autowriters.com october 2009 newsletter


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the road ahead

“Trying to control the Internet is like gift wrapping a balloon.” British barrister Richard O’Hagan, commenting on his government’s inability to gag the Twittersphere. (Quoted in the Immediate Network’s Media Digest)

Autowriters.com: The Road Ahead: October 2009

Photo By: Michal Zacharzewski

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission may be trying to do some gift-wrapping of its own. On December 1 and 2 the FTC will convene a two-day workshop titled. “From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?”  "The concern is that a robust news-gathering operation does not fit into the economic models born from the Internet and cable news,” writes Kenneth Corbin in his blog for RealTime IT News titled “Policy Fugue”. He goes on, "If one accepts the premise that quality local and investigative journalism is a civic good, this is a problem.”

The FTC has already sent up a balloon with its guideline for bloggers which Wendy Davis summarizes in Online Media Daily, “Bloggers who review products given to them for free should disclose that fact in some circumstances, but journalists who write reviews for news outlets generally need not do so.” While guidelines, not law, the FCC states, for example: A blogger who "frequently receives products from manufacturers because he or she is known to have wide readership within a particular demographic group that is the manufacturers' target market" is more likely to be required to disclose a free review copy.” Subsequently, Davis reported, ”Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg has told the Federal Trade Commission that its new guides for bloggers are unconstitutional and should be retracted.”

Rothenberg reasons "The same guidelines do not apply to traditional media and therefore violate the free-speech rights of bloggers and pose an economic threat to small publishers.” Some of the sting was taken out of the news when the FTC’s Mary Engle told Marketing Daily, "We will be focusing our efforts on advertisers, not on individual bloggers," she said. "We know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs, only a fraction of which are involved in marketing anyway. We're not going to be patrolling the blogosphere."

Meanwhile Cory Treffiletti, writing for Online Spin, sees The Real Future of Newspapers following two separate paths and only one of them includes paper of any form – local news, always of value, likely will be on paper. While the second path that newspapers will follow is that of a trusted, credible source for the news and related editorial that can be distributed through digital methods and syndicated wherever the reader might be.

Comments? Please go to: http://autowriters.com/blog/the-road-ahead-october-2009/

TOC

new roads

Randi Payton is expanding the reach of his multicultural African American On Wheels and Latinos On Wheels multi-channel franchises by distributing his Decisive publication with them. Decisive will leverage On Wheels’ existing 1.1 million distribution model of zoned editions of daily newspapers, culturally specific community newspapers, online digital publications, and consumer-oriented web hubs. Decisive’s writers and panel of experts from the various industries will provide multicultural relevant tips, advice, blogs, columns, and vote on products and services to guide readers in the decision process. . . . Used car dealers offer higher quality vehicles than private sellers according to respondents in a recent survey sponsored by www.Carsala.com, a startup online service to aid buyers searching for used cars. Not too surprising, 73 percent of those surveyed disliked the used car buying process. Usually, it took many hours and visits to at least three lots before they bought but 93 percent think they got a fair deal when all was said and done. . . . A new (to AWCom) online service for new car buyers is www.realcartips.com. Site founder Gregg writes, “The ‘real’ is referring to the real negotiated price of the car instead of MSRP. All prices are submitted by car buyers (over 4,000 so far). The purpose of the site is to help car shoppers figure out what a fair price is.” The site also offers weekly tips on how to save money when shopping for a new car . . .Advanstar Communications, which includes Aftermarket Business,and off –road and motorcycle magazines in its extensive portfolio of business-to-business publications, has shifted its graphics operations to Duluth, MN and has structured a pool approach for many of its editors. Instead of having their own staffs, Wooden Horse reports, many Advanstar titles will draw from a pool of editors shared with other company publications.

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the tom-tom

Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit their own Clog
(Online Column).  Your reward: a byline and an audience of your peers.  All submissions are acknowledged, queued and used at the editor’s discretion. 


Rob Krider adds his take on surviving in the content glut brought on by bloggers and the Internet. In print, where, ironically he is taken seriously, he writes the humor column Man Overboard for the Santa Maria Sun (where he actually gets paid) and has been published in AutoWeek. On the Internet, he writes the Racer Boy column for Speed Sport Life and also contributes to Jalopnik and Car Domain (where he doesn’t get paid). When Rob isn’t writing, he’s racing and has won the 24 Hours of LeMons and NASA Performance Touring road races. He writes and also wrenches on cars in California.  


Writers Getting Taken Seriously (Respectfully and Financially)


Autowriters.com: Tom-Tom: Rob Krider

Rob Krider

In the automotive journalism world there is an endless debate regarding the cold war between blogging and print media. I have found myself on both sides of the wall. I have seen and felt the pros and cons of each medium. On one side of the wall I was recognized and compensated, on the other side of the wall, I was starving.

With print media, getting published is a long hard battle. When a writer finally gets published, accepted if you may, there is a sense of accomplishment. Because magazines absolutely must turn a profit to exist, they have the budget to pay their writers for a job well done. Transversely, an Internet site, like www.RacingWFO.com can run for an entire year on $50 (trust me, no writers will ever be paid there). The general public recognizes and pays respect to magazines. Even someone who hasn’t been to journalism school understands you don’t just get published because one day you woke up and thought it would be a cool thing to do (however, this can be done on the internet). Print media is a lot of work. When done right, the rewards can be very satisfying. I have had the experience of standing in a parking lot shagging cones at an SCCA Solo event and had total strangers come up to me and say, “I read your article in AutoWeek.” People know what AutoWeek is, and for me to be associated with it was a great feeling.

With Internet media I have had the complete opposite experience. Even in my own household I don’t get respect for blogging. I’ll ask my wife to edit something I’ve written and the first thing she asks me is, “Is this for the magazine or one of your nerdy car blog sites?” Sure, it’s a bit harsh, but what she’s really asking me is, “Are you getting paid for this one? Because if you are I’ll take the time to clean it up. If you aren’t don’t waste my time; there are reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to watch.” And outside of my household, in the hot pits of Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway, when I’ve told a race team I’m writing for Speed Sport Life or Jalopnik, they look at me as if they have no idea what I even said. Jalopnik is a great and fairly successful site, but the name has been a continual obstacle to overcome with the public. It just doesn’t resonate with people like saying, “This is for Maxim magazine. Get the umbrella girl and have her stand in front of the ALMS car for a picture. Pronto!”

There is no question of the ability of websites to crush print media in respect to timeliness. I have had coverage of event results on Speed Sport Life within minutes of it happening with a digital camera, an air card and a lap top. I later submitted that same event coverage to Grassroots Motorsports magazine and had it published seven months later. Was it even relevant seven months later? Probably not, however, where did people actually read it and recognize its significance? The print magazine, guaranteed. Not to mention the photography was compensated by the magazine while the internet coverage was done for “the glory.” Try to buy some groceries with “glory” sometime, tell me how that tastes.

So, why are writers doing the blog thing if most are doing it for free? One word: ego. With the ability for readers to quickly post comments under blogs, there is a certain instant gratification to writing on the Internet. As writers, we shamefully eat this stuff up (although most of us won’t admit it). Writers, I’ve found, are a pretty insecure bunch. They want to see that letter to the editor with a comment about a recent article they wrote. I think some writers are almost a tad confrontational in their content just to inspire someone to disagree with them so they will get mad enough to write a letter to the editor or comment on a blog. What writers need to understand (especially in the realm of print media) is readers aren’t writers. Don’t expect them to be. Readers don’t feel the need to pen a letter to the editor and say, “I really liked Rob Krider’s last column in the Santa Maria Sun. He’s a swell guy.” We shouldn’t need that encouragement to understand what we wrote was good (especially when we are paid). The fact of the matter is most letters-to-the-editor folks are just wannabe writers trying to get their first fifteen seconds of fame. It was the first thing I ever “got published.” How about you?

If we want the satisfaction of quick coverage and instant gratification of Internet media with the respect and compensation of print media we have to make automotive Internet media more profitable. I think this all comes down to us. We need to make sure that our Internet content is good (we can start by convincing our significant others to turn off the Buffy repeats and at least edit our work). The content needs to be good enough to bring in some heavy advertising so we can all get paid. The question is how many of us have to write for free (and for how long) to build up a reputable commercial automotive site before we can actually make it profitable enough for us to waste our time? And, can we do this without building a site, which the readers will recognize instantly (and lose respect for) as just one automotive press release after another (Autoblog)? We need to write content that is interesting and not just regurgitations of the cubic storage space data of the new Taurus’s trunk (what reader really gives a hoot?).

