By on June 2, 2021

Sorn340 Studio Images/Shutterstock.com

Hi there. Your friendly Managing Editor here. I am checking in with you out there in B and B land to give you a quick update on what’s going on over here on this side of the computer/phone/tablet screen, over here in TTAC country.

We’re about to make a change to how we operate this site. Since before I was hired here, we’ve been chasing the news cycle along with our competition, putting out 8-10 posts per day pre COVID, and around 5 per day in recent months, thanks mostly to the pandemic causing the rush of industry news to slow from a gush to a trickle.

Well, my bosses and I have decided to focus less on the news and more on TTAC’s take on it. Even if that means fewer posts overall.

I’ll spare you the business reasons, other than to say we believe this change will be beneficial to the site and the company that owns it.

The editorial reason is simple: TTAC exists not to simply tell you the news about the automotive industry, but to drive the conversation about said news. We are here to cut through the spin and the B.S. and tell you truths that other sites skim over or ignore for whatever reason.

I’m biased, but I think we’ve mostly done a good job of that in my time here, the occasional misstep aside. But we can always do more. We already editorialize, analyze, and opine, but there’s room for more of that — and, we think, an appetite from you guys for more of it.

So that means flipping the mix. Right now, the site is 65-80 percent news, depending on the day, with the rest being reviews, features, and op-eds. We’re going to cut back on the news, especially straight news, and increase the percentage of the articles that drive conversation based on the news.

We simply think we add more value to the discourse by going more in-depth on topics than if we are just re-blogging what Automotive News already wrote.

That said, we will still run some stories that re-blog news broke by others, with or without our own take. Just less often.

Again, to be crystal clear, this doesn’t mean we don’t do any news, or that we won’t do straight “just the facts” news. Of course not. There will still be important news stories that we’d be remiss to skip, and sometimes we’ll have an opinion or analysis attached, and sometimes we’ll play it straight. As we’ve always done. But you will see fewer stories about small changes in some OEM’s C-suite or small recalls that have little to do with safety. The number won’t be zero, but it will be less than it has been.

We’ll still have news-heavy coverage of major events that break news, such as auto shows, of course.

This change does mean that depending on the day, you will likely see fewer posts — but the posts you do see will be longer, more deeply researched, and perhaps contain more original reporting.

What does this mean for your favorite features? Very little. Rare Rides, B/D/B, car reviews, junkyard finds, and most of the rest aren’t going anywhere. The timing of publication may change a bit, and mild format tweaks are always possible, but otherwise, they will continue to be part of TTAC. Except for Ace of Base, which became a COVID-related casualty thanks to the dearth of new-car launches in 2020. Mr. Guy and I are already brainstorming how to replace it.

You may also see some new bylines on the site, including some that you haven’t seen on these digital pages in years. You’ll also continue to see the same masthead you see now, except for Jason — he has left us to pursue other opportunities and we wish him well.

(For those wondering about Bark, Ronnie, and Bozi, they remain on the roster, but are all busy with other projects at the moment.)

You might even see your own bylines here. That’s right: As part of this shift, I am putting out a call for pitches. If you have ideas for stories about the industry that you think fit TTAC’s style and mission, feel free to reach out. I can’t promise I’ll reply to everyone, but if I like it, I’ll be in touch.

That’s on a freelance basis, to be clear — we are not looking to hire a new newsbot/news contributor at this time.

One last thing: The current commenting policies and moderation operations remain in place, unchanged.

That, as they say, is that. If you have questions or feedback, sound off below.

[Image: Sorn340 Studio Images/Shutterstock.com]

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50 Comments on “Housekeeping: There Are Gonna Be Some Changes Around Here...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I applaud these changes – all of them.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Any chance on updated commenting software? Something more robust with customized avatars, signatures, locations, ability to post images, links, etc?

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      The idea of redesigning the site has been on my mind since day 1, but for a variety of internal reasons it has not happened yet. It’s still something we’d like to do. And I’d think if it gets done, an updated commenting system would likely be a part of it.

      • 0 avatar
        6250Claimer

        An update would be most welcomed. But please, avoid commenting systems like Disqus or that “Facebook plug-in” that requires logging in with FB credentials, same for anything tied to Google.

