended November 1. Starting with little more than an idea, the channel has become a comprehensive resource for just about all aspects of autodom. . . . .To help Honda and Acura dealers "improve their business processes and offer best practices," American Honda, in collaboration with Tendo Communications has introduced Blue Sky. The quarterly magazine's content revolves around three themes: customer experience, business efficiency, and market development. . . . Road & Track Gear will not print after the December/ January issue and likewise for Road & Track Speed after the January/ February issue. . . . Now that the National Motorist title has been put to rest after 81 years, its former editor, Tom Inglesby, has started what he terms "a nostalgia travel" web site: On it he will compare reviews, destinations and other old-time car related articles with their modern-day counterparts. For example, he posts a 1942 Chrysler review with one he did this year on the 300C and plans to contrast a 1924 Niagara Falls tour guide with a visit there this year. He's purchased a load of 1910 to 1940-motoring and travel magazines to implement the idea. . . . Peter Aylett has previewed some impressive 3D car art by British car designer Don Baker on his web site: . . . The vacuum has been turned off at Primedia and titles once sucked up are now being shred. Reports have it selling 11 titles, splitting into two divisions and more titles slated to be sold or revised. Primedia is said to be $1.4 billion in debt and at $1.95 per share, its stock down 49%. Perhaps this is why a company human resources executive declined an updated list of its California editorial staff, saying "it would be a shopping list for head-hunters.". . . . Golf Magazine Living, a new semi-annual luxury lifestyle magazine from Time Media will include automobiles in its coverage of the rich and richer . . .When Lee Iacocca won his second Time Man of The Year Honor, a condition when receiving the honor was that it could not be exploited in advertising and promotion - much to the dismay of company executives seeking ways to help the then beleaguered Chrysler. Now Chrysler is sponsor of the Time Magazine promotion.
DEAN BATCHELOR AWARDTom Madigan's book, "Edelbrock Made in USA," won top honors at MPG's annual awards dinner. In competition open to all types of automotive journalism, this year's five finalists authored books. MPG member and car collector Jay Leno was an unannounced guest invited to the podium to answer questions and reflect on his lifelong passion for cars.

INTERNATIONAL WHEELS AWARD - The Detroit Press Club Foundation has updated and revised rules and entry details for its awards honoring excellence in automotive journalism. New categories for Internet and Wire/News Service, as well as expanded categories for broadcast media, lead the changes. Details at or or by contacting Steve Purdy, Wheel Awards Committee Co-chair, at (517) 655-3591. Entry deadline is Jan. 31, 2006.

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.
IMPA's speaker is Beth Lowery,Vice President, GM Environment and Energy.
SEAMO Holiday Ride & Drive, Braselton, GA
WAPA, Washington DC
APA's Welcome Reception toasts international media representatives covering the North American International Auto Show.
A special thanks to John Matras (}
for his help as we work out format kinks in our newsletter!

- 30 -


Glenn Campbell
Managing Partner
"Get the right info to the right people who write about cars."
P 435.656.1040

Our Ad Rate Card is available online at or by request.

Did someone forward you a copy of this newsletter? You can get your own subscription by sending an e-mail to with newsletter in the subject line. If you want to stop receiving this newsletter, please send an e-mail to with no newsletter in the subject line.

close window