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Journalists understand the severity of consequences if an article somehow breaches public accountability. Former CBC and current Al Jazeera editor Tony Burman once said, “Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.”
However, Autoblog has encountered criticism lately after publishing an article where a writer received third party payment for their literary work. During September 2011, writer for Autoblog Jeff Glucker published an article promoting Nissan’s new marketing campaign for its Versa compact. However, it was later revealed that Glucker was also working for the agency running the campaign. Because Glucker did not notify Autoblog of his cash compensations from the PR firm before he wrote the article, Glucker was promptly fired.
More recently (last Thursday, January 12th, to be exact), Autoblog published an article on the Bonhams’ auction of cars and memorabilia that belonged to the late David E. Davis Jr. However, the finishing sentence of the article drew particular attention– “Go to the Bonhams site and start your bidding for a piece of history from the lifetime of a larger than life car connoisseur and story teller.”
Autoblog’s story caught the attention of the self-proclaimed integrity commission of automotive journalism, The Truth About Cars (TTAC). TTAC’s investigation revealed that the author of the article, Matt Davis, happens to be the son of David E. Davis. The assumption (yes, an assumption, but hardly unwarranted) is that the as the son (Matt Davis) would logically benefit from the proceeds of the auction of items belonging to the estate of his father.
TTAC investigated further, calling Bonhams to confirm whether Matt Davis was the owner of the auction items. Bonhams refused to comment as they were responsible of protecting the privacy and the identity of the seller.
TTAC then reached AOL Autos Editor-In-Chief David Kiley, who assured TTAC that Davis did not act or write with the intent of personal gain and did not bring the story to the editorial team, a key difference between Jeff Glucker’s incident. In fact, Autoblog requested and assigned Matt Davis for the piece due to the relationship. Kiley added, “We should have put the disclaimer on it when it was first published, but as soon as I saw it, I corrected that, and we are confident that Matt is not profiting from the auction.”
There are no indications that Matt Davis will be fired from Autoblog because of the Bonhams article.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
Damon Lavrinc of Autoblog had the chance to sit down with Albert Biermann, Head of Product Development for BMW‘s M Division, and was able to glean some information on future product that should put to bed some of the many rumors floating around about BMW’s skunk works.
First up, the upcoming 2013 BMW M5 will be available with a 6-speed manual. The previous M5 debuted with a 7-speed SMG gearbox, and the resulting outcry forced BMW to backtrack and offer a proper stick after launch. Not so for the new car, which will have the option of either a stick or a dual-clutch gearbox. What won’t be offered is all-wheel drive (due to the sophistication of the M5′s electronic rear differential) and a wagon (BMW sold just over 1,000 M5 wagons world wide last time around, and can’t justify the investment like Cadillac can with the CTS-V wagon).
BMW also won’t be offering an M version of the Z4 for similar reasons, but don’t be surprised to see an M version of one of BMW’s EVs, with Biermann stating “There will be a day when we will not only tweak combustion engines, but electric motors. But we have to continue to provide the M experience.” Biermann also discussed the popular topic of weight reduction, stating that his goal is to have the new model match the outgoing models’ weight, and that due to increasing complexity and vehicle content, weight reduction isn’t always possible.
Surplus 2008 models to be sold through 2009
According to a report on AutoBlog, Saturn will not be producing any more Astra models in the near future. This might sound like a bad thing if you are looking for one of the sporty three-door or five-door hatchbacks, but it actually has a positive spin.
Because demand is so low right now and because there are so many left-over 2008 models, the company is just selling the ’08s through ’09.
Expecting the remainsder of 2009 to be as dark as the beginning Saturn has no plans to restart production until the 2010 model.
So if you are looking for an Astra, now’s the time to get a great deal on a new year old model. Not only are dealers offering 0 percent financing and cash back, but knowing how desperate dealerships are to get rid of the vehicles will certainly put the customer in the driver’s seat.