Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Quality, above all else // The continuing struggle between publishing speed and sense

Published by Dan Brunell

Dan Brunell of the website Racing Eagles, left us the following extended comment yesterday and we liked it so much, we turned it into a guest post.

Ah, the new world of the internet. The PR world have finally caught up. Sorry if this is a bigger picture but Stuart's recent post illustrates something interesting happening to new media.

It reminds me of me something I presented at a seminar a few months ago. Where there are so many news outlets and so few news stories, that the commentary takes over the news. It’s the reason why there are ten news channels on American cable TV. It's not because they are ten separate news gathering organizations competing against each other (they let AP and Reuters do the dirty work for them) but they are ten channels of commentary specifically geared toward the demographic of their audience reacting to the news.

It's the same thing that has happened with Formula One. There are so many sites that comment on F1 news, that it makes the job of PR agents and communication staffers with these teams, sponsors, organizers, and drivers so easy. If you want to create a buzz or controversy or PR or whatnot; send a press release and in your words will be Ctrl-A-Ctrl-C-Ctrl-V.

I won’t regurgitate Stuart's points but he is spot on. This sort of manipulation done by agents and teams is stuff that normal F1 reporters and well-informed fans (which I would consider most of the Sidepodcast community) to dismiss the facts from realities. However, it allows for vultures like GMM to prosper. They play off ignorance of news sites like ESPN who don’t know any better and will just cut the check to them.

The thing is; I think the tide is turning a bit against this kind of thing.

See, the one big mistake that American newspapers made with the internet is that they cared more about being timely than playing to their strength of being insightful. It played against the natural competitive streak of journalists who would be in competition to see who can get a story out first. It killed them because everyone had that particular story out there. It was also free because everyone was afraid that if they made people pay for the exact same AP story, they would go elsewhere. They didn’t realize that their strength was the quality of the reporting that the public could not get anywhere else. It’s has killed them as they’ve hemorrhaged the very staff they need to survive to provide this quality. (Thank the lord I didn’t make it a career and went to media relations instead.)

It's something that reminds me of what Joe said in his last podcast to the effect that anyone can tell you the news but it matters when someone intelligent tells you what it means. What the newspapers in America are now realizing, and what the hopefully successful ventures of GrandPrix+, Autosport, and Racecar Engineering into on-line subscriptions will show, is that people will always pay for quality above all else. We may not like having to sign in or depart with hard earned dollars but in order for these publications to keep the quality up, they need our money to function.

I think this is the direction things are going and I think it will work out. There will always be tabloid rags to sit on the grocery store racks, but when push comes to shove and you want to know what is going on, you go to a place you trust. It's why the magazine The Economist cannot keep on the shelf over here.

It is also the same reason why I like Joe Saward. That is why I like Sidepodcast. That is why I like writing to the caliber Stuart showed in this article.

There are things worth supporting... which reminds me I need to set up an automatic donation account with Sidepodcast.