When I started out as a journalist in 1990, most of us worked for magazines and newspapers – online publications were a few years away yet.
Freelancers were in the minority. Now most of us work freelance.
It’s good to know that the UK is one of the few countries in Europe where the car market is thriving. Unfortunately that’s not equally true for all journalists. Free copy and the migration of news and features from print to online, with lower advertising revenues, means that it’s getting tougher to earn a living.
I believe that on-line will bring new business models, perhaps like YouTube where advertising follows contributors with large followings. But it will take a while before the options materialise. It’s vital that accumulated expertise does not seep away in the meantime.
Maybe writers groups like the Western Group of Motoring Writers will have a vital role here. Groups could become their own publishers.
We have websites, we have the knowledge and we know what makes for good writing, regardless of the medium. We need other skills too – audio and video are just as important. It’s a challenge and we need to rise to it.
John Connor: An appreciation
John Connor was a familiar face on car launches – known, liked and respected by many fellow journalists and PR people. He was a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers.
Like many of us he was a freelance journalist, but John had also worked as a staffer and on the PR side too. To learn of his tragic death less than two weeks ago was a shock. John had just returned from the Nissan Qashqai international launch in Madrid, attended by a number of Western Group members, among others and was on his way home.
He was killed when his car was struck by a truck while in a traffic queue to join the M25 from the M4, having just left Heathrow. Our sympathy goes to his son Michael and daughter Clair. John was 75 and lost his wife Veronica last year.
John funeral will be held at 11 am on Wednesday, 12 February, at St George and St Teresa’s RC Church in Station Road, Dorridge B93 8EZ.
It will be followed by a family only internment at 12.30 and the reception venue is to be advised.
Family flowers only please. Any donations in lieu to Help For Heroes, a favourite cause of John’s and which will be supported by WGMW, and will be gratefully received by the funeral directors, Thomas Bragg and Sons, 1682 High Street, Knowle, Solihull, B93 0LY.
John Kendall | Chairman WGMW