        Have a look at this Apple site. The first few comments to posts are shown right below the article, then the remainder (and the initial ones too) are linked out to their forum software. Seems like a good solution.

        https://appleinsider.com

  • avatar
    tane94

    More Murilee Martin columns, please.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Good call

  • avatar
    mcs

    This is good. Take some time to dig into the stories. Find the truth. Question what’s being reported. The other sites have dropped the ball on at least three recent stories I can think of. Two you know about, one no one picked up on. Be journalists and dig into these stories. Make the url/web site name mean something.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Make me a moderator so I can rule with an iron fist.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve been very concerned about the future of this site for the last few months. Jason was doing a thankless job and I appreciate the work he did, but the articles started getting really weak, likely due to lack of interesting stories, and the comments really started to drop. I recognize that number of comments does not belie the number of people viewing, but I went from reading 5-6 articles per day to 1, maybe 2.

    Change is definitely needed and will be welcomed. I’ve been visiting and commenting here for a(n alarmingly) long time now and it’s one of my favorite places to visit and comment. I’ll see articles elsewhere and I can’t wait to get over here to see what folks here have to say about it.

    Looking forward to seeing these changes implemented.

  • avatar
    jmo

    +1000

  • avatar
    jmo

    And just FYI, I’ve been spending a lot less of my time here because Savagees, StraigtPipes, Doug Demuro, etc. offer a ton of car info with essentially no political bias. If I want politics, I can certainly find that on the internet. If you could reduce/eliminate as much political commentary as possible that would be great. Focus on the product.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Politics does intersect with the car industry, especially the regulatory stuff we cover, but as per usual, we will try to keep all political pieces, whether newsy or opinion or analysis, connected to the industry.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      You may not be interested in politics, but politics is very much interested in you, as a car owner/enthusiast; and that interest is increasing daily.

      In the beginning (i.e. the Ralph Nader era), it was safety. Then it was emissions. Then it was fuel economy. Now it’s massive subsidies for electric cars. So, you’d have to go back at least to the early 1960s and the Kennedy administration to avoid the mixture of politics and cars.

      Admittedly, some commenters allow themselves to go off on a political tangent, well beyond the political implications of the article about which they purport to be commenting. But that’s their issue, not Mr. Healy’s,IMHO.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I already told, you. As supplement to a junkyard find, I offer to create a subsection: “I can’t believe I saw it!”

    When you see some rare cars on the road or rare situations.

    Meanwhile in Russia. Aurus Senat is going into production. Will it come here?

    https://www.autoevolution.com/news/the-aurus-senat-officially-goes-into-production-so-you-too-can-roll-like-putin-162410.html

  • avatar
    FThorn

    I can’t wait to find out what the truth about cars focus is.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “including some that you haven’t seen on these digital pages in years.”

    Get Farago to write something.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    I like this plan. But please don’t become Jalopnik.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I definitely would like to see a deeper dive into the news as opposed to a warm regurgitation of what’s out there. A case in point is the “chip” shortage. A deep dive into that industry and how they plan products and fill contracts would have been interesting.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Where’s Corey when I need him?

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/greensburg-cadillac/7330310752.html

    The power of 4.5 compels you!*

    *The Allante’s 4100 was not a true 4100 but a close copy of the 4.5, and the Allante’s later 4.5 closer to a 4.9 approximation.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It still has the hardtop still but an ’87 means it uses the HT4100 engine of shame.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        https://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/topic/19098-allante-ht-4100-engine/?tab=comments#comment-133572

        • 0 avatar

          Looks like a good one, though I’d probably choose a tan interior one as they didn’t get that weird red/red two-tone look on the materials.

          And btw the Allante we covered was an Indy 500 pace car one!

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2018/01/rare-rides-the-cadillac-allante-race-car-in-1992/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was just perusing that article through a search. I will quote myself:

            BEHOLD ITALIANO-AMERICAN LUXURY!

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2018/01/rare-rides-the-cadillac-allante-race-car-in-1992/#comment-9441112

            @ajla

            I’d want the MY91/92 ideally but these things were never very common and I’m sure most of those currently available are owned by the “I KNOW WHAT I GOT” guy who wants all the money for one. Seems about 5K is the going rate these days for a working FWD convertible. So is it 4.1 Allante or these beauties (read through both)?

