COLUMNS: Explaining the Recent Changes at Automobile Magazine

August 21, 2014
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The more things change. Change for change’s sake. Change you can believe in. By now you’re probably begging me to stop bludgeoning you with clichés and get to the point already, but there’s a reason why there are so many well-worn phrases centered on the C-word. Our lives are in constant forward motion, always changing—whether we want them to or not. We get older, (hopefully) wiser. We get married, have kids, move from place to place, job to job.
Corporations change, too. I’ve been a part of expansions and painful contractions. The company that once owned the Detroit Free Press, my hometown newspaper and where I cut my teeth as a journalist, no longer exists. In the eight years I’ve worked for the company that owns Automobile, we’ve gone bankrupt, changed hands twice, and names three times. And now, significant change has come to Automobile.
As some of you know by now, the indomitable Jean Jennings has left the magazine and I have been asked to slide into the cockpit as editor-in-chief. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jean, who in her amazingly colorful career helped define the magazine. She’s broken down barriers in a male-dominated profession and has become a larger-than-life personality.
I know I have a huge hat to fill, and I cannot thank her enough for the kindness she has shown me. Jean will still be out there, as a star of the new TV show “Motor City Masters” on truTV and through her JeanKnowsCars brand. I wish her nothing but the best, now and in the future.
"The changes we’re making are all with the goal of ensuring the magazine’s future, even as we cherish its past."
There’s another change you’ll notice starting this month. Ezra Dyer has decided to leave us for the competition. Ