Autowriters Spotlight: Jeff Melnychuk & Malcolm Gunn

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

Autowriters Spotlight: Jeff Melnychuk 

Jeff Melnychuk

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.

Autowriters Spotlight: Malcolm Gunn

Malcolm Gunn

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: mg@wheelbase.ws

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Malcolm Gunn:

    I enjoyed your recent article re: Volkswagen Rabbit. It was indeed a good car, and a great boost for VW. But it was not the Rabbit that ‘spawned many visual copies’ but was in fact itself a copy of the BMC Mini created by Alec Issigonis some 16 years earlier (1959). The Mini and later improvements by BMC (Austin/MG 1100 Sedan & Austim America) started the revolution to transverse-engined front-wheel drive cars we experience today.

    Barry N. Blackwood, P.E.

    1. Hi, Barry:

      You make a valid point concerning transverse engine development, but the Rabbit was much farther advanced than the Mini in that, as a hatchback, it offered considerably greater versatility than any of the early BMC products that provided for only limited cargo room. Furthermore, by offering a relatively powerful standard powerplant plus the option of four doors and a more civilized cabin, the car appealed to a broader range of buyers.
      The groundbreaking Golf/Rabbit series inspired similar models, including the Fiat Strada and Chrysler Corp’s Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon duo, not to mention the hundreds of similar bodystyles that have emerged since that time from the global auto manufacturing community. From these perspectives, and in my humble opinion, the original Rabbit has proven to be a far more significant and successful car than the the Mini and its various BMC offshoots.

      Malcolm Gunn
      Wheelbase Communications Ltd.

  2. Mr. Gunn, I have enjoyed your work for a number of years, but a couple of years ago I was reading one of you reviews in the local (Memphis, TN ) newspaper the Commercial Appeal. I can’t even remember the particular car now… I started reading and there was no price mentioned for the automobile even though you pointd out what a great buy it was. Then there was no test numbers, even thought this was supposed to be a sports car… I thought Mr. Gunn has lost it, this is the worst review/test I have ever read. I went to you web site to let you know what I thought and there was the test with all the numbers and information missing from the newspaper article. The paper, I now know, consistantly prints only a portion of you writtings…I was reminded today(Sunday April 25) when with I read with delight your article about the Porsche Cayman…. I bet if I go to the web site I can get the rest of the article not published here…
    Thanks, Walter

  3. Hi,

    I saw a headline Airstream delivers a cool way to camp … evendently writen by you but was unable to access the info …. can you direct me to any further info?

    Thanks,
    Spencer

  4. I saw your article in Newsday’s Sunday paper (10/02/11) about ’60 Olds, I enjoyed it very much since I own and work on old cars. I noticed you said this car had an optional 3 speed jetaway hydramatic transmission but my experience (over 40 years in the transmission business as rebuilder and owner) tells me that the transmission was a 4 speed.

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