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Old 30th March 2010, 01:36   #1
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Default Auto Magazines - Commercially biased Journalism

All,

I have been an avid reader of a few auto magazines for the last 5-10 years. I noticed that the most recent edition of a market leading Magazine, was promoting the polo with a 'road test' and also published a shootout of the Polo with a few other hatches in the market. Funnily, it was condescending about all the other hatches, while it went on about how Volkswagen was so much better than everything else. Of course, all sentences were worded in respectable journalistic standards.

I sensed that the report on the other cars seemed fairly contrary to what owners in this forum have been discussing. At the same time, all of the Polo's shortcomings (as highlighted in GTO's discussion thread) were seemingly deemed an acceptable compromise.


I am developing this impression that a lot of the reporting in these magazines now seems commercially biased. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that the Polo wasn't compared to the Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz and Ford Figo at a time like this.

I invite your thoughts on the subject.

Last edited by acidkill : 30th March 2010 at 01:37.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:33   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidkill View Post
I am developing this impression that a lot of the reporting in these magazines now seems commercially biased. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that the Polo wasn't compared to the Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz and Ford Figo at a time like this.

I invite your thoughts on the subject.
Don't know which magazine you are referring to, but I always get a feeling OD has bias towards VW! It gets more re-inforced with the recent Polo comparison 'tests'.

They have even opened with the lines- it is the best available today (for people who can read through entire review! ) Or just see where they say VW is more VFM, by comparing highest variants of Swift, Jazz and i20 option pack to second variant of Polo and saying its much cheaper!

However, i did like their Figo v/s Ritz test in the same edition. Thats more of a comparison test!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 30th March 2010 at 02:37.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:46   #3
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I'd say every automag will have a bias. They earn a lot from Ad revenue from the auto-makers, and if they highlight on the negatives in a negative light (!), then they might lose out on the $$$ they earn from them!!

Isn't that why T-BHP has an edge over the auto magazines?!!
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:09   #4
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Originally Posted by ph03n!x View Post
I'd say every automag will have a bias. They earn a lot from Ad revenue from the auto-makers, and if they highlight on the negatives in a negative light (!), then they might lose out on the $$$ they earn from them!!

Isn't that why T-BHP has an edge over the auto magazines?!!
+1. Most magazines [irrespective of auto or anything else] do have biased opinions so they can run the show. Very few exceptions, infact hard to find one.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:12   #5
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skoda first, and now big daddy VW. its kinda obvious :P

And honda is no angel either
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:29   #6
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I haven't read an Indian auto mag in a long time, but I guess it would help the discussion if you mention the name of the magazine and give us more details on the article you found biased.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:40   #7
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Like it or not: journalism is a business, always has been. But it is a business that depends on credibility. So people in the journalism business need to strike a balance.

And while this could be a case of paid news, it could also be a case of OD journos being friendly with the marketng fellows at VW.

I know of one bloke working with a not so reputed bike maker whose priimary job function, despite a high sounding job title, is to be a media w***e: keeping journos on friendly terms and feeding them with favorable *news*.

Simple solution: if you dont trust it, dont buy it! same reason people dont give any credibility to the aptly named B-S-motoring!
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Old 30th March 2010, 08:10   #8
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Originally Posted by COUGAR View Post
Like it or not: journalism is a business, always has been. But it is a business that depends on credibility. So people in the journalism business need to strike a balance.
And while this could be a case of paid news, it could also be a case of OD journos being friendly with the marketng fellows at VW.
I know of one bloke working with a not so reputed bike maker whose priimary job function, despite a high sounding job title, is to be a media w***e: keeping journos on friendly terms and feeding them with favorable *news*.
Simple solution: if you dont trust it, dont buy it! same reason people dont give any credibility to the aptly named B-S-motoring!
Well, it was just fine till the last line, where I will tend to disagree. BSM in my opinion have the finest motorheads in their staff. Other than Hormazd (because of his days at Auto India) I really don't respect too many auto-journos other than the ones at BSM.
I might not agree with their reviews, they might be equally biased, but they are also the most passionate, motoring journos out there. I love the fact that they weave delightful stories (Bijoy, Srini you name 'em) into their articles, it makes it a joy to read. Sometimes, an emotive object like an automobile can truly be given life by a wordsmith, BSM has them like no other magazine out there.

