Gary Grant speaks up for the new media in this month’s Tom-Tom. He grew up around auto racing and spent 23 years on the retail and repair side of the industry. His automotive media work began in Toronto in 2002 as radio show’s Toronto guest host. He began TheGarageblog.com in 2005.
Why Traditional Print Media Sucks
“A few months ago, a colleague mentioned that he wanted to introduce me to a friend who’s a big fan of the magazine, and a real car/life enthusiast. I’ve heard this offer before — that person is usually a longtime reader who just wants to talk about his favorite old cars — so I politely dismissed the request. And besides, he lives in Chicago, far away from Los Angeles, even farther for someone who hates the cold. No chance. ” Sam Mitani in the May 2009 issue of Road and Track
The rise of New Media content versus the fall of Traditional Print media has been a hotly contested topic anywhere writers congregate. Not only are TP jobs evaporating but there are newcomers of all sorts who are stealing the thunder away from many of the old boy’s club.
The above statement by a respected member of the TP community exemplifies the reason the old boy’s clubs are falling apart. Strangely, Mitani is a digital savvy guy who seems to know his way around the web so I was rather taken aback by the comment.
A huge key to the success of NM is the transparency of the medium. Readers are encouraged to respond and interact. Writers, publishers and videographers will respond in person to a reader’s request. Most will go out of their way to actually meet up with readers if location permits because by building a real world community alongside the virtual one builds brand loyalty.
Most NM writers must work very hard and commit to years of work before they are taken seriously and even still are often shunned by the old guard. While some of the NM folks have followed the semi traditional route of going to journalism school and taking the more accommodating route of writing online, many of us actually have real industry and motorsports backgrounds. You could even say that some of us are automotive experts who also happen to write. How many TP guys can say the same?
TP types often point to the lack of an editor. Poppycock! Pick up the local newspaper. Heck, pick up Road and Track. The quantity of typos is frightful. Recently I spent some time with the chief editor of one of the top NM automotive outlets and I can say first hand that every line of content is scrutinized before the post button is pressed. As the publisher of a smaller blog, I must admit that I self edit and do my best to correct what few small mistakes my writers make.
The big question here is how do Mitani and R & T get off thinking they are above meeting the people? They print 700,000 which they somehow manipulate into 5.5 million readers. Gawker media advertises that www.Jalopnik.com serves 2.2 million unique visits monthly which equates to roughly 21.2 million page views. Those are real eyeballs, not a guess as to how many people picked up a copy in the doctor’s office. The staff at Jalopnik interact with their readers at every chance they get. They are not alone, as most NM outlets make a point of getting to know their readers while Mitani openly admits to rebuffing a loyal reader!
Until TP manages to wrap their collective heads around the importance of building a real community alongside the virtual community, NM will continue to steal readers. Along with those readers come the ever important advertisers. I would imagine it is tough to fire up a printing press without advertising dollars!