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Change My Mind: Modern Motoring Journalism Is Too Formulaic

I want to know your impressions of the car, not a bunch of regurgitated facts from Wikipedia

31w ago

Ten years ago, if you were to open up a copy of any motoring magazine, you'd find it littered with people's opinions about different cars that they'd been testing that week. They'd use elaborate similes and eye-catching metaphors to describe if the car was good or not. Take, for example, Jeremy Clarkson's motoring column in The Sunday Times. Each car he tests he describes fervently. He tells you what he thinks of the car. He doesn't just quote 0-60 times and prices. He tells the readers if the car looks good, if it's nice to drive, if it's a nice place to be. This is because he knows what the readers want. He knows that people aren't going to be impressed by his writing or engaged in the article if all he does is copy and paste facts. Unfortunately, the days of proper motoring journalism are dwindling as more and more people getting their degree in journalism seem to not actually be interested in journalism.

Nowadays, if you open up a copy of a motoring magazine, all you'll see is a bunch of mindless "journalists" quoting numbers and facts that they've knicked off of Wikipedia. Gone are the days of people telling you what they think of the car. It's as if all of the journalists have been replaced by monkeys.

I think this is a real shame, because as more and more motoring magazines and newspaper columns get filled with stuff copied and regurgitated from Wikipedia, the less and less interested the readers and subscribers will be. Which means, of course, that people won't want to subscribe to the magazines anymore. They won't want to spend their money on a magazine that's a bit all-mouth-and-no-trousers. Looks really colorful and pretty, but inside it's just full of rubbish from the internet.

So, Autocar, Motortrend, Car and Driver, if you're listening (or reading, rather), stop wasting people's time with facts that can be found in five minutes on the internet. Stop employing monkeys to write your magazine for you and go back to proper no-mucking-about journalism where the reader gets to see what the columnist actually thinks about the cars they've been testing. Please. Trust me, it'll save you in the long run, because you'll still have subscribers that are truly interested in reading your magazine.



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Comments (39)

  • I agree to your views.Modern day Motoring Journalism has gone extremely boooring in Magazines.

    Not all,though

      7 months ago
  • I agree, it has been years since i last bought a car magazine. Point is, it needs to be an enjoyable read, it should make you go to the brand website an book a testdrive, or at least give you a good laugh.

    I don't want to read that all cars are great nowadays, or model A has 5 litres more luggage space than Model B, or that the SatNav is slow, or the dash is so premium (f**k off VAG..)

    I also get sick of Youtubers showing off the next Lambo, i don't care about rich kids, or people stating opinons that aren't real opinions, just a shiny narcissist statement.

    I want to read interesting stories, from fat guys i can relate to because they are actual, genuine human beings, overhere i get to understand why people loved their dads Dacia, or how motoring shaped your youth. Why people love their crap FIAT is more interesting than the OMG I WRECKED MY $250.000 LAMBORARI!

    We don't want or need bland, or fake.

      7 months ago
    • Exactly! People have gotten too formulaic and YouTubers have gotten way too narcissistic. It's almost sad to watch the motoring journalism world go to pot like this...

        7 months ago
  • I know what you mean. I don’t read a lot of articles but I read one recently about the new Dacia Sandero, and they were talking about the dimensions. I don’t care about the dimensions!

      7 months ago
  • Thats why i make fun of everything😂

    much more fun than blurting top speeds😅

      7 months ago
  • Isn’t that a good point of this site? To democratise automotive writing?

    Also yes, I modern automotive writing is like 90% stuff I could just look up and barely 10% opinion. Like damn it, the reason why I watch/read reviews is for opinions and how it makes ya feel, not the size of the boot in exact amounts.

    Like: ‘The new 2020 Volvo XC90 has a 1600L boot space with the rear seats down’ is informative but my god it’s boring.

    ‘The XC90s boot is large, 1600L large, so enough for at least all of your IKEA flat packed furniture and a whole load of shopping too. In short, the XC90 will fit probably anything short of a small cow in it.’ Is funnier and at gives you info at the same time. Bad example but still, formality is somewhat boring. Use humour, use metaphors, and, most of all, use your emotions about it. A fact sheet is boring after all...

      7 months ago
    • Couldn't agree more. It's okay to quote numbers just so long as it's done in an eye-catching and funny way that keeps the reader engaged.

        7 months ago
    • Yep, I think the same. Also spelling mistakes and pacing are something I notice with some websites, *cough* Jalopnik *cough*, just annoys me someone doing my dream job (I’m not gonna become a jet fighter pilot/astronaut so that dream is...

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        7 months ago