John Davis who is the creator and host of the hit PBS show MotorWeek is well known in the auto industry and among auto journalists. Since MotorWeek is a production of Maryland Public Television and filmed in Owings Mills, MD John Davis frequents many of the local radio shows around Baltimore. Yesterday he was on Midday with Dan Rodricks on WYPR, the local Baltimore NPR affiliate station, talking about MotorWeek's latest Driver's Choice awards which are given out each year at the Chicago Auto Show. Listeners of Midday were encouraged to send in questions. Since the CarNewsCafe teams gets this question quite a lot, I thought it was a great question for a veteran like John Davis.
The question was asked on air by Dan Rodricks and we think John Davis gave some great advice. Here is the transcript of his reply to the question and we have edited the Midday segment down so you just listen to the answer. He talks for just under 2 minutes about getting started as an auto journalist.
Well first of all decide that you want to starve to death because it is not a profession that pays well. The reason the business is prospering is because of the internet. 15 years ago journalists, like myself, sat around wondering where the next generation of writers was gonna come from. We didn't see a lot of enthusiasm from younger writers, what was happening and that we didn't see was that they were not coming to print or television they were going to the internet starting their own blogs. The blogs get noticed by editors of major magazines. So if you want to get into this, start your own blog, do your homework, see if you can offer something different to other blogs. My advice is, know what you are talking about don't just redo press kits like a lot of these blogs do.
*Dan Rodricks makes a few comments that he got good and credible info about an auto recall on blogs.
Blogs have come a long way. When they first started up they were a place for people to complain or like I said, “Hey, I get a free test car if I write about cars.” so I'll reprint the press kits and say I'm a journalist. That's not very helpful. Now you've got folks that are either doing it as a sideline ,or whatever, that are very serious about it and we check a half-dozen or so of them everyday.
FYI, if you asked us this question this is what we would tell you but maybe phrase it differently. Except the part about starving since you'd be surprised how little auto writing pays. 🙂
You can listen to the whole Midday show with John Davis here. Let us know if you found his advice useful.
Well there is some surprising news in the automotive and media world today. Tom and Ray Magliozzi who are the hosts of the very popular radio show “Car Talk” on National Public Radio (NPR) are calling it quits after more than 25 years on the air. The news was confirmed on the Car Talk website via the staff blog in a posting entitled “Time to Get Even Lazier.” The two brothers and hosts of the show stated they would not be continuing with the popular radio show. They are also known as “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers.”
“As of October, we’re not going to be recording any more new shows. That’s right, we’re retiring.” declared Tom on the Car Talk blog. The show will still have reruns though as Ray said, “Every week, starting in October, NPR will broadcast a newly assembled Car Talk show, selected from the best material in our archives.”
I am personally a huge fan of Car Talk and was very upset to hear this news. I am sure lots of other people are as well.
Yesterday I called into WYPR's Midday with Dan Rodricks because John Davis of MotorWeek was on the program. I got to ask John Davis a question which was, “What advice would you have for a young automotive journalist like myself?” His advice was to get into doing other forms of media like podcasting and making videos of myself talking about cars. He said automotive websites are always on the lookout for new versatile talent and that's what they like to see. He thought I was on the right track with what I was doing though. That felt good. He feels I was on the right track with my blogging and writing. I am glad I got the opportunity to talk with him. Someday I hope to be on MotorWeek!
Yesterday I go started off later than I wanted to around 11:30 am. It's hard saying goodbye to your family and making yourself actually leave. I went to the supermarket got some ice, bananas, sandwich bread, and turkey meat. I put ice in the cooler with Gatorade bottles I had gotten from before and put meat in there. Having the cooler came in handy later in the day when I stopped for lunch around 2. Most people would have gone to a fast-food place, but I did not. Well… I did get some fries at In-N-Out for $1.51 when I stopped in to use the bathroom. My lunch expenses though were minimal compared to buying a meal. Having the cooler was also great for keeping myself hydrated. I drank several of the Gatorade bottles from the cooler. If you are taking a roadtrip, buy a cooler! It's a great investment.
I was able to drive just over 400 miles today up I-15. I was quite pleased with myself and my progress. I made only 3 short stops. I saw some beautiful mountains and scenery driving. Especially the sunset coming into Utah. I drove up Las Vegas Blvd. Better known as the “The Strip” in… Las Vegas. It's quite an interesting and strange town. Everything is over the top and gaudy. I would have liked to stop, look around, and try my hand at poker. I did not want to get tempted though and make a stupid decision. For a young single guy in Vegas with no support team, it could happen. That would have been baaaad!
I passed through Vegas and kept driving. Driving on I-15 with barren dessert, makes you think it would have been a good idea to stop in Vegas for some fun. Funny thing is you get really tired and then all of a sudden you perk up. Might have been from my blaring radio. Don't know how anyone could drive so far and long without one. The best music to keep you up is pop, classic rock, and rap. If you want to fall asleep listen to C-SPAN, NPR, or Classical Music. Not to say those don't have there place and value, but to keep you alert while driving it is not the best. Tomorrow I will most likely hookup my iPod and listen to Podcasts.
I stopped in St. George, Utah. I used this great website called Couchsurfing.org. It's a website where people who need a place to stay can find peoples couches who offer them. I sent out a few couch requests for people in Utah, but came up empty. Then a great guy named Lex who works for a regional was nice enough to offer his place to a traveling writer. He was really cool and told me all about the differences in airline industry, which I found very interesting.
Denver is almost 10 hours away from St. George. I don't think I can do that in 1 day. I think tomorrow I will stop in at a motel. I will stop at a Zion National Park since it's close and right off I-15. Check back for some great pictures of that.