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Old 01-23-2001, 09:43 PM   #1
Tkacik
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 847
Join Date: Feb 2000
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Vehicle:
'06 Titan Crew Cab
'08 Forester LL Bean

Talking ATTN: Shiv or any other automotive journalists

I am currently majoring in journalism at Georgia College and State University, anyways I was wondering how you guys got to where you are. Being an automotive journialist is my life long dream, and I have the drive to get the things done that need to be done to make that dream come true. Thanks for any tips and or comments. To make this fit in the general scooby forum, I would like everyone to know that I am getting my Ground Control/AGX Coilover setup put on this weekend.
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Old 01-23-2001, 10:33 PM   #2
David S. Wallens
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Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
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2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

Maybe I can help, as nine years ago I was also sitting in journalism school hoping to one day write for a car magazine. What did I do? Slept my way to the top. No, not really.

I wrote and wrote and wrote--for anything and anyone. I wrote for a daily paper in town plus a weekly music magazine. The daily was tough, but it tought me to be quick and efficient. By comparison the weekly was easy. I also take pictures, which made it easy for them to send me on assignments. I was a one-man show.

Plus I was taking journalism classes (my major was magazines). Those helped teach me the basic skills--plus helped me network. I got my job at the daily through a girl I met in class, while I met a guy in one class that got me started with SCCA stuff.

After school, I freelanced more, mostly for SCCA pubs (local and regional). I also worked for a shop that sold sports car and race equipment, which helped me meet more people in the industry while teaching me more about cars. Soon after graduating I met my current boss at a race, got his card, and started sending him stuff. A year or so later he offered me a job as the circulation guy. I took it and moved to Florida. Later we all rotated positions, and I became editor. I guess that's the short version. Oh yeah, I also went to school in Georgia--UGA.

What's important? Number one is being able to hit a deadline. Also on the list is being honest. I recently had a writer sell a story to us as well as another magazine--that's bad. Being creative and knowing the subject helps, too. Also, don't be affraid of editors. We're busy, and story proposals sometimes fall through the cracks. If someone doesn't get back to you, bug them again (within reason, of course).

Let me know if there are specific questions or anything.

To keep this Subaru related, I'll say I got an e-mail from Subaru today. We'll be seeing the new Impreza 2.5 RS soon.

David S. Wallens, managing ed
Grassroots Motorsports www.grassrootsmotorsports.com
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Old 01-23-2001, 11:04 PM   #3
Tkacik
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Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Vehicle:
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'08 Forester LL Bean

Talking

Wow! Great information. Thank you very much. You guys do excellent work at GRM BTW! These last 2 semesters I have been writing for the Colonade (GC&SU newspaper), this has been helpful in getting me used to deadlines. I have gotten active with the SCCA in the past few years, I guess that I could just start asking around at events. Would you reccomend any extra training or classes that I should take so that I could be better trained for this type of work? Thanks again for the reply, you answered alot of my questions.
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Old 01-24-2001, 08:33 AM   #4
David S. Wallens
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Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

I'm guessing it's required by your school, but I found communication law interesting. It's nice to know what will and won't get you sued. I also spent a lot of time learning how to use a proportion wheel, but that's not a useful skill these days.

As for other training, reading helps, too. I'm always reading other magazines (car mags and non-car mags). Plus it's good to see how they may deal with a certain situation or topic.

David S. Wallens, managing ed
Grassroots Motorsports www.grassrootsmotorsports.com
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Old 01-24-2001, 08:34 AM   #5
David S. Wallens
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Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Talking

I forgot to have some Subaru info in that last message, so here we go: While cleaning up my office the other night, I finally filed away my WRX press kit.

David
GRM
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Old 01-24-2001, 08:44 AM   #6
donjuan
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I'm no journalist by any means, but contributing to the new Monkey's Trunk couldn't hurt anything. Plus it can help the rest of us out...
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Old 01-24-2001, 09:32 AM   #7
Tkacik
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Location: Greensboro, Georgia
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'08 Forester LL Bean

Post

I also have to take that Communications Law class next semester, it should be interesting.....i hope Thanks for the information. Anyone else like to add anything?
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Old 01-24-2001, 11:21 AM   #8
Tkacik
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Location: Greensboro, Georgia
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Anyone else?? Thanks
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Old 01-24-2001, 11:39 AM   #9
David S. Wallens
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Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

Want to write a Vintage Views article for us? I can always use one.

