When doors started closing for newspaper auto writers, managing partners Jeff Melnychuk and Malcolm Gunn saw them opening for their Wheelbase Communications Ltd.. Begun in 1995 as a part-time venture while both were working for a large, multinational newspaper corporation, it is proving to be a savvy combination of talents that is successfully filling a growing need created by widespread newspaper staffing cuts. Melnychuk is an award-winning newspaper graphic designer and news editor (a rare combination), while Gunn’s lengthy
background in newspaper advertising sales management helped provide the fledgling operation with the necessary marketing lift-off.
Originally based in British Columbia and now in Moncton, New Brunswick, Wheelbase focused on providing needed automotive content for Canadian dailies. The operational base rapidly expanded to include United Sates newspapers. The company was incorporated as Wheelbase Communications Ltd. in 1998 and became a full-time operation in 2000. At that point, both partners resigned their newspaper management positions to concentrate exclusively on expanding the company’s activities.
Understanding and responding to the automotive-related needs of North American newspapers and enriching the information they, in turn, provide their readers is the company’s primary strength. They know their audience and both Melnychuk and Gunn firmly believe that reader interaction and involvement must be a key element in every automotive section and that any newspaper that ignores this basic philosophy invariably finds both its readership and its advertising revenues under direct attack.
The combination of their shared passion for all things automotive and their lengthy newspaper experience enables them to produce sections with outstanding eye appeal and upbeat features that invite readers into an auto section and whet their appetites for cars without offending dealer advertisers.
With that in mind, Wheelbase has, over the years, developed a diverse assortment of weekly, seasonal, and annual automotive-themed features that educate and entertain readers and assist newspapers in developing a welcoming environment for their automotive sections. The company focuses on imaginative, easy to comprehend features and attractive design. Far from providing just copy and text, Wheelbase-generated stories and articles are designed to jump off the page and into the reader’s consciousness.
With newspapers constantly seeking ways to streamline and consolidate their operations and instituting staffing reductions, Wheelbase Communications has been called upon to provide content for an increasing number of mastheads. Today, it is the largest operation of its kind on the continent. The company serves a virtual who’s who of North American papers, including some of the largest names and organizations in the business. Although the company specializes in print, it is increasingly supplying a growing number of newspaper online sites with a variety of features as well.
It does so with the help of dedicated staffers (Courtney Hansen and Rhonda Wheeler are regular columnists) plus a number of free-lance writers and artists, all of whom share in the company’s vision of creating timely features that are interesting to read and enhance the quality of the newspapers in which they appear. Freelancers are welcome to query Malcolm Gunn: firstname.lastname@example.org