Nothing whatsoever against your post, just felt like sharing my admiration for some journalists who have given me a lot of pleasure.
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Old 30th March 2010, 09:08   #9
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I would like to indicate one point here - I have been reading Top gear India magazine for sometime (say 2-3 years) and many others like ACI, OD and I feel Top Gear's views are better than the others. They dont plug a car as much as the others but then they review very few cars. Their comparisons also dont give much data, (say like ACI) but they do tell how a car feels to drive and own. In this respect I like it.

However, ACI is truly professional and as acidkill mentioned, I did expect comparison with latest kids on the block like the Figo, Beat and the new 1.2L Swift. I'm sure that nobody can live without individual locks for the doors in the Polo.

The only respite is T-BHP. I request the mods to speak to the manufacturers and get the cars lined up. Fellow BHPians like me are more than willing to help/assist in doing a complete comparison. Ths is the only place where news is looked at from various angles.
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Old 30th March 2010, 09:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidkill View Post
All,

I have been an avid reader of a few auto magazines for the last 5-10 years. I noticed that the most recent edition of a market leading Magazine, was promoting the polo with a 'road test' and also published a shootout of the Polo with a few other hatches in the market. Funnily, it was condescending about all the other hatches, while it went on about how Volkswagen was so much better than everything else. Of course, all sentences were worded in respectable journalistic standards.

I sensed that the report on the other cars seemed fairly contrary to what owners in this forum have been discussing. At the same time, all of the Polo's shortcomings (as highlighted in GTO's discussion thread) were seemingly deemed an acceptable compromise.


I am developing this impression that a lot of the reporting in these magazines now seems commercially biased. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that the Polo wasn't compared to the Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz and Ford Figo at a time like this.

I invite your thoughts on the subject.

Totally agree with you. Have stopped reading auto magazines after reading Team BHP regularly. Not only the auto magazines, but also the TV shows are also biased.
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Old 30th March 2010, 09:21   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Don't know which magazine you are referring to, but I always get a feeling OD has bias towards VW! It gets more re-inforced with the recent Polo comparison 'tests'.
Similarly ACI has a bias towards Ford and GM. Even on the Autocar Show, Hormazd was praising the Ford Fusion. Of course today Ford and GM have improved greatly and I could agree with him. But not a few years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amartya View Post
BSM in my opinion have the finest motorheads in their staff. Other than Hormazd (because of his days at Auto India) I really don't respect too many auto-journos other than the ones at BSM.
I agree with you. However one of their fine motorheads has joined OD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by designersf View Post
The only respite is T-BHP. I request the mods to speak to the manufacturers and get the cars lined up. Fellow BHPians like me are more than willing to help/assist in doing a complete comparison. Ths is the only place where news is looked at from various angles.
You mean enjoy driving some good cars.
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Old 30th March 2010, 09:48   #12
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The first post is linked to ACI aoril issue which carries out the polo roadtest and comparision with the fabia 1.2, i20 1.2 and punto 1.2.

Calling the polo a "sensible no hassle hatch to drive and own".
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Old 30th March 2010, 09:55   #13
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Similarly ACI has a bias towards Ford and GM. Even on the Autocar Show, Hormazd was praising the Ford Fusion. Of course today Ford and GM have improved greatly and I could agree with him. But not a few years ago.
Praising and showing bias are totally different things. Of all the front line Auto journo's, Hormazd is the better one; IMHO.

I never seen ACI blindly praising Ford/GM cars and giving them undue credits.
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Old 30th March 2010, 10:03   #14
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Isn't that why T-BHP has an edge over the auto magazines?!!
Since day one of inception, we had decided that Team-BHP will NEVER accept any advertisements / revenue from Indian car manufacturers. That stays as of date, 6 years down the line, and is NOT expected to change (like ever!).

Reason : We are very clear about whose interests we want to serve : That of petrolheads & Indian car owners. I find it amusing how some publications & other automotive websites are entirely funded by the car industry, yet claim to work toward the cause of the consumer. A conflict of interest, if I ever saw one.

Team-BHP remains the only mass available information resource on Indian cars that is independent of the auto industry's marketing $$$ .
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Old 30th March 2010, 10:15   #15
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i think the opinions expressed in these magazines tend to be a bit subjective, rather than un-biased/ neutral. End of the day, the writer is also a human and humans are subject to human foibles.
Emotions are difficult to argue with and I guess most of us if we look hard enough at ourselves, will find that our personal opinions are emotion led at some level.
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