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F1 Racing (magazine) and F1 media in general...(merged)


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#1051 rghojai

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:43

Different topic, but I noted this week that an Autosport F1 journalist tweeted more than once about his loaner Infiniti (and added a couple pics), which he/Autosport appear to have for a few days. (First tweet was on Wednesday.) I responded that it struck me as questionable ethics, and he did reply, said it was common and he saw nothing wrong with it.

I've done some newspaper work, driven to cover motorsports and my bosses would howled with laughter if I'd asked to borrow a motorcycle or car from a competing team/manufacturer/sponsor to do so and get around for a few days. At the risk of stating the obvious, it would have been shot down hard because: Perception is reality; the fear isn't so much that someone will subconsciously slant their stuff in favor of someone who gave them something, but that it could happen subconsciously; companies don't do these things out of the goodness of their hearts; and that it can be a slippery slope.

(I agree with those things, all the more because of the tweets: If someone has about 45,000 followers, tweets three times about their free Infiniti for a few days, that's up to 135,000 views of Infiniti-related tweets.)

So I wonder what people think about this, and how far this goes; use of phone and mobile service from Blackberry for times around races because international roaming charges can be extortionate? Free jacket from Hugo Boss because it's a little chilly? Free set of Pirellis?

By the way, I have looked around on the Autosport site, haven't found a statement about this sort of thing, but maybe I've missed it.



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#1052 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:45

There are two main issues at play here.

For whatever reason the UK isn't as good about disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. It's really a US thing that I've seen, my favourite being James Fallows in The Atlantic who was writing about Google and went as far as saying "full disclosure, my wife once worked for X who received a grant from Google for research" or something. Or Wired or a professional food blog saying at the end of a review "We received samples of these products".

But specifically racing is pretty bad. I suppose if you were completely anal about it you could say they shouldn't be having lunches served by the team, but I wouldn't go that far.

Most reporting of racing tends to be on an entertainment rather than journalism angle. Only the newspaper correspondents come close to qualifying under what you'd consider traditional credentials. You have to keep that in mind otherwise you'd be constantly horrified by the unprofessionalism and conflict of interest. You get BBC people hosting team PR events at the track during a race weekend. But the cover for that is Lee McKenzie isn't a 'journalist' and isn't technically a BBC employee(almost anyone you see on TV on the BBC is a contractor). Likewise when Jake Humphrey was their main guy he was getting paid to do hosting work for Lotus(the Tony Fernandes Lotus) and etc. You can't do promo work for Company X one day and cover them objectively the next.

But yeah, a loan car violates that. You're getting something for free you otherwise would have paid for. I question why an Autosport reporter couldn't use their own car or rent one on company expenses. Either individually or using the company's rental-car links. But to tweet updates and photos, referencing the twitter account of the supplier? Do whatever you feel is right, but don't treat people like they're stupid.




#1053 Imperial

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:50

Different topic, but I noted this week that an Autosport F1 journalist tweeted more than once about his loaner Infiniti (and added a couple pics), which he/Autosport appear to have for a few days. (First tweet was on Wednesday.) I responded that it struck me as questionable ethics, and he did reply, said it was common and he saw nothing wrong with it.

I've done some newspaper work, driven to cover motorsports and my bosses would howled with laughter if I'd asked to borrow a motorcycle or car from a competing team/manufacturer/sponsor to do so and get around for a few days. At the risk of stating the obvious, it would have been shot down hard because: Perception is reality; the fear isn't so much that someone will subconsciously slant their stuff in favor of someone who gave them something, but that it could happen subconsciously; companies don't do these things out of the goodness of their hearts; and that it can be a slippery slope.

(I agree with those things, all the more because of the tweets: If someone has about 45,000 followers, tweets three times about their free Infiniti for a few days, that's up to 135,000 views of Infiniti-related tweets.)

So I wonder what people think about this, and how far this goes; use of phone and mobile service from Blackberry for times around races because international roaming charges can be extortionate? Free jacket from Hugo Boss because it's a little chilly? Free set of Pirellis?

By the way, I have looked around on the Autosport site, haven't found a statement about this sort of thing, but maybe I've missed it.


F1 Racing were using an Infiniti recently....is that who you mean, rather than Autosport? Anthony Rowlinson was sending the tweets I believe. They used to use a Renault Megane years ago to get to some European races, that too was 'on loan'.

Pah..questionable ethics in motorsport journalism? Haven't you noticed how interviews/articles/team-features are almost always followed by an advert on the next page that is directly related to the person/team covered on the preceding page? It's laughable.

Being a huge consumer of computer games magazines in the 1980s and 1990s, I know full well from interviews with journalists from that period that games publishers gave away insane 'incentives' to magazines and journalists, from expensive electronics equipment to holidays. I've no doubt it goes on in F1.