As writers, we are definitely living in interesting times. I just hope we can make a living doing it.

What do you think? To comment please go to: http://autowriters.com/blog/the-tom-tom-rob-krider/


 Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are volunteered
and express the opinions of the writer.

TOC

autowriters spotlight

It's good news when a newspaper hires an auto writer these days- particularly when they already have one! That’s exactly what the Spokane Spokesman-Review did when the long-time “her” of the paper’s his and her auto reviews, Teresa McCallion, retired after 18 years. The daily affirmed that the woman’s point of view mattered by retaining highly regarded local journalist and essayist Cheryl-Anne Millsap to join veteran Don Adair’s weekly review with a companion piece.

Autowriters.com Autowriters Spotlight: Don Adair

Don Adair

Adair also began writing for the Spokesman-Review in the ‘80s as a “go-to freelancer,” as he put it. “When the paper decided to add a locally generated car column, I was in the right place at the right time. My qualifications were skimpy. I could write and knew how to meet deadlines. I'd owned a few sports cars and had autocrossed a little. I read the magazines when I was a kid and knew the difference between horsepower and torque, but my technical knowledge was -- and is -- limited.

“Which has proven to be not a bad thing; it's easy to lose the readers of a daily newspaper in minutiae. I aspire to write well enough to be read by a broader audience than just car nuts.

“Of course the job has its bennies: Besides the great good fortune of driving a new car every week, I've met fascinating people and seen parts of the country I wouldn't have otherwise. Highlights include every time I've been turned loose on a track, as well as a pair of Mercedes-Benz programs -- one to Montreal where we took in the F1 race and the surrounding circus, and one a three-day Civil War/Civil Rights tour of Alabama.

“But all this goodness has been tempered in the past couple of years by the loss of so many jobs. I wish the best for all those, from every aspect of the industry, whose lives have been turned upside down.

“Both the automobile and newspaper industries will survive, but in fundamentally altered ways. In the online environment, those who have something to say and say it well will emerge from the mob and, although it will be some time before the Internet finds its commercial footing, will find ways to be paid for their efforts.

“A jazz musician friend once told me that he was able to earn a living only by hustling up his own opportunities; I believe the same pertains for those of us who have labored in the newspaper business. We will survive by being flexible and being good.

“I'm lucky to write for a publication that is committed to providing its readers with a quality editorial product with a local voice. But I don't have any idea a) how long that will last or b) how our industry will look when the dust has settled. I am convinced that the fragmentation of the media is bad for all of us in the short term, but that something coherent will ultimately emerge.

“If not, I fear for more than just our industry. Despite all this, those of us who are still writing are reporting on an industry -- and a culture -- in transition; the circumstances are challenging, but the environment has opportunity written all over it."

Comments? Please go to:http://autowriters.com/blog/autowriters-spotlight-don-adair

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road signs

The Journal News, a Gannett-owned newspaper in White Plains, NY, has laid off its entire business staff. The paper will run The Wall Street Journal Sunday content to provide business coverage. . . . The Rocky Mountain Independent has quit posting original news. The web site started by former staffers of the shuttered Rocky Mountain News had 200 subscribers, who will get refunds. Editor Steve Foster cited the poor economy for the retreat from paid-for online news coverage, which he considers essential to the quality of news. . . .The New York Times reports that a significant non-profit web news operation is slated to begin in the San Francisco Area in 2010. Richard Perez-Pena writes that the Bay Area Project joins, “a $5 million initial grant from F. Warren Hellman, expertise and labor supplied by KQED-FM, which has a 28-person news staff, and the 120 students of the University of California, Berkeley’s graduate school of journalism.”

Google has revealed Google Wave, an experimental project which it calls “the email of the future.” Gavin O’Malley, reporting for Online Media, quotes Google software engineer Lars Rasmussen, “A 'wave' is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.". . . The Washington Post has spelled out a social media code of conduct for its staffers – be it for personal or professional use. The reasoning, as posted on Paidcontent.org's blog, "Our online data trails reflect on our professional reputations and those of The Washington Post. Be sure that your pattern of use does not suggest, for example, that you are interested only in people with one particular view of a topic or issue." Therefore, "Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything - including photographs or video - that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility. This same caution should be used when joining, following or friending any person or organization online.”

As a way to monetize online magazine content, Time Inc, executive John Squires has proposed a sort of online newsstand where consumers can purchase and manage their subscriptions, which can be delivered to any device,” according to Wooden Horse News. The newsletter quotes one publishing editor’s comments on the idea, "We know that traditional magazines are going away, and that magazines on the web don't work. But this gives us a chance to serve the reader who will pay for content, and provide advertising that really works. Can you think of a better idea?"

Also from Wooden Horse News, these quotes from speeches at a World Media Summit in Beijing by, AP’s chief executive Tom Curley and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch: "We content creators have been too slow to react to the free exploitation of news by third parties without input or permission. We content creators must quickly and decisively act to take back control of our content." Referencing content aggregators such as search engines, and bloggers, he added, "We will no longer tolerate the disconnect between people who devote themselves - at great human and economic cost - to gathering news of public interest and those who profit from it without supporting it," Curley said. Rupert proclaimed, "The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph." But, 52 percent of readers polled in a recent American Press Institute survey think it would be “very easy” to “somewhat easy” to replace the information they get from newspaper web sites, a Research Brief from Media Post reports. . . . To which, Nick Saint, writing on in The Business Insider War Room on “How To Compete With Free Products", says, "When the competition stops charging, entrepreneurs need to take an honest look at the quality of their product. If it is better than what consumers can get elsewhere, don't compromise its quality with ads; just keep being better and charge for use. Otherwise, make it free and beat the competitor at their own game."

TOC

pit notes

Legendary Race Cars by Basem WasefIn keeping with the new FTC guidelines, AWCom acknowledges it has received a review copy of the handsome new Legendary Race Cars authored by Basem Wasef. Because AWCom is not qualified to make a knowledgeable review of this 176-page, 10 x 11 hardbound book with a listed 3124 color photos (we didn’t count) and 57 black and whites, we will send it along to the first journalist who has the expertise and can promise a published review. Others can obtain a copy for $35.00 from Motorbooks Publishing: www.quaysidepublishinggroup.com

The Motor Press Guild has announced that Shell will be the presenting sponsor for this year’s Track Days at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Oct. 27-28. . . . McCullough PR is offering advance scheduling for media drives at the 2009 SEMA Show Motor Trend Proving Grounds hosted by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Those interested can get more details and register by contacting Casey Milano at casey@mcculloughpr.com.

The 24 Hours of LeMons continues to grow. Chief perpetrator Jay Lamm announces 23 events for 2010 and looks forward to greeting un-armed and not-on-the-lam participants at one or more of the in-your-face clunker clashes. The schedule is available at http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/events/ and all events are open for entry now. . . Likely the most comprehensive free worldwide schedule of motor sports events is the Motor Sports Diary published by Colin Wilson. Send him an email with “Subscribe,” in the subject line at news@cdwrite.co.uk to receive monthly digests. Publicity releases and event dates are welcome at that address as well. His web site: http://www.Racedates.com, displays most events with additional information, such as website links and other details. The site may be searched by country, by date or by distance.

The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers is the exclusive hotel partner for the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. February 12-21. The premier property is offering media a special auto show package of hotel privileges and guest rewards and shuttles will continually circulate to and from McCormick Place during the show’s two-day media preview - and by set schedule during the show’s public days Contact: http://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/chicagoautoshow2010

Matt Stone will be signing copies of his book, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, at the Petersen Museum on November 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hollywood Gallery. . . . The recent auction sale at the museum of the Little Red Wagon Wheelstander for $550,000 must have brought a rueful smile to the face of Bill “Maverick” Golden (wherever he may be) who literally broke his back barnstorming the nation’s drag strips in the ‘70s with the Dodge pickup he unintentionally overpowered into a stand up performer for a full quarter mile before it slammed back to the ground. . . . For far less, another novelty vehicle, a Cup Cake Car, conceived by San Francisco area artists for a Burning Man™ event, is offered for $25,000 in the current Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog, as is a limited Neiman-Marcus edition of a supercharged 2010 Jaguar XJL at $105,000.

For a reported $6 million and 605 takes over 3 months, Honda produced this amazing Rube Goldberg TV spot that is billed as the Internet’s most watched commercial. . . . Speed will telecast seven races and CBS will cover two events to provide domestic telecasts of the complete 2010 American Le Mans series. Contact Allison Barry abarry@americanlemans.com
for the race dates.

