The Problem with Automotive Journalism
Now before you come to an assumption, this is not me writing an article to complain about certain individuals, 'expose' them or start a brawl. If you have come to this article for that, I'm sorry to say this article will do none of the above. Instead, I want to talk about something that I have noticed in automotive journalism that people may class as an 'issue'. Speaking in general terms, automotive journalism/reporters (whatever you want to call people who review cars) tend not to be 'young guys', as in there not in their late teens or early twenties. I don't think one person/organisation are to blame for this, but is it a problem for the car industry and could it be more interesting with a younger audience?
Now firstly, it makes perfect sense as to why most automotive journalists are older. The main point is that they are just fundamentally more skilled drivers than a relatively new driver. Secondly, their more experienced drivers so would probably have a more accurate representation of a car as they have driven a variety of cars. Likewise, they will have had years of reviewing cars and understand the ins and outs of what makes a car great and what doesn't. Plus, although not guaranteed, they are generally more technically minded with regards to cars than a younger petrol head. Also, money also comes into this and insurance is a big factor as to why they are typically not young. In fairness, it makes complete sense as to why automotive journalists aren't kids who have just passed their driving test. However, I can't help but think wouldn't it be interesting if the 'younger generation' or millennials were allowed to review cars especially press cars.
Drivetribe is in my opinion, the best place for enthusiastic car nerds to write what they want about anything car related. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection and you're pretty much set to go. As well, what this platform has proved is a lot of the time young automotive journalists aren't bothered about the money or fame, but instead just want to write about what they are interested in-cars.
The car manufacturing game is changing and adapting, with some arguing that it reflects the times and needs of the people. Car manufacturers are increasingly designing cars to attract a certain type of audience such as families, commercial use, wealthy clients etc. However, an area that has attracted manufacturers more these days is the 'younger generation'. Yes, who would have thought? For example, to increase sales the third generation Mercedes A-Class (W176) was designed to attract a 'younger audience'. However, when it was released and let free to journalists, was this the 'younger audience' the people reviewing the car? Likewise, will older, more experienced journalists have the same view as the 'younger audience'? Probably not. We've all experienced it when somebody older thinks something is cool (e.g a Peugeot) when to a younger audience it is hideously uncool. This could be the case in the car world.
If they were younger journalists, and Drivetribe proves that there is a lot of talent, then maybe car manufacturers would be more interested in gaining a younger person opinion to understand a car. That's not to say that more experienced, older journalists will be suddenly unemployed, but instead, incorporate a wide age of journalists to gain a broader view of a car, topic etc. For instance, an older more experienced journalist may say that the infotainment system is a struggle to use and is counter-intuitive, however, a younger reporter may say the system is fine. Thus meaning that the car manufacturer would gain, perhaps a more accurate representation of a topic.
I hope I haven't triggered anybody with this article, it's just an idea I think could be potentially beneficial to all by having a wide spectrum of journalists. But also deep down, like many younger writers on Drivetribe, I can only dream of being allowed to drive and review a car.