Edited by Imperial, 28 June 2013 - 11:54.


#1054 Jackman

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:58

But yeah, a loan car violates that. You're getting something for free you otherwise would have paid for. I question why an Autosport reporter couldn't use their own car or rent one on company expenses. Either individually or using the company's rental-car links. But to tweet updates and photos, referencing the twitter account of the supplier? Do whatever you feel is right, but don't treat people like they're stupid.

I don't know, I had BMW loan me an M5 in Indy one year, but we didn't have much money pre-Autosport so it never really struck me as a bad thing. Certainly there was no discussion from them that we would publicise it, although to be fair that was pre-Twitter so it would only have rated a mention in my column at best. Naturally these guys are doing these things out of the goodness of their hearts, but it seems relatively innocuous.

That said, Williams did arrange for me to get a free laptop when mine was stolen in Budapest, which is a level above a free rental car. Although again, there was never any suggestion that it was to be publicised.

Although I would like to take this opportunity to note that this post is written thanks to the generosity of Compaq :D

#1055 rghojai

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 15:21

Imperial, I s'pose it's no secret, given the tweets, that it's Jon Noble, Group F1 Editor, AUTOSPORT, according to his Twitter profile....

Yah, I have some awareness of the freebies and such. I know someone who writes reviews for a pretty small electronics site, is regularly getting nice headphones, phones, etc., free to keep. Suffice to say I've some knowledge of motorcycle journalism, too. Lots of free top-line helmets, leathers, etc., around, and there have been some insanely sweet deals on new bikes. It's been a long while, but when the fairings weren't designed so well and would give the rider a good baking, that stuff never got printed. I had that point -- it freakin' roasted my legs -- cut out of an article about a bike.

That said, unless I've missed it, I am surprised that Autosport doesn't share its policy about these things.



#1056 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 15:31

It's a free for all.

#1057 Imperial

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 15:51

Imperial, I s'pose it's no secret, given the tweets, that it's Jon Noble, Group F1 Editor, AUTOSPORT, according to his Twitter profile...


Which shows how widespread this stuff is, as either F1 Racing or Anthony Rowlinson were tweeting words and photos. Funny how Sky mentioned that car company many many times recently, so it makes you wonder if they've been paying for rental cars recently...

#1058 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 15:55

Sky is different because they're an entertainment broadcaster. If it was Sky News it'd be different.

#1059 Jackman

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 16:03

To be fair, anything written about motorsport could be argued as being entertainment. It's certainly not journalism in any meaningful way.

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#1060 kimifan88

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 18:08

Is this about an Indian F1 magazine or one in the UK? Which one? A few weeks back I signed up for a sub to Grand Prix International monthly so hope it isnt about that!
http://joesaward.wor...-and-downsides/

#1061 Imperial

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:28

Umm...I'm guessing it's whatever that one was that had Tamara Ecclestone as either the cover star or one of the main features. I seem to recall reading it had launched but still haven't seen a single copy on the shelves. Don't remember what it was called, don't care.

As far as I remember Joe Saward doesn't contribute to GP International.

#1062 kimifan88

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 19:33

Umm...I'm guessing it's whatever that one was that had Tamara Ecclestone as either the cover star or one of the main features. I seem to recall reading it had launched but still haven't seen a single copy on the shelves. Don't remember what it was called, don't care.

As far as I remember Joe Saward doesn't contribute to GP International.


Just googld it and it seems he wrote for a magazine called The Formula. It has a website formulamagazine.co.uk but the links to its Twitter and facebook dont work. If this is the one that went down then I hope the subscribers are treated fairly :cry:

#1063 dank

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 17:27

Looks like GP International has folded as well: https://twitter.com/...147691593908224

#1064 David Lightman

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 18:25

Close to cancelling my sub to F1 Racing which I've bought since first issue. I'm bored witless of Rush and the Hunt/Lauda story so this month's issue was a new low. The Maurice Hamilton interview is the only decent thing left in the mag these days, a real shame.

#1065 Alexis*27

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 09:48

I'm bored witless of Rush and the Hunt/Lauda story so this month's issue was a new low


Strange. I can't recall a Hunt/Lauda feature before this month's issue?

#1066 David Lightman

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 12:33

Sorry I meant the whole F1 media has gone over the top with it, then F1R devoted a whole issue which tipped me over the edge!

#1067 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 12:54

Yeah but the flip-side of that is it's a one off surge and back to normal with the following issues.

#1068 David Lightman

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 13:01

Sadly 'back to normal' is a pretty poor mag these days.