TOC

lane changes

Talking Business News, published by the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, reports that before the sale of Business Week to Bloomberg, the magazine’s Detroit senior correspondent, Dave Kiley, resigned with plans to write a screenplay and work with Icon Creative Solutions in Ann Arbor, Mich., which creates web-based content for companies.

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across the finish line

Gene Ritvo --- Much-loved motorsports photographer and member of NEMPA to which he contributed much humor and work and shared his outstanding photography from his annual trip to Pebble Beach.

TOC

- 30-

Glenn

Glenn F. Campbell
Principal
autowriters.com

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help wanted

Hi:

I'm looking for freelance car restoration writers to contribute to
www.secondchancegarage.com, particularly looking for how-to articles on restoration and also hot-rodding and customization.

If you know of any of your subscribers that may be interested, please have them email me for details at satchreed@comcast.net.

Regards
Satch Reed
Publisher
www.secondchancegarage.com


From: Long Island Craigslist posting Id: 1401236787, Oct. 1,2009

We are seeking submissions and article ideas from writers with a background in automotive customization and restyling. This is for a startup trade publication that will be web-based, a print version will be produced with in the first six months. Please include a relevant sample of work with all inquiries.

* Compensation: Per word
* Telecommuting is ok.
* This is a part-time job.
* This is a contract job.
* This is an internship job
 

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AWARDS

Internet Automotive Writing

October 31 is the deadline for entries in the first-ever Internet Automotive Writing Contest. Submit them to contest@internetcarandtruckoftheyear.com

 There is no fee for entering.

Writers and bloggers can submit their best automotive Internet pieces from September 1, 2008 to September 1, 2009. Internet automotive writers will be awarded in the following categories:
• Best Feature written solely for the Internet
• Best Automotive Review written solely for the Internet
• Best Single Blog Entry
• Best Series of Blog Entries.

Eagle One Golden Rule Awards
Car clubs with active community involvement programs have an opportunity to win the grand prize of a $1,500 cash donation to a favorite charity in the Eagle One Golden Rule Awards competition.

Three other Award-winning clubs will each receive a cash donation of $500 for their favorite charity.

Winners will be selected in four regions of the U.S.: West, Midwest, East and South. In addition to a total of $3,000 in cash donations from Eagle One, and co-sponsor Valvoline, winners will also receive a generous supply of Eagle One car-care products and Valvoline motor oil for fund-raising purposes, as well as a custom-designed trophy.

An entry form may be downloaded at www.eagleone.com. It can also be obtained by calling (818) 501-1445. Deadline for entries is December 31,2009. Winners will be notified by February 10, 2010.

Texas Truck Rodeo

The 2010 Ford F-150 was named Truck of Texas at the just completed Texas Auto Writers Association’s Truck Rodeo. SUV of Texas went to the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC and the 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8 liter turbo won CUV of Texas. An additional 16 class
Honors were bestowed as well.
 

CALENDAR

October 2009
19-21 The Business of Plugging Insm, Conference, Detroit, MI
21 WAPA, Luncheon, National Press Clun, Nissan, Washington D.C.
22 MAMA Forum, Oakbrook Terrace, IL
23 SAMA, Annual Auto Show Kickoff Breakfast, Miami Beach, FL, Jaguar
26 Ironstone Concours d'Elegance, Murphys CA, featured car: 1937 Airmobile
27 APA Consumer Reports Luncheon, Detroit, MI
27-28 MPG Track Day, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA
28 Summit: Automotive Supplier Finance, Dearborn, MI
November 2009
3-6 SEMA Show, Las Vegas, NV
10 NEMPA, Dinner, Boston Globe, Boston, MA
12 "How To Cheat In Trans-Am" Dinner, Opens Tribute to Trans-Am at Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, CA
12 MAMA Luncheon, Chrysler, Oakbrook Terrace, IL
13 WAJ, Third Annual Future of Cars, Future Transportation, San Jose, CA
17 APA, Breakfast, Ron Harbour, Detroit, MI
19 SAMA Luncheon, Annual Luncheon, Miami Beach, FL
21 National Automotive History Collection, Automotive Authors book Fair, Detroit, MI
28 SAMA, Rides-n-Smiles Charity Benefit, Homestead, FL
December 2009
1-3 Advanced Battery Value Chain Summit, AED Conference, Washington D.C.
2-3 Los Angeles Auto Show Media Days
4-13 Los Angeles Auto Show, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
5 Petersen Automotive Museum Garage Sale and Swap Meet, Los Angeles, CA
8 APA Luncheon, A.C. CSM, Detroit, MI
8 NEMPA, Annual Holiday Party, Boston, MA
10-12 PRI Trade Show, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL
17 SAMA, Annual Holiday Party, TBD
January 2010
11-12 NAIAS Press Review, Detroit, MI
 

