The Battle Is Over Between Old and New Media

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In a recent President’s Message posted within the Motor Press Guild’s monthly publication, Mile Post, I wrote about a curious run of discussions shared with various members of the OEM and PR community. Normally I would have considered such chats to be a fact of life as a press organization’s President, but the frequency and tone of these conversations started to add up to a bigger story. In the April edition, I wrote:

James Bell, President of MPG
James Bell, President
Motor Press Guild

“The other big topic this month has been the role of organizations like the MPG and how they can best work with the OEMs to provide guidance and “filters” on the ever-expanding media machine. The discussion on old vs. new media is about as relevant today as CDs vs. MP3s … the battle is over. Rather than talking about old vs. new or print vs. electronic, we need to lock arms as a unified automotive community.

This point has been made even clearer to me thanks to several conversations I have had with members of other press organizations as well as several OEMs. This industry is striving for new and creative ways to engage their audiences, and some of them are looking to groups like the MPG for guidance and to help identify the best providers of this new engagement. The value of each member and their specific outlet is no longer the point — it is how well that member satisfies (addresses) the needs of his or her intended audience.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s promotional budgets have not been able to keep pace with the expansion of automotive journalism and so many are looking to us (associations like the MPG) for help. My feeling is that our goal is to provide a fair and proactive forum for all participants to meet, share perspectives, self-promote, and ultimately further our craft. The MPG is not alone in the space, as my contemporaries at other press associations have reached out to see how we are tackling this difficult subject.

Ultimately, this business demands a keen sense of responsibility. The “good ol’ days” that I keep hearing about are over, so now is the time to make sure you are offering all you can to the industry that we all love. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when opportunity stops knocking. (more…)

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Jesse Bowers for the Tom-Tom

Jesse Bowers is a classic example of the Internet’s unlocking voices that otherwise would not be heard. He claims no experience or education as a writer but his passion for cars has raised his above The New York Times’ Wheels blog (14 to 16) in one survey, he proudly reports. Retired from the U.S. Navy, Bowers has a day job and on occasion drives a cargo truck for extra pay. His blog brings in no money yet he manages to travel from his San Diego, Calif. base to 120-150 car and trade shows a year and take an amazing 50,000 to 60,000 photos. All is grist for his blog that is informed by a lifetime of reading about, tinkering and working on cars, starting at age 6 while growing up in a particularly remote part of Michigan’s already remote Upper Peninsula. For this month’s Tom-Tom he submits his thoughts on last month’s Newsletter.

Post by Post Review

Road Signs
The innovation is the internet that author David Koretz seems to not like when it comes to Google answering any question we have, but he forgot so quickly that it has innovated such amazing things like instantly translating foreign languages online? You can use Google Translate, or instant translate on Google Chrome Browser, to read from foreign countries. That was impossible for an ordinary guy like me to do before Google made it possible, I can’t read Russian, Hungarian, Portuguese, and the other languages of websites and blogs I enjoy thoroughly now. All foreign press was unintelligible, and mostly inaccessible, before the internet.

Jesse Bowers
Jesse Bowers

Road Ahead
What I feel Nina, the COE of magazine media has overlooked, is that few if any, read magazines online, yet almost all despise advertising online, and most can find the same information or photos, without paying for a magazine… you got it, online. I have linked to 4 or 5 online magazines, and yet never have looked at them since letting my readers know about them. Turning digital pages is a lousy method of simulating flipping paper pages, and who needs the simulation? I just want the feature stories, and hate the ads. Same as hardcopy.

They have a free app for blogs, and it’s not much use. I’m not sure it’s even working, and its not as good as Blog stats that Blogger recently added as a built in feature.

I agree with Linda on most everything, but have no first hand knowledge of any hardcopy press being denied free entry as media to any events I attend, as SEMA, Grand National Roadster Show, Los Angeles Roadster Show, Good Guys Nationals, Coronado Speedfest, the Primer Nats, and the Beatnik Blowout have given no indication that any media people are turned away. I actually had to point out to the GNRS people when they denied my media credential that I have far more going for my blog than most newspapers and magazines… since I’m growing, popular, awarded by my peers who’ve reviewed and enjoyed my blog above others, and that includes the paid pros that make the New York Times auto section ( ) just one example. I further argued that as about a hundred newspapers a year are failing, and have went under and out of print, and many magazines (various levels of cultural demographics) have went down and are knocked out, the internet media are thriving. 700 billion text messages were sent last year in the US was the stat that was just on the local radio news at 100.7 in San Diego. Not that those are media, but it’s digital communication in growth, and the Post Office is circling the drain.


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