NEW WORLDSNew ways of delivering messages create opportunities and challenges for writers. . . . WIRED NEWS quotes: "We are looking to virtual worlds and games as a space where people can build something productive and focus on the experience of learning, interaction and play, rather than passively absorb messages," according to Douglas Thomas, an associate professor of communication at USC. . . . John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox, said, "Video games offer a powerful immersive tool for teaching. All types of explicit and collateral learning can take place through games." . . . Interactive games are now a new means of delivering messages be their content educational, informative or commercial. The voracious demand for content created by the digital world mean that a writers works is spread over MP3 players, cell phones, PDAs, DVRs, VODs, computers, and other devices overlooked or yet to be introduced. . . . Actors, through their unions are negotiating added compensation for the use of their work in multiple formats. But, too often, writers, salaried or freelance, are not compensated for the various ways others make money on their words. . . . Editor and Publisher reported on a new digital syndication service, Mochila, that sells newspaper and magazine generated print, photo, audio and video content "a la carte" to newspapers, magazines, web sites and other customers. "Mochila" is a name for the backpacks students stuff with books and a variety of personal items. . . . The WSJ and the NY Times are spending more money on their web sites, primarily to give advertisers larger audiences. A major tactic for each is news aggregations similar to those of their major online competitors: Yahoo, Google, MSN and AOL. Digital media is feeding on print budgets and magazines are folding while newspapers are being forced to become more important locally and increasingly rely on web editions for classified revenue. A good amount of the pressure on print and magazines in particular, comes from auto advertisers switching more of their ad budgets to the web and other non-print outlets.
THIS WORLDThe BMW 3-Series was declared the 2006 World Car of the Year. It was selected from an initial entry list of twenty-seven (27) candidates nominated by the World Car jurors. A steering committee of automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America administers the non-profit World Car of the Year Awards program. WCOTY is intended to complement, not compete with, existing COTY awards by raising consumer awareness of regional Car of the Year award programs as well as the World Car of the Year. Other WCOTY awards announced during a press conference today at the New York International Auto Show were the Citron C4, Car Design; Porsche Cayman 5, Performance Car and the Honda Civic Hybrid, Green Car. For more downloadable information and photos check www.wcoty.com.
GETTING STARTEDLyndon Bell, editor-in-chief for On Wheel, Inc. publications sent a thoughtful letter about getting started in automotive journalism. His big break came when a publisher allowed him to write reviews in exchange for press cars. He said, "Had the sentiment I'm gathering from many of the responses to the young person seeking advice been allowed to determine my destiny, I would not be on your roster of newsletter recipients today. Nor would I be making a pretty comfortable living doing something I absolutely adore. When I decided I wanted to do this work, nobody would give me a clue about how to get in. I called newspapers, magazines and even manufacturers trying to find a key to the door. It was not until I spoke with Craig Morningstar (who was with Mercedes at the time) that I reached anyone who seemed interested in fostering the growth of a new talent. People were so close-mouthed, one would have thought I was trying to steal the copyright to the formula for eternal youth." With new generations producing people who want to be automotive journalists, he says, "It behooves those of us who are already doing it to take on a younger person (or two) and teach them the right way. Never mind the fact that this is the right thing to do, it also protects the integrity of our profession. . . We can accept young people and show them the right way, thus engendering their excellence (not to mention loyalty). Or, we can prepare to deal with being gut-checked violently if they ever manage to come into their own. After all, you'll see the same people you saw on the way up when you're going back down. The fact that you've made it doesn't always mean you got it made. It never hurts to leave some competent allies in your wake."
AUTOWRITERS SPOTLIGHTAt its Black History Month Gala on February 25th, Virginia Commonwealth University honored veteran reporter Anqoinette Crosby as an African-American trailblazer in journalism. Crosby, one of the most recognized personalities on PBS’ long-running automotive program MotorWeek, recounted her personal path to success in the male-dominated field of automotive journalism. Since she became MotorWeek’s first African-American correspondent, Crosby has combined a lifelong love of cars with her extensive journalistic background to present award-winning stories that captivate her viewers. Crosby also was the co-host and co-producer for WMAR/2 Baltimore, ABC’s live primetime coverage of Motor Trend’s International Auto Show in 2006 and 2005. She created an exciting lifestyles segment called “Gear” which showcases the hottest trends in automotive gear and new accessories and writes an automotive column that will appear in Upscale Magazine, a national publication with over one million readers. Viewers particularly appreciate her unique perspective at a time when women continue to be increasingly more important to the automotive market. As evidence, women now account for 35 to 40 percent of MotorWeek’s audience. Her industry experience spans more than a decade covering news, entertainment, business and politics, both in front of and behind the camera. In 2005, Crosby received an International Automotive Media Award for her feature coverage of the "Volvo YCC Designers".
