By on January 29, 2016

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After 853 posts, No. 854 will be my last. Or, at least, my final scheduled story for now.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know TTAC, its readership, fellowship, authors, contributors, editors and the B&B.

Among the thousands of words that I’ve written that have reached your eyeballs, there are only three that come to mind when I think about my tenure as your Newsbot: Thank you, everyone.

Mark Stevenson called me on a typical sunny day in Denver: “I’d like you to join our team,” he said as I sat in a pot shop parking lot. (It just happened to be where I pulled over.) For more than a decade, my professional career was entirely in newspapers. Writing solely for the Internet was scary and exciting in equal parts. In retrospect, it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

To be sure, I had no idea what I was getting into. Mark’s trust was, in my eyes, completely unfounded. I had familiarized myself as best as I could with TTAC — Jack’s rental review of a Jetta was brilliant in my book — but I still had dumb questions such as, “What does B&B mean?”

Over the months, I tried to complement as best I could the brutal honesty and integrity that TTAC is famous for. In October, fully engrossed in the Volkswagen diesel scandal, Mark and I talked about TTAC’s place in automotive journalism: “People will want to know the truth about their cars, and TTAC has it built into the damn name,” I said. The name makes a promise that its writers will fulfill every day — I believe that.

I know TTAC doesn’t have a monopoly on the truth, but it does have a helluva staff zeroed on telling the truth, which is more than most publications can say and comforting for me as I leave.

  • Mark Stevenson is fearless and diligent. His trust and confidence is an asset to TTAC, its readers and its writers. Without Mark, I wouldn’t be where I am nor would I have the same future. I can’t wait to see where he takes TTAC.
  • Jack Baruth is one of the best writers I’ve ever read. I first met Jack years ago outside Las Vegas when he schooled every journalist on a track near Pahrump. I don’t think Jack remembers meeting me for the first time, but I certainly remember meeting him. He’s impressive in prose and in person, and when I heard he’d be returning to TTAC daily I thought, “I can’t wait to read what he writes.”
  • Chris Tonn is my favorite Libertarian and a font for automotive knowledge. Getting to know Chris and reading his first review excites me for his future. I hope he tells everyone the story about almost buying a Nissan Cube. I can’t wait for everyone to get to know him better.
  • Bozi Tatarevic is the best friend I haven’t yet met. Without Bozi’s help I couldn’t have written some of my biggest stories for TTAC, and without his positivity and humor, I couldn’t have made it through some of the longer days I’ve worked here. I can’t wait for Bozi to be on the masthead.
  • Bark M. is the type of writer every newsroom needs. He’s unflinching in his criticism and willing to speak over everyone else to say what needs to be said. I can’t wait for him to flog more automakers.
  • Murilee Martin is the reason I’m here. Most of you know him, and I consider myself to be one of the lucky few that gets to call him a friend. We sat together at a Colorado Rockies game last year and he told me to “just get the TTAC gig” and that was that. Go to the nearest LeMons race and shake his hand — you’ll be glad you did. I can’t wait to repay Murilee — if that’s even possible.
  • Ronnie is the type of writer I wish I could be sometimes. He’s unafraid of word counts, long-form journalism and great storytelling. I can’t wait to read more of his history.
  • Alex Dykes is exhaustive and comprehensive. His reviews, on the days I had to edit them, were like diving face-first into the deep end of a car’s guts and not catching a breath until 3,000 words later. He has insight and context — a rare combo in car reviewers. I can’t wait to have enough time to actually read and enjoy his reviews.
  • Doug DeMuro is a Denver kid living abroad and one of the nicest people I know. He possesses a mind that I’ll never have. I look at cars and ask “How?” while Doug looks at things and asks “Why?” I can’t wait for what he thinks of next.
  • Cameron Aubernon is smart and talented. She set up a great system for me to inherit and has been gracious enough to help when I’ve been gone. I can’t wait for her future.

And lastly — but certainly not the least:

  • The B&B have been my favorite part of the job. The regular readers and commenters have made my day when I needed it the most — and taken me to task when I needed it the most. Without you, I couldn’t keep the lights on or have a roof over my head. I can’t wait to join your ranks — but only if you’ll have me.

I’m not going far and my departure is on great terms. I’m changing jobs, but I’m not changing friends.

Thank you and goodbye. I can’t wait to see you all again.

Aaron

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