0-60 Magazine

Your Source For Cars, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, and More …

BY: Michael

Hate the Speculate

Enough already… let’s get back to automotive journalism and leave the educated guess work to the internet…

For those who missed the memo, that is NOT the new M3. But when the February 2007 cover of CAR dropped two weeks ago, the automotive forums were alive with glee, even if the majority felt that what they believed at the time to be the new M3 looked a little on the weak side. Either way, the fourth-gen M3 was—and still is—one of the most anticipated vehicles of ’07. And, before 99% of you figured it out, I knew. Our photo director Tony Harmer had just returned from visiting his family with the issue fresh off the British newsstands. As he brandished the cover out of his backpack, I was shocked that CAR managed to pull what might have been the exclusive of the year, and it was only January…cheeky bastards, they did it again! But something felt wrong. First, why weren’t there any static photos? The wheels are always in motion. So I looked to the photo credit—the giveaway. It was actually an “image” credit which in magazine parlance means “altered.” Or, colloquially, a fuckin' photochop. I need to say this; I love CAR. It’s what inspired me to start 0-60. Possibly the only magazine I still get exited about as I bring it to the cashier. Usually, I find myself just posted up on NYC streets reading it on my way back to the office. Yeah, it’s that good. So, you can imagine my utter disappointment, it was like being told Santa wasn’t real all over again. As the blog posts went up and the threads amassed, I kept quiet. I was aware that at that moment, I might have been the only American privy to the unfortunate fake-ness of CAR’s cover car, but I didn’t want to be the whistle blower—part of me didn’t want it to be true. Regardless, I knew eventually upon closer inspection the truth would come out. Now, I understand the need for speculation, and most of the buff mags’ front sections are littered with it. But is putting a Photoshopped image on the cover and clearly bamboozling your reader an example of journalistic integrity? Seriously people, what is going on? I know things are getting tough for the print world and truth be told breaking news no longer has a home in between the sheets, now that the internet is on the clock like birth control. But, I don’t think deception is the answer to regaining the love of the readers. Hold on. I am not saying anyone straight out lied—it is clear no actual E92 M3s were harmed, driven or even spied during the writing of this article…but still…anyone who was expecting to see "real" photos of the new M3 got hosed—even if they were based on official drawings! To add to this debacle, Autoweek apparently paid good money for the same images, which they rather openly admitted as being illustrations (Kudos guys!). And since I’ve never actually seen Autoweek on newsstands or know many people outside of the industry that subscribe to it, you can’t accuse them for trying to pull the wool to sell a few extra covers. But was it really a “first look?” Maybe I could be wrong, but is getting the exclusive at any cost really what people want? In recent years it appears that at least the American rag's sole purpose is to beat each other on the next exclusive, but it appears to serve more for their own bragging rights than actually providing content any enthusiast cares to read. I fear that this quest to be first is cutting into the actually quality of what's making it into today's auto glossies. Again, this is why I hate to call CAR out for their front-page faux pas, because just after the ersatz M3 feature is an excellent previous-gen shoot out and then a great diagram of the most important BMWs over the years. Apparently the auto journo world needs to think about the future, and consider how print and the web can live together. Magazines can't live on news alone anymore. Something has gotta break, or at least go back to what it once was (eg. '60s-'70s C/D). Either way, I'll sleep sound, I know 0-60 has a print plan... BS/EIC/0-60 mags.jpg Disclaimer: Obviously the views and opinions of Brian Scotto are not not necessarily the views of 0-60, he is the Editor-in-chief, but if it makes the lawyers happy, he doesn't speak for the rest of Harris Publications.
COMMENTS
  • HiGGiNS says:
    January 22, 2007 at 10:08 am
    Reply

    Hmmm...crazy ish. And Ballzy too. Wow...the only other time I felt this way was, when I found out moms special Chicken recipe was just take out from Boston Market. My momma played me...

  • Renner09 says:
    January 22, 2007 at 11:20 am
    Reply

    So wait..they just straight up LIED? Damn, I feel so betrayed! I don't think Im going to be spending that much time in Barnes n Nobles sipping Starbucks and reading Car mags anymore. 0-60 & a cup of Foldgers will do just fine.

  • Willie G. says:
    January 22, 2007 at 12:50 pm
    Reply

    FOUL! Next time I buy CAR, I'm going to use photoshopped cash. That's if there is a next time. First Consumer Reports fucks up, now CAR? What's the world coming to?

  • bugzy says:
    January 22, 2007 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    Here's a CAR magazine employee actually explaning the background of these photos: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44074

  • HiGGiNS says:
    January 22, 2007 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    LOL...true Renner true...

  • Avinash Machado says:
    August 24, 2007 at 10:51 am
    Reply

    You have made some interesting points. Many mags do go too far regarding scoops and exclusives. Also it was interesting to note that Car magazine was what inspired you to start 0-60. I believe David E Davis was also inspired by the same mag to start Automobile mag way back in the late 80's.

  • Firewood says:
    September 2, 2007 at 4:28 pm
    Reply

    It is indeed sad to see a mighty magzine like CARS stoop to such a level as this. IF they were only honest about it... But this is likely the wave of the future. Scotto hits it right on the head when he says magzines are competeing with the internet, and the internet will always win the battle of speed. So print media will take incresingly outrageuos risks. Welcome to the future!

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