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]