Save auto jour­nal­ism

Evo India - - HYUNDAI VERNA -

At age 12 I bought my first auto mag­a­zine. Over the next cou­ple of years I sam­pled all the ones be­ing pub­lished. Fi­nally, the qual­ity of con­tent of two mag­a­zines made them per­ma­nent – Au­to­car and Over­drive. From 2003, I have read ev­ery sin­gle is­sue of both. Au­to­car, al­ways un­der Hor­mazd, was (and still is) the se­ri­ous one. Over­drive, un­der Adil, then Aspi, Yo­gen­dra, Sirish (and now Ber­trand), was the fun one. It was the per­fect com­bi­na­tion, and to­gether you all ed­u­cated, en­ter­tained and en­gaged a grow­ing teenager. You guys were my heroes. Through my en­gi­neer­ing years I dreamt of be­com­ing an auto jour­nal­ist. Then four years ago came evo In­dia. All it took were a cou­ple of is­sues, and my monthly read­ing got a third en­try.

Here we are then, with Au­to­car and evo In­dia! The ap­proaches are so dif­fer­ent that the mag­a­zines com­pli­ment each other per­fectly. I can’t imag­ine my life without ei­ther. And that makes me very con­cerned. From my per­spec­tive of be­ing a reader for the last 17 years, I get the feel­ing that auto jour­nal­ism in In­dia is in dan­ger. I see two prob­lems: 1. Qual­ity. The in­ter­net has turned ev­ery­thing into a game of speed and vis­i­bil­ity. Your team needs to not only pho­to­graph and write a re­port on a car, but also shoot a YouTube video, Tweet, Face­book, In­sta­gram, etc. And all the con­tent has to be out in dou­ble quick time. In this great hurry most of the con­tent out there is re­ally poor. Thank­fully, you guys have still man­aged to keep up the qual­ity. Take a lit­tle longer, but give read­ers in-depth re­views in lu­cid lan­guage. Stand for qual­ity and peo­ple will wait for your sto­ries.

2. Trust. For some rea­son, the im­pres­sion is that ev­ery­thing is paid jour­nal­ism. You all are a lit­tle at fault here, with ‘Spe­cial Fea­ture/ Re­sponse Fea­ture’ kind of ar­ti­cles that form a part of your con­tent. The big­ger prob­lem is the ad­vent of sev­eral car fo­rums, where any­body and ev­ery­body is an arm­chair ‘ex­pert’ and scoffs at the opin­ions of the es­tab­lished auto pub­li­ca­tions. This cre­ates doubts in the minds of the gen­eral read­ing pub­lic. It takes years of ex­pe­ri­ence, like you guys have, to eval­u­ate a car prop­erly, see it in the con­text of its com­pe­ti­tion and give cor­rect ad­vice to the con­sumer. Fur­ther­more, it re­quires con­fi­dence and courage to stand by your re­view of a prod­uct. Please do find a way to build trust with your read­ers.

Hor­mazd and Sirish, the fu­ture of In­dian auto jour­nal­ism is your hands. You are com­peti­tors, but at this junc­ture the en­tire fra­ter­nity of tra­di­tional auto pub­li­ca­tions needs to stand to­gether. I want to con­tinue to en­joy the su­pe­rior level of con­tent that I al­ways have. More im­por­tantly, I want that the next gen­er­a­tion of kids to ex­pe­ri­ence the same emo­tions of div­ing into the world of au­to­mo­biles. Ananth Ka­math

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