As a B2C auto
journalist, I was exposed to the world of glitz. Almost every car and bike
launch, besides first drives and rides, meant free five star stays, free
flights, free food and wine and at the end of the day, free gifts
I got to know
Editors and correspondents of different auto magazines and television channels.
Many of them had no clue what journalism meant, but they were remarkable
enthusiasts and had great knowledge about cars and bikes. I couldn’t help
admiring that. But they were definitely not journalists in the true sense of
the profession, for sure. Besides the great knowledge they possessed on
vehicles, their greed to travel the world free, stay in expensive hotels,
receive gifts etc, was insatiable.
As the years went
by, I enjoyed my drives and rides and learnt a lot. The year 2014 was also the
time when social media platforms started becoming popular. YouTube, Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram caught the fancy of people from all walks of life. I
began to get restless with the idea of freebies coming my way from OEMs. On the
one hand, when my marketing guys sought advertisements from OEMs for my
magazine Motown India they were met with a rude response from advertisement
agencies and the companies themselves, on the other it was a free for all party
when a “first drive” took place. There was so much money being wasted at these
events, I felt.
advertisements did not come our way, I felt devastated. I knew the fault lay in
me and not in my magazine. I was not like the enthusiast Editor who could suck
up to senior marketing and sales executives of these companies and beg for
advertisements. I knew my venture would not succeed.
A “first drive”
invite is a window to a world of opportunities as well as a big door to
indulgence. As an auto journalist I am all for first drives, but can we cut down
on the “indulgence” level? Why stay in a 5-star? Can it be a neat hotel with
clean beds and washrooms? Why all the music, glitz, exotic food and wines? And
why top it all with an expensive gift?
and two-wheeler manufacturers should now stop giving out gifts at least. Okay,
OEMs are not going to listen to me at all. Go ahead and continue with your free
plane travels, free 5 star stays and all the glamour and glitz including an
expensive gift. But I have a suggestion for anyone out there calling himself or
herself an auto journalist. Can you all mention in your videos and your
write-ups that for your first drive or ride, the plane tickets were paid
by the OEM, the road travel was taken care of by the OEM, the 5-star stay,
food, wine and the gifts were all paid by the OEMs? Can you do that? You can’t?
Then you cannot call yourself a journalist, to begin with.
TO BE CONTINUED
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