I’ve seen a few things around the web this week that have got me thinking, enough to actually write down my thoughts, which as a broadcast journalist is a complete anathema to me!
The subject is:- Whether in the tight knit world of RC, is there any room for comment and opinion?
I have worked in the full-sized Motorsport media world for the last 18 years, serving my apprenticeship in the Formula 1 pit lane before graduating toOn the Grid with 3 x Le Mans Champion Allan McNish and the Audi crew
Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship. Working as I do in TV and Radio we are constantly putting forward our opinions, comments and theory’s about drivers, teams, organisers – you name it. Obviously we steer clear of actionable statements but if we think a driver or team has made a mistake we call it, and usually in pretty straight up terms.
That sort of critique is entirely missing from the RC world. If you were to believe the websites and magazines, no one makes a bad product, no driver is unsporting, no-one ever cheats the rules (well not now though stories of “what used to happen” are allowed!) and I got to wondering why this situation exists.
The main reason seems to be the massive interdependence between the RC media and the RC Industry, all the sites and magazines depend upon the advertising from the very companies they might one day need to question or criticise. This results in the bland printing of press releases exactly as they were sent through by the companies, with no question or comment, or attempt to make them relevant.
Ask yourself when was the last time you saw anything negative written about a company, team or driver? Do you really think that everything is that perfect within our sport?interviewing 6 x NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson
Does this actually serve the industry? Acceptance without question, and a permanent positive spin is more what we used to see in Cold War Russia than the modern day world; and those acquiescing to the state of affairs tended to just lack the balls to speak out, then in fear of being locked up, in RC perhaps the fear of a difficult conversation with a sponsor!
However the fact is, just as then, that the people – you our readers, know that everything isn’t always rosy, and we as the RC media need to serve you as well as our own self interests, and we also, in my opinion have a duty to entertain!
I also think that this unquestioning stance is extremely disingenuous to the industry itself! Full sized Motorsport and motor manufacturers can withstand criticism, in fact they usually take it on board and more importantly use it as a spur to improve their performance or products.
On this site we do try to be slightly different not only do we like to present the news with a sense of fun, have an opinion, even speculate(!), but we also have published a couple of pieces questioning the status quo, the actual health of companies and the decisions of drivers – we have always done so with a full right of reply for these we have questioned, and this has been taken up on more than one occasion. The reason being is that I personally see RC as “scale Motorsport” and as such the media should look to actually try to present an actual opinion rather than the incredibly bland items we see published else where masquerading as an opinion.
Perhaps this is a risky strategy? Maybe we are shooting ourselves in the foot with certain organisations, but we have never published anything malicious and never would, and at least you know we actually believe in ourselves and what we are saying, and, actually have something to say!Chatting to 1/10 ISTC World Champion Jilles Groskamp