David
GRM
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Old 01-24-2001, 12:00 PM   #10
Tkacik
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Member#: 847
Join Date: Feb 2000
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Vehicle:
'06 Titan Crew Cab
'08 Forester LL Bean

Talking

That would be great!!! What do i have to do? My E-mail adress is jtkacik@yahoo.com Thanks again!!!
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Old 01-24-2001, 12:43 PM   #11
hstokes
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Member#: 601
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dallas, GA USA
Cool

Hey David...do you get back to Athens much? I graduated from UGA this Summer...Criminal Justice and Sociology. Has the journalism school invited you to come back and be a part any kind of alumni forum or anything? I think sharing your insight and experiences would help a lot of the students in that department. Oh...and what do you think about Richt? (I had to ask)

Hal Stokes
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Old 01-24-2001, 10:02 PM   #12
shiv
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Member#: 607
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Post

I can't speak for others but my entry in automotive journalism was pretty undramatic. I just called up a technical editor, told him some ideas I had on a story, wrote it up and submitted it. A few months later, it was published and the ball was rolling. It may be obvious, but I have no formal journalism education. I was an economics major that worked in finance for a couple of years in NYC. A wierd twist of fate made me change profession.

As for job type, one has the choice either to become a employed staff writer/editor or an independant freelancer. There are advantages/disadvantages to either job, of course. And lastly, photography skills will do wonders for your marketability.

Cheers,
Shiv

[This message has been edited by shiv (edited January 24, 2001).]
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Old 01-24-2001, 10:30 PM   #13
Tkacik
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Join Date: Feb 2000
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Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Vehicle:
'06 Titan Crew Cab
'08 Forester LL Bean

Post

Thanks Shiv for the imput. I am minoring in photography, so that may help my cause. Thanks again guys.

[This message has been edited by STiTkacik (edited January 24, 2001).]
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Old 01-25-2001, 01:11 AM   #14
David S. Wallens
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

I went back to UGA and spoke to a journalism class about a year and a half ago, and it was fun--hopefully the chance will come up again. My brother also went to UGA (not for journalism) and he sat in on the talk, too. Fortunately we didn't feel too old.

About two months ago I spoke at a journalism club at University of Central Florida recently, and it was fun, too. I think they want me to come back and help with some projects. (Our intern goes to school there.)

Okay, what's a Richt?

David
GRM
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Old 01-25-2001, 01:11 AM   #15
Imprezer
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David, maybe if you are not busy, you can write us some small articles for our Monkey's Trunk weekly newsletter.
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Old 01-25-2001, 01:12 AM   #16
David S. Wallens
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

Oh yeah, I was a criminal justice minor--figured it could come in handy in case I wound up working for a newspaper. Now I just watch a lot of Cops.

David
GRM
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Old 01-25-2001, 01:15 AM   #17
David S. Wallens
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

No promises, but I'll see if I can help out. We also have lots of "feature" type articles on our Web page. You can't take them, but you can link to them and act like they're yours (if that makes sense).

David
GRM
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Old 01-25-2001, 03:18 AM   #18
scotto
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Member#: 3635
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Location: Aliso Viejo,CA
Vehicle:
2002 WRX Swagon
Platinum Silver

Thumbs up

Excellent topic! I learned something!
It has been in the back of my mind, along with other ideas, that it would be very interesting to be an automotive tester/journalist. Seems the rewards in the field are more in line with doing something you really enjoy vs. financial. Is that true generally? ..in your experience?
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Old 01-25-2001, 08:23 AM   #19
Kalins1
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Member#: 484
Join Date: Nov 1999
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Ohio, USA
Vehicle:
2003 Baja
Custom Silver and Red

Cool

How cool. I went to school in the other Athens...Athens, Ohio. I started out as a news editorial journalism major at Ohio University and switched to advertising management (still in the journalism school).

David is completely right. Do everything you can to create a portfolio. Write for the toilet paper association's newsletter if you have too.

Also, remember that magazines are always taking submissions from "visiting writers." Most of the Peterson Publications will gladly accept a nicely written piece that is submitted. They especially appreciate articles that come with excellent photography. When I was in college I submitted a short article on a local "cruise-in" to Car Craft magazine and it was published. Looks really nice in the portfolio. So, try submitting stuff to SCC and other magazines. You never know when they may need to fill some space.

Sean
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Old 01-25-2001, 09:36 AM   #20
Tkacik
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 847
Join Date: Feb 2000
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Greensboro, Georgia
Vehicle:
'06 Titan Crew Cab
'08 Forester LL Bean

Post

Yeah I never really realized that alot of the work is freelance work untill someone really notices you.
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Old 01-25-2001, 10:24 AM   #21
David S. Wallens
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 3492
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Ormond Beach, Fla.
Vehicle:
2000 Impreza wagon
Porsche 911, Miata, Mini

Post

Some people stress having a portfolio because it's something you can show a prospective publisher. To me, the experience gained by writer is way more important. Is your writing fair? Too flowery? Not technical enough? Awkward? Full of factual errors? Too long? Reading (and writing) will definately help improve those skills. (or at least it should)

The whole "deadline" thing came up today. One of our really good freelancers called today with a story idea. "Sounds good," I said. He said I'll have it over the weekend, and based on everything else he has done for us, I know it will be here as promised. Stuff like that makes me happy.

David
GRM
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Old 01-26-2001, 01:28 AM   #22
hstokes
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Member#: 601
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dallas, GA USA
Thumbs up

David,
Mark Richt is the new head football coach at UGA. He was the offensive coordinator at FSU.
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