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/pittsburgh-1999-volvo-c70-convertible/7327328714.html

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/new-kensington-2009-volvo-c70-hardtop/7317517996.html

            You must choose. But choose wisely, as the true ‘vert will bring you life, and the false ‘vert will take it from you.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’m not sure if the Allante’s 4.1L is more reliable than the garden variety versions, but still why get one over a 4.5L car?

          • 0 avatar

            I think I’ma be bold here and go 93 with Northstar and analog gauges. The N* is okay when you fix the gasket/bolt crap, which will have been done already.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Similar to early Jaguar V8s, if you’ve got receipts then that’s fine, but I think a lot of ’93s are unfixed, low mileage time bombs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            Bold.

            Let’s see what’s behind Door #1… and its a blown head gasket!

            @ajla

            You mean the AJ-V8? No V8 in MY93.

          • 0 avatar

            If I’m investing in this classic car, may as well not have to deal with a 4.5 boat anchor in it.

            I can fix the HG if there’s no documentation, and enjoy having plenty of power.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            Unless you were going old old school, I would think your Cadillac collecting days are over.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ironically I looked at one of these new in 2014, passed on the weak sauce motor and acceleration and ended up with another used Saturn on the cheap. MSRP was like 27K *then*.

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/ligonier-acura-ilx-2014/7330365638.html

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I can fix the HG if there’s no documentation”

            I didn’t know you were so mechanically inclined. The N* head bolts are quite a job.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Depending on condition and acquisition cost, refurbishing a Northstar Allante may make sense. Probably makes more sense though to go with Ye Old 4.5 and spend the difference on recon.

            Ghetto Fab!

            https://www.ebay.com/itm/265091867076?fits=Model%3AAllante&hash=item3db8b4e1c4:g:lYkAAOSwVChgUneR

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Pac-Man dash!

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/crabtree-1988-oldsmobile-toronado-trofeo/7327470016.html

          • 0 avatar

            Oh I definitely meant “have it fixed.” I’m not an mechanic.

            But as 28 stated, I’m done owning old Cadillacs too. The 90s stuff combines the worst bits of the brand: unique tech, unique parts, indifferent build quality.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            How about a similar period Buick Reatta?

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/elizabeth-1988-buick-reatta/7326375718.html

            Dash doesn’t work but this guy just happens to be parting an ’89 with the same digital dash:

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/pts/d/oakdale-1989-buick-reatta-parting-out/7321287207.html

            I think it will actually run without the dash at all, I don’t think the transaxle shifts into limp home mode in this period if the dash is missing. My ’90 Audi 100 ran with the dash cluster removed just fine (well into second gear at least).

          • 0 avatar

            Seems like 90+ on the Reatta is a no brainer, to avoid the touchscreen stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Really, not even bothering with the coupe version is the move… but that one happens to be available and since we saw the Escort wagon can command something like $8K this in the future may increase in value.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Wouldn’t mind seeing a weekly post about the origins of specific car brands both domestic and foreign. Ransom Olds would be a good one and so would the origins of Cadillac and where the name Cadillac came from along with the Cadillac coat of arms.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @jeffs: I just watched a youtube video on the origins of AMC going all the way back to Jeffrey and Hudson. I like the history stuff as well.

      youtube.com/watch?v=TCmHII0Pp9w&t=2462s

  • avatar
    fazalmajid

    Opinion is cheap and worth even less. Detailed analysis of trends takes hard investigative work and is valuable. Obviously the big macro trend is the move to electric cars, but how the transition will happen, and what is required to make them mainstream is a huge topic.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @mcs–I saw that as well and enjoyed it.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    I want less stupid super duper car articles and more about vehicles for the average driver.

  • avatar
    JaVeyron

    I’m honestly excited to hear that a business case can be made for quality, unique writing, which goes against the trend of content mill clickbaity crap. This is the perfect place for deep dives, inside baseball, and cutting through marketing spin, since it would fit TTAC’s brand and differentiate it from other sites. Looking forward to read the new stuff!

  • avatar

    more moderation of political rants please. I already have twitter for the Two Minutes’ Hate.

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