“How do you get a job like that?”
Since June 13th, 2012, I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count. That was the day that my first post appeared on TTAC. Between then and now, I’ve been fortunate enough to be published on several sites around the internet and in print. As a result, I can’t sit next to somebody on a plane or work a corner at an autocross with a group of Tilley-wearers without being asked some variation of that same question.
I typically respond in the same way. “Start writing.” You can’t be a writer without writing — seems simple enough, but that’s where most people get stuck. Never fear. Your Uncle Bark is here to help you get started. If you want to get free flights to Tenerife, I can’t help you. But if you want to share your love of cars with the world, keep reading.
[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted with the title “Why Are We Given A New Car To Drive Each Week? And How? GCBC’s Background, Ethics, And Methods Explained” on GoodCarBadCar on March 28, 2016. I asked Tim if we could repost it here because, whether he knows it or not, he’s one of the very few people in this business you should aspire to be if you want to become an automotive journalist. It is reposted here with his permission and for your education. —MS]
Of the 6200+ posts on GoodCarBadCar, only 3 percent are car reviews. In February 2016, for example, we published five reviews on GCBC plus 66 other articles, not to mention another eight submissions at The Truth About Cars and six more at Autofocus.ca.
Yet it is with increasing frequency that the people with whom I have personal contact — whether in conversation at visiting hours for a funeral, in emails from long-time readers, when questioned by soon-to-be car buyers — clearly believe that the bulk of my work revolves around driving fast cars down twisty roads.
It doesn’t. (Read More…)
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.
However, during the last few days, it’s become incredibly clear that some automotive journalists don’t have a deep (or shallow) understanding of ethics and disclosure. Even TTAC, at times, has failed to disclose the extent of the consideration offered by manufacturers during press trips.
This is where we fix all of that.
In light of the great Yogi Berra’s recent passing, I felt it appropriate to use one of his more famous “Yogisms” for the title of today’s editorial. It’s about a time when a great institution was accused of cheating and lying to all of its customers. It’s about a time when numbers were inflated beyond rational belief, yet everyone, including industry experts and reporters, blatantly looked the other way. It’s about a time when our government decided to get involved and start calling people to testify on Capitol Hill.
I’m referring, of course, to the Steroid Era in baseball. Oh, you thought I meant #Dieselgate? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong. Here’s how the two situations are remarkably similar, and how it’s amazing that either was ever discovered.
Everyone please welcome Steve Lynch, author of “Arrogance and Accords“, as our newest contributor!
Yesterday I was working for the greatest automobile company in the world.
Today I am working for the greatest automotive blog in the world.
Yesterday I was working for the Germans.
Today I am working for a 25-year-old Canadian kid who loves rap music.
I am one lucky sumbitch.
I elected to take early retirement after 17 years at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The hardest part about leaving the OEM auto business is giving up the free company car. The 2015 ML350 you see above was my last ride and is currently for sale at Mercedes-Benz of Tucson (Low Miles! Illuminated Grill Star! Celebrity Owned!). God, it hurts… (Read More…)
Earlier this week, I wrote about the General Motors XP-75 Eagle and the idea that GM might have engaged in a relatively small bit of realpolitik during said plane’s conception and gestation. I’ve been writing for TTAC long enough to have a fairly accurate sense of how the B&B as a whole will regard whatever I write, but in the case of this article my guesses about what I’d find in the comments section were completely and thoroughly mistaken. I’d like to address them as part of larger concerns I have about the future of writing and criticism on the Internet, and I will do so in what you’re about to read.
But first, let’s talk about the way the Japanese treated prisoners during World War II, shall we?
Since I started my career, I’ve been asked countless times, whether by acquaintances, friends, reader emails and just about every male with a pulse and a drivers license; how do I get your job (or, for our readers, how can I start writing for TTAC). I’ve seen a few lame, generalized articles about “how to be an automotive journalist”, but this one will tell you how to actually make a career out of it, rather than simply spending your days as an “independent blogger” while working at the Verizon store to pay the bills.
There are times I really wish I had half the brains, knowledge, and skill of the average print-rag journo. Today is one of those times. You see, in my not-so-spare time, my race team and I have designed a lower control-arm brace for the first-generation Neon. It’s a neat thing, looks very industrial. I’m making it right here in Ohio, using 5000-series aluminum for corrosion resistance. The parts are laser-cut, and we have some semi-sophisticated CAD modeling tools involved to ensure it’s as strong as possible for the given weight. I’ll have the first batch of fifty in my hands this upcoming Friday.
Now here’s the big question. Will this brace fit the second-generation Neon? For the last decade, I’ve been reading various assertions by “automotive journalists” that the “PL2000” Neon is really the same “platform” as the first-gen car. If that’s really true — if all Neons are the same under the skin — this brace should bolt right up and we won’t have to go back to the CATIA screen to design a different one. We could sell a lot of them to owners of the newer Neons and SRT-4s. What do you think? Would you double your planned production run based on what you’ve read in Car and Driver? Of course not. Instead, we’re heading to the junkyard with a prototype to measure and check.
Inspired by the Michael Karesh review of “Sixty To Zero” today, I thought I would share some aspects of auto journalism with the TTAC readers. To the best of my knowledge, this kind of information has not appeared anywhere in the print-rag world or “blogosphere”… and perhaps after reading this, you will understand why.
What I propose to do is to take you along with me for a “typical” product reveal. I’m combining various “signature” aspects of different companies’ press events here to create an imaginary journal for my trip to see the introduction of the 2011 Mythos 200EsI.. Now, if you’ll grab your bags, we have a plane to catch…