TOC

motoring press organizations


The 15 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 - Katie Kerwin

IMPA

International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President - info@impa.org, www.impa.org

GAAMA

Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association www.gaama.org

MAMA

Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago - www.mamaonline.org

MPG

Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles - www.motorpressguild.org

NEMPA

New England Motor Press Association, Boston - www.nempa.org

NWAPA

Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA- www.nwapa.org

PAPA

Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President- drozadgal@aol.com

RMAP

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -vince@theweekenddrive.com

SAMA

Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Ron Beasley, President, ronbeasley@bellsouth.net

SEAMO

Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC www.southeastautomedia.org

TAWA

Texas Auto Writers Association http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, Harold Gunn, hgunn@gunstuff.com 

TWNA

Truck Writers of North America,www.twna.org Tom Kelley, Executive Director, tom.kelley@deadlinefactory.com

WAJ

Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco - www.waj.org, Ron Harrison rharr70210@aol.com

WAPA

Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Rick Trawick, Presidentwww.washautopress.org

corrections

In case you are wondering who Richard Truesdale is, so is Richard Truesdell, the editor of the new Amos pub, Chevy Enthusiast. AWCOM apologies for misspelling his name in last month's Newsletter.

Kevin Kelly (kkellycars@aol.com) writes: Thanks for including my details in the newsletter. I have some changes and corrections that need to be made, however. First, I am glad to report that I am back with my previous employer full-time working as Senior Editor of Automotive Design and Production and a new title the company acquired this year, Time Compression, which focuses on technology designed to speed product development, whether it be CAD/CAM or PLM systems, as well as rapid prototyping. Also, I am on the auto Best Buys jury for Consumers Digest, not Consumer Reports. Thanks.

talk back

Re Harold Gunn ( September Spotlight)

Thanks for the great note on Harold. He has done an excellent job of managing the herd of cats that call themselves autowriters in Texas and has been very dedicated to doing what he sees as best for the organization. All in all, we have grown significantly in numbers and stature during his tenure due to his insistence on insuring that every prospective member is truly writing, reporting and covering the automotive industry rather than simply trying to get a new vehicle every week. Auto shows would do well to qualify attendees as thoroughly as TAWA has done in recent years. Is it a pain in the butt to supply numerous articles every year to prove you are still covering the industry? Certainly. But, it heightens the value of our Truck of Texas, Car of Texas, and other awards because it insures qualified judges are doing the evaluations.

Marlon Hanson
focusnews@wans.net

Great Article on Harold! I also agree with Marlins statement about herding cats and auto writers. It can be challenging.

I have been lucky enough to have spent 6 years with him co-hosting The Automotive Reporter radio program, so I know him pretty well. I can't think of anyone more dedicated to his craft than Harold. He is the complete  professional and I have learned a lot from him. His Radio Hall of Fame award is very deserved and it couldn't go to a better guy. Congrats Harold!

Mike Herzing
mikeh@letstalkwheels.com

RE: Press Fleets Shrinking

Hi Glenn, Just read your newsletter and i agree with the other journalists that the press car fleet has just about dried up. I also heard on the street that the Nissan and BMW press fleets in the San Francisco area have both been grounded due to a lack of budget.

It would seem that the car companies would want to put there game face on and have as many press cars going out to as many journalists as possible. Just to keep the flow of automotive reviews going, and not showing that their sweating the small stuff.

No press cars mean no press car reviews, so how does that help educate buyers to buy more cars in this market? What ever the press car fleets cost, its nickels and dimes compared to any media blitz package bought thru an ad agency. It's millions of dollars vs thousands of dollars, and the press car fleet probably gets them more direct positive automotive press than any other media they can invest in.

Never let them see you sweat is an old business axiom, and grounding the press fleets is a bad way to look confident in today's market.

Take care
,

Tony Leopardo
Editor and Publisher
AutoWire.Net - 650-348-8269
www.autowire.net
 

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