Passing Scene

Nabila Tanvir reports in Premium Web Content Magazine: “Found this on www.JournalismJobs.com on November 6. At the www.consumersearch.com jobs website it says they never pay less than $350 per review. They do make you write up a trial review, but it’s a fake one — they send you fake background materials that they seed with incorrect information so they can tell if you picked out the right kinds of facts for your sample. ConsumerSearch.com is part of The New York Times family of companies. Launched in 1999, ConsumerSearch.com is designed to be the best starting place for any consumer aiming to research purchase decisions” – including cars.

Erik Sass, writing for the Social Graf, “A shocking 21% of young adults said they would turn down a job if it didn’t allow them to access social network sites or their personal email during work hours, according to a new global survey of workplace attitudes and behaviors by Clearswift, a software security company. . . . Alex Taylor III, Sr. Editor Automotive, Fortune Magazine in his book Sixty To Zero: on GM’s fall: “No crimes were committed in GM’s fall. There were no great scandals involving phony accounting, exploding derivatives, or elaborate Ponzi schemes. The seeds of its decline were planted long ago and for years covered up by its huge profitability, its dominant market share, and the ineptness of its domestic competitors. GM’s collapse was caused, pure and simple, by bad management combined with ego and conceit. Successful for so long, GM executives couldn’t conceive of a world in which the “GM way” wouldn’t allow them to prosper indefinitely.”

Tim McGuire
Photo By: Randall BohlTim McGuire

The Future of Journalism” was the subject of a lively discussion at a recent meeting of the Phoenix Automotive Media Association (PAPA) that featured comments by Arizona State University professor Tim McGuire, who holds the Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Chris Poole reports, “McGuire spoke informally about the historic changes now affecting journalists and the profession, automotive and otherwise. These included “creative destruction” in today’s media businesses; the shift in the informational power model from “push” (from institutions) to “pull” (by consumers); the need for journalists to collaborate, add value and solve problems; and the importance of social networking outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. He noted that because the Internet has so commoditized news, information and opinion, an individual journalist’s influence—and maybe livelihood—increasingly depends on becoming “famous” and “followed,” which requires developing a “personal brand” through being published on the Web, blogging, and social networking activity. As part of that, Mr. McGuire advises journalists to following the advice of author Jeff Jarvis: “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” His remarks touched off a lengthy and lively discussion.” Before joining ASU Mr. McGuire was editor and senior vice-president of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the nationally syndicated columnist of “More Than Work,” which focused on workplace ethics, spirituality and values.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I fear traditional journalists are an endangered species, myself included. The trouble is, anybody can be a “journalist” today. Anybody can write literally anything and post it on a blog, forum or website — and nobody knows if what they’ve written is true or not, accurate or not, or biased or not.

    The wiki mentality has undermined the basic process of publishers paying qualified experienced people to write accurate, informative articles.

    My area of expertise is automotive, and I can’t believe all the inaccurate, misleading and downright dangerous information that’s published as gospel on internet automotive forums and blogs. Automotive ezines and newsletters still have some degree of journalistic objectivity and accuracy, but with no meaningful budgets to pay staff or freelance writers, I see them resorting more and more to running press releases and PR fluff as “news.”

  2. Larry,

    Ever notice how nobody’s trying to write the next “Moby Dick”? Have you noticed that the Internet Age hasn’t produced so much as a single pretender to the title of Great American Novel? What about a poet to rival Whitman, Eliot, or even Dos Passos? Seen any of that around? Yet there are hundreds, nay, thousands of “automotive journalists” online.

    Allow me to explain to you why that is the case. You folks set the bar so low that an illiterate high-school blogger could step over it. The “professional” automotive journalists, with a very few exceptions (Setright, Baxter, Paul Frere) wrote such laughable, nonsensical, bought-and-paid-for-by-the-industry-garbage that every kid in America thinks he can do it better. Half of them are right.

    The reason nobody’s trying to beat Melville at his own game is simple: he was too damn good for a public-school Twitter addict to surpass in 140 characters or less. The guy who writes the “Wheels” section for the _Springfield Plow and Examiner_, on the other hand, is a fat, slow-moving target, dulled to stupidity by a thousand drunken press events and lulled to obsolescence by the sweet, sweet nectar of automotive PR.

    How many of your elite corps of automotive journalists hold a race license? How many can fix a modern car? How many can swap out a freakin’ wheel bearing by themselves?

    You and your ilk made it easy. Time to retire. If you don’t feel like retiring, don’t worry; the marketplace of ideas will take you out back and put you out of your misery.

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