Is automotive journalism relevant anymore?

Many readers and even journalists themselves are beginning to question the value of automotive journalism.

With the rise of citizen journalism and strategic communicators, Ray Wert of Jalopnik believes automotive journalists are no longer relevant to the industry.

“The PR teams do a pretty good job of regurgitating what they are saying on their own,” Wert said. “I don’t think they need a journalist to help them do that.”

While it’s true strategic communicators say all the right things about their company’s latest automotive creation, I believe Wert undervalues the need for truthful information and unbiased car reviews.

When readers pick up the latest issue of Motor Trend or Car and Driver, they aren’t looking for rehashed press releases that kiss the automotive manufacturers’ asses. They want truthful, honest reviews from journalists who have a shared passion for cars.

An article written by an automotive journalist must tell a story. While the review should focus predominantly on the car, it must also be entertaining and filled with the journalist’s personality and sense of humor.

This is something automotive strategic communicators cannot provide. They can only report vehicle specifications and new model features to the public. They are paid to put a positive spin on their company’s cars and defend them at all costs. It’s hard to believe a word they are saying because the truth is buried beneath company loyalties.

The world needs automotive journalists to seek out the truth about cars in an industry clouded by company lies and deceit. With cars being one of the most expensive purchases an individual makes in his or her lifetime, it isn’t something that should be taken lightly. As an automotive journalist, I hope to entertain readers by putting them behind the wheel and giving them the information they need to make an informed decision.

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