NEW ROADSFrom Wooden Horse News - Writers are wanted for a new magazine, Women In Racing. Its mission is to "entertain and educate women about motorsports". For more information contact managing editor Inetta Smith, 603 Willow Court, Brandon, FL 335120 or telephone 727-365-9257.. . . Fuel Advantages, a new Cygnus Business Media title covers coping with fuel management in public, private and commercial fleets. It will be distributed with stable mates Fleet Management and Mass Transit. Two more issues are scheduled for 2006 (August and October). The website is http://www.fuelpub.com .. . . Mc2 Mini offers owner profiles, their traveling and racing experiences, tech tips and news related to the brand. Editor is Gary Anderson who also edits Classic Motorsports and writes for other outlets. Following Spring and Summer issues the publication plans to go bimonthly with a Sept./Oct. issue. The website is http://www.mc2magazine.com . . . . Apprise Enthusiast Media (Drag Racer, Street Trucks) has purchased California-based publisher DRIVE! Media (Drive!, Sport & Classic Truck Trader) . . . . GOLF CONNOISSEUR, is a new luxury golfing magazine launched recently by James Frank, former editor of GOLF Magazine, and Riggs-Heinrich Media. It has lifestyle coverage (including the cars they drive) of tour pros, business leaders and celebrities who golf. Suggestions go to Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . Steve Parker, AKA, "The Car Nut", announces his own tell it like it is Blog: http://www.thecarnut.typepad.com/. He says he'll "Take no prisoners --- Call it ALL as only THE CAR NUT sees things! The IRL and Champ Car, NASCAR’S “Busch-whackers”, road tests, CAR NUT ROAD TRIPS to Tokyo, the Petersen Museum, Concourse on Rodeo and the Nethercutt Collection, the TRUTH about GM and all the others…new cars, concepts, classics and collectibles…ALL the motorcycles from the TOKYO MOTOR SHOW you didn’t see anywhere else!" And if YOU want to take issue, agree with Steve, call him on mistakes --- you’re more than welcome! . . . . Ricardo Rodriguez-Long received a Gold Award at the 35th Annual Mid-America Trucking Show for his editorial piece about the hardship of becoming an independent Hispanic trucker. The award was presented by the Truck Writers Association of North America (NWTA). Ricardo was the first Hispanic writer to receive the honor. . . . Host C.Van Tune advises that the newest episode of ESPN’s "Drive" features the latest sports cars, luxury cars, pickups & SUVs, economy and family car introductions from the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, plus tire-smoking driving impressions of Cadillac's XLR-V and 2007 Escalade, a visit to Dodge's SRT Driving School, a preview of hot new high-tech electronic equipment and a whole lot more. . . . Jan Wagner proudly reports he has built his own AutoMatters website at www.AutoMatters.net. His Automatters newspaper column now circulates to 170,00 readers. . . . Susann Miller reports her new Porsche book on the 356 Sales Literature is now out. Her website is http://www.porschebooks.org/. Journalists interested in a review copy for their publications, can contact her at: email@example.com. . . . Randi Payton, President and CEO of On Wheels, Inc., says he will broadcast his 11th Urban Wheels Award at the Detroit International Auto Show. The success of this year’s show where celebrities participated in the presentations confirmed the plans for next year. Actress Vivica A. Fox joined former Car And Driver publisher William Jeanes in presenting this year’s "Company of The Year" award to Ford Motor Company. Payton also reports he is launching Asians On Wheels and re-launching Latinos On Wheels, this time in English, in May.
SAD ROADSBrock Yates no longer writes his column for Car and Driver. That news brought a number of comments to Autowriters.com. Some questioned the manner of the separation or Car and Driver editor Csaba Csere’s account of the decision to grant Yates "early retirement". . . . Detroit Free Press business editor Mike Sante left the paper with no word as to why or his future plans. At this writing he has not been replaced. . . . Also leaving the scene is American Media’s MPH. It was one of three titles shuttered by the newly cost conscious publisher. MPH was the successor to AMI’s much heralded weekly automotive publication that recruited a stellar editorial staff headed by William Jeanes only to be closed without a chance to build a following. American Media CEO David Pecker said. "This is not a reflection of any individual's performance but it is prudent to review your portfolio of magazines and make difficult decisions."
MOTORING PRESS ORGANIZATIONSThe 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.
CalendarWAPA: April 19 luncheon meeting will feature Randy Lively, AWARE Chairman and president and CEO of American Financial Services Association (AFSA) and NADA Chairman William Bradshaw. Topics may include credit scoring, the auto financing process, leasing, etc. Q and A should be lively, given recent coverage of challenges to the vehicle financing system that have been raised by consumer groups. Nothing is off limits in the Q and A session.
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