Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are volunteered and express the opinions of the writer. Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit a tom-tom. Your reward: a byline and an audience of your peers. All submissions are acknowledged, queued and used at the editor’s discretion.
Keith Griffin’s reviews of new cars and articles about the automotive industry have appeared in national publications like AutoExec magazine and leading regional publications like The Boston Globe and The Improper Bostonian. His automotive writing regularly appears in Hartford Magazine, AutoExec Magazine, Stonebridge Press Newspapers and Life Newspapers among others. He is also a regular guest on local radio stations to explain automotive issues and has done research for a major new car website. Keith belongs to both the International and New England Motor Press Associations and is founder of the Internet Car & Truck of the Year awards.
Since creating the Internet Car and Truck of the Year awards in early 2009 I have more closely followed the automotive blogging community. In those 18 months I have come to the following conclusions: there’s a lot of talent out there, mystery revolves around what makes one blogger more important than another, and bloggers need to come together as a group to professionalize what we do.
One part of the Internet Car and Truck of the Year awards is the Internet Automotive Writing Competition. Open to anybody who writes about automobiles on the Internet, last year’s inaugural contest attracted scores of entries, including some from manufacturer reps who maintain a company blog.
I took an important message away from judging the entries (along with others) and my increased interest in automotive bloggers. Not all writers are twenty-something gearheads with no formal education clacking away one finger at a time in their mothers’ basements. There are talented bloggers on the web with engaging, intelligent writing styles. Names that come to mind include Alex Nunez from Autoblog, Jason Fogelson from About.com, Lyndon Conrad Bell of Sports Car Monitor (who won for a piece written at Examiner.com of all places – the horrors!), Jil McIntosh from Canada, and most things written by Jonny Lieberman, even if he has defected back to the Dark Ages of print.
Actually, bringing up Lieberman reminds me of something else. Good Internet writers can work on both sides of the fence but print scribes struggle when trying to handle the intricacies of search engine optimization, good linking, and other things. Print journalists will sputter in their coffee but there is a science to Internet automotive writing.