Chrysler Shuts Down "Firehouse" Media Blog

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler shuts down firehouse media blog
Chrysler’s Ed Garsten breaks the last bit of bad news TheFirehouse will ever have to spin:I wanted to let you know that on Wednesday we’ll be closing the doors at, our media-only blog…We had a great time posting things you wouldn’t dare put in a news release. Things like “Friday Night, Gotta Go,” an explanation of the company’s potty break policy in response to a minor flap at one of our competitors. When coverage of recalls at domestic automakers seemed out of whack, compared with coverage for recalls by foreign companies, we listed every recall by a major Japanese competitor that had previously won a free pass in the press, and pointed out that indeed, they had recalled many, many more vehicles than the Detroit bunch.Our biggest blowout was calling out “Big Oil” for artificially propping up fuel prices.Over time we were playful, pointed, and took great glee in “guiding” journalists towards positive results hidden in those monthly sales reports.The brick and mortar firehouse during the auto show has been gone for a couple of years, a victim of financial realities, and now we’ve made the tough, but logical decision, to shutter the virtual version.O Noes! Where, oh where will the internet get its coveted Chrysler spin on the automotive industry?But first, why did TheFirehouse get shut down? Garsten admits only two failures:We took a lot of heat for denying access to the blog to anyone whom we didn’t deem an actual journalist, and, as warned, journalists didn’t comment on our posts.In other words, a blog for journalists is a dumb idea. If you’re going to have a space to spin facts, it’s far better to make it accessible by the people and eliminate the chances that a journalist or (worse yet) a blogger will un-spin your “facts” before the public thoughtlessly laps them up. Or, to put it less (overtly) cynically:What’s really changed over these 4 years and 10 months is that the public expects to get its news right from the source, not necessarily through the filter of the press. The public also has the expectation that through social media, it can take its questions, beefs, comments and criticisms directly to companies, governments and organizations.It’s a two-way street. While still depending on the press for important coverage of our company and industry, we’re now able to also promote our news, positions and products directly to the public through social media without waiting, hoping, the media will pick up particular stories or angles that benefit us.We enjoy the give and take with the public, appreciate some very blunt feedback, and embrace the opportunity to answer questions and handle customer service issues quickly and directly.By moving on from, we’re able to focus our social media efforts and resources on building that direct relationship with anyone who happens to be interested in what we’re doing. We’ll be posting plenty of material on our public blog,, become even more active on our “@Chrysler” Twitter handle and “Chrysler Communications” Facebook page, and continue to post scads of videos on our Pentastarvideo YouTube Channel.With many new products in the pipeline, we’ll make it easy for the public and the press to learn about them, and have the opportunity to post questions and feedback. We’re stepping up other activities such as web chats with executives, webcasts, and on-location social media events open to everyone, not just the press.This is not a bad move in the sense that it allows Chrysler to hammer a nail into the traditional media’s coffin instead of the other way around. Will the change actually register with most consumers? Probably not so much. Still, the media marches on… and at least Chrysler is trying to keep up.
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  • Master Baiter I'll wait for the actual driving reviews. User interface quality and range are big question marks.
  • Jeff S Years ago Kentucky issued a license plate with a horse running with the words "Unbridled Spirit." The religious right objected and did not want the plate because they believed it encouraged people to go to the race track and bet on horses. Anyone who knows anything about Kentucky knows its famous for raising horses and yes there is Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run but horses in themselves are not sinful. It got so bad that the state issued a blank sticker to put over the horse and the logo. Kentucky also issued a plate for those who were offended stating "In God We Trust." The latest KY plate has no logo and nothing. I always picked the horse because I thought horses were something to be proud of and associated with Kentucky.
  • Old Scold As a Marylander, I got those plates assigned to me when I purchased my car in 2016, 4 years after the so-called anniversary. I figured they were using up NOS, and it never occurred to me to check out the URL. I still don't care. It's a stupid issue, but I have my tag number memorized should I need it.
  • Hpycamper I drive a car with automatic braking and have nothing good to say about it. It has activated going around corners on mountain roads when the hillside is close to the road, when lawn sprinklers turned on and sprayed the car, and driving past cars on the shoulder that are making right turns. Luckily these phantom brake activations have not caused a wreck. The systems are just too dumb.
  • SCE to AUX How long until that $90k yields a profit for my grandchildren?