\”Eddie Alterman Named New Editor-In-Chief Of Car And Driver\”, or at least that\’s what the headlines are saying, but what they should probably say is \”Eddie Alterman Probably Last Editor-in-Chief of Car and Driver.\”
No, this isn\’t some personal dig at Eddie. I\’ve got nothing against the guy. Hell, I don\’t even KNOW the guy, but look at the gig he\’s lined up for himself.
The publishing industry is essentially dead. No, it\’s not dead yet but it\’s circling the drain. Book publishing houses are dropping like flies, and the newspaper industry is going down like an anchor. Have you picked up a magazine recently? Notice what page counts look like. How about subscription rates? So being given the job of running a magazine in 2009 is sort of like being given the horseshoeing concession in Manhattan in 1909. Best of luck with that Eddie.
So not only is he working in an industry being overtaken by time and technology, he\’s working for Car & Driver, and let\’s face it, their best days are in the distant past.
25 years ago, C & D turned into something that aspired to be a frat house beer coaster. They slogged on with endless comparisons of Honda sedans and tout the joys of the Dodge Omni, and would maybe cover something race oriented every four months or so. This is the same magazine whose idea of an elder statesman of auto journalism was Brock Yates. Some time during the Regan administration they decided their future lay in lukewarm commentary that aspired to be jokes, tearful lamentations about what government intervention is doing to the American car industry and chimp-like chest-thumping about their own perceived superiority.
In short, for longer than Car & Driver\’s target demographic has been alive, the magazine, has been trying to be the print version of Jalopnik crossed with the more troglodytic comments from AutoBlog (and really, if you want to know just what a bunch of mouth-breathers are STILL hanging out in garages, DO check out their comments).
And therein lies the rub: Car and Driver is asking you to pay money for what websites give away free. And who in their right mind would pay for that? Car and Driver somehow thinks they can get you to part with your money to read about track tests of cars that have been all over the web for weeks, along with the occasional racing feature about a forgettable NASCAR race from 7 months ago.
I\’ve got nothing against publishing, and I think it\’s a crying shame that a magazine like Sportscar International folded, and I sudder to think what the world will be like if Road & Track goes under and I can\’t read Peter Egan any more, but when C & D augurs in, I won\’t be shedding many tears. Losing Car and Driver would be like losing Harlequin Publishing.
If they really want to be around and adapt to the change, they should go primarily digital, work a deal with Amazon to give away free year subscriptions via the Kindle, fire Alterman and every third writer there and hire Chris and the rest of us from Automoblog by tacking another couple of zeros on then end of our salaries.
Best of luck Captain Eddie!