#1069 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 14:48

does anyone know what's Gerald Donaldson doing these days?
haven't seen any F1 books being released by him in the last few years and he's not commentating for TSN anymore, just wonder if he's still part of the F1 world.

thank you

#1070 dank

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 15:01

does anyone know what's Gerald Donaldson doing these days?
haven't seen any F1 books being released by him in the last few years and he's not commentating for TSN anymore, just wonder if he's still part of the F1 world.

thank you


Well, he's on Twitter and has a website, so he's not completely vanished.

#1071 Imperial

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 17:37

Aha..thus explaining why I haven't received the latest issue.....there isn't one.


A shame, as I did enjoy it in all honesty. I'm surprised also, it was the only true opposition to F1 Racing, so it makes you wonder if they are also constantly hanging by a thread or just had the market sewn up so easily that nobody else could compete. That is two contemporary F1 mags died this year, although I'm not sure if the one whose name I can't remember even got to issue two.

Hmm...and some people think the autosport.com subscription deals are bad. It is clearly hard for these companies to continue giving us what we want.

#1072 Jackman

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 22:01

I'm sure F1 Racing makes more money from the worldwide licenses than from producing the magazine for the domestic market: that's probably the difference.

#1073 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 00:12

Competition wise it makes a big difference, it has a decent revenue stream.

I think there's really only room for one monthly magazine. There's only 11 teams and 22 drivers, in a 12 month year. And it's not like we get 12 rookies every year so you really have to work to come up with a new angle for a feature.

And there just aren't enough people doing it. You see the same contributors everywhere, so for both those reasons a new magazine struggles for new content.

#1074 Rubens Hakkamacher

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:56

There is only room for one in the states, because it costs so frakking much.

A magazine, that is paid for by advertising, shouldn't cost more than a gallon of milk.

#1075 Imperial

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:18

I've had a generic letter from Hans Seeberg (the Editor of GP International), explaining the end of the magazine.

 

I found it quite interesting to be honest in that he doesn't really blame a lack of subscribers, there is a slight hint of 'economic conditions', but he essentially pins the majority of the blame on a lack of support from current and potential advertisers.

 

Sorry to see people's jobs go (although probably not many actual staff I suspect) and it's a shame that it's a clear indicator that there just isn't the appetite for mass F1 media outlets, but I sure won't miss reading the same articles duplicated in Autosport, F1 Racing and then GP International within the same time period.



#1076 KirilVarbanov

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:32

Generally, producing decent F1 outlet is a tough task, because of: 

  • the massive licensing fees you have to pay to use F1 in any form
  • the people you need to write sensible stuff
  • the fees you need to pay to these people to travel around the world
  • the willingness you need to have to fight with the closed world of F1
  • the usual lack of advertisers which are pushed aside given the recent scandals and seasons of VET's dominance
  • the fact that you need to show something more than a race report - free websites do that
  • the fact that F1 is a boutique sport and not the general open-source format of, let's say, hillclimb or rally races
  • the fact that people need some technical education to start watching the sport

So, not impossible, just a hard job.



#1077 BRG

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 13:13

I've had a generic letter from Hans Seeberg (the Editor of GP International), explaining the end of the magazine.

 

I found it quite interesting to be honest in that he doesn't really blame a lack of subscribers, there is a slight hint of 'economic conditions', but he essentially pins the majority of the blame on a lack of support from current and potential advertisers.

A bit disingenuous - you won't attract advertisers unless you have a decent circulation.  Chicken and egg, really.  There seems to be no shortage of advertising in the popular magazines.  But Ross is right - there really isn't scope for multiple mags all poring over the same very limited ground.  I am not sure that there is in fact room for even ONE mag that is just about F1. It is rather unhealthy to cordon off one series from the rest of the sport.  



#1078 Rubens Hakkamacher

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 14:56

There are magazines that offer free subscriptions, that appear to be quite healthy and full of advertisers.  That has to be a scary notion for publishers, but ultimately the future.  The only value a magazine offers now is the ability to hold the same information in your hands in paper form that you can get elsewhere online.  In turn, it behooves F1 Racing to provide the most glossy, full-bleed high quality photography possible, because that is about the only thing that the form allows that could be considered superior to getting the same content online.

 

Too many people thinking like it's 1993 it would seem.  I get Wired magazine for $10 a year, it's chock full of glossy and well written content, and they've got plenty of up scale advertisers.  I can't imagine "most people" wanting to pay anymore than that for a subscription to anything. 

 

Ultimately it's the same gun the music industry stared down in the 90's, and lost. 



#1079 Tract1on

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 15:56

I must confess i don't like the F1 Racing -  Flying Lap merge (Peter Windsors webcast)

I prefered the old flying lap studio. Still its a great show, very informative and entertaining. 


Edited by Tract1on, 25 September 2013 - 09:31.


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#1080 BullHead

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 20:19

So, I wonder if we will get posters or calendars this year? F1 Racing's all the champion cars poster was nice last year. I would really like to see an 'all the tracks' calendar / poster.