TTAC Open Forum: Let's Talk About the Elephant in the Room (and Everything Else)

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
ttac open forum let s talk about the elephant in the room and everything else

On average, TTAC runs 12 stories a day consisting of features, reviews and news. On average, virtually none of those are about TTAC.

Let’s change that.

It’s not goodbye

As most of our loyal readers have noticed, Cameron has left the news position. However, this is not the end of Cameron’s tenure at TTAC.

In her heartfelt letter to our readers yesterday, Cameron outlined the main stumbling block with having her take the reins in the news editor position: her lack of a driver’s license.

“But, how does a driver’s license have anything to do with news?” you may ask. It’s simple, really. The news editor is now also responsible for reviews and we may send that person on a trip here and there. Being able to drive is essential to the new role.

Cameron will be back, hopefully sooner rather than later, as she details getting her license as an adult. After this, hopefully she will become a regular fixture at TTAC once again, but that’s more so in her hands than mine.

If there’s one thing I can say about Cameron, though, it’s that she is probably the hardest working writer … scratch that … hardest working person I’ve ever met. Period. I’ve never seen anyone churn out the sheer volume of copy she does while still keeping the quality of said copy as high as virtually everyone else who writes for TTAC.

And truth be told, I completely stopped editing her pieces after a while. Instead, I would just enjoy them like you all did – as news and a break from the daily grind of work.

Say hello to newsbot v2.43.1 Aaron Cole

Denver, Colorado resident Aaron Cole will be taking the reins of the freshly assembled Ikea news desk.

Aaron brings with him 12 years of journalism experience with 5 of those in the automotive world. His responsibilities will include news, op-eds and reviews. He will also help me not make a fool out of myself by editing my pieces before the B&B rip them apart. While I’m on the road, Aaron will act as managing editor.

Please say hello to Aaron. I promise he’s not a robot.

TTAC is growing and we need to keep it that way

Things are looking up for TTAC. Over the last month or so, TTAC readership has increased. If TTAC were an automaker, we would publish a release today about all the gains, breaking it down by article type and opening up our production numbers for interpretation. Instead, I will tell you one very simple, small bit of information that will explain the decisions made above.

Regurgitated news is dead.

TTAC and others crank out copy based on press releases from automakers and other companies involved in the industry. The majority of us automotive journalists start our careers this way as stringers. We do it cheaply too, so as to get a byline and point to it as proof of prior work. Think of it as a character-building exercise.

Unfortunately, it’s this content that also rarely resonates with readers. Only one out of 20 or 30 news pieces garners the same attention as an average feature piece. As a response to that, TTAC will be digging deeper going forward.

Our goal will be to provide a perspective in every story that isn’t offered anywhere else. Unless it’s a breaking news item of significant importance or a piece of information that would be dangerous if omitted, we won’t cover it unless there’s a story to be told. The days of simply copying information from a press release or deriving a story from another article solely so we have another headline will eventually come to an end. They will be replaced by long(er)-form news features.

Obviously, this isn’t a change that’s going to happen overnight. Sit tight, relax, and continue to enjoy the TTAC you know tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Now it’s your turn

The mic is now all yours. Please feel free to sound off in the comments. Aaron and I will attempt to reply to each and every one. Also, don’t limit yourselves to the topics above. Everything is on the table today.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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13 of 344 comments
  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Jul 15, 2015

    As much as I enjoy Jack's writing -- and believe me, I do -- I'd like to ask that you encourage the other writers to use (or find) their own voice. I read a piece earlier today that seemed like it was trying to be Baruth-y. Maybe it was deliberate, maybe it was unconscious, maybe the writer was just trying something out, but the result was awkward. Besides, I don't think the world could handle more than one Jack Baruth.

    • See 7 previous
    • VolandoBajo VolandoBajo on Jul 17, 2015

      @bball40dtw Thanks bball49dtw and 28-Cars-Later. They were well deserved. And there were a few more I didn't recall at that moment, but I have added them in elsewhere. Most noticeably Murilee and Ronnie. And I should have included Sajeev's evil twin Sanjeev, as well. In all seriousness, the level of discourse on this site is head and shoulders above just about any other place. And even the few that might come near are ones focussed on some incredibly pointy-headed and narrowly focused discipline. This is the only place online that I know of that combines a lot of intelligence with a lot of wit and camaraderie. I am honored and flattered to be considered a part of it, even a small one. I'm glad I missed the BS and Niedermayer years, but I have gone back and read enough of the history to know why and not to just mindlessly crank out that sentiment. And as hard as the management tries, and as good a job as they do overall, it is the collective mind of the B&B that makes this place unique. I hope to be able to hang around here for a good while longer, and hope all of you I enjoy interacting with will do the same. (And even a few of you I don't enjoy or don't interact with, for that matter.)

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 16, 2015

    "Aaron and I will attempt to reply to each and every one." More broken promises!

  • Kat Laneaux @VoGhost - Not getting into politics. Let me say this though. I wouldn't trust Trump as far as I can throw him. His history precedes his actions and I am so not ok with it. The devil is the master of lies, unfortunately Trump is not far behind him. The guy is so desperate to stay in office, he might as well be Mussolini, or Putin. He just wants power and to be idolized. It's not about working for the people, he doesn't care about us. Put a camera on him and he wants the glory. As I said, his actions speak louder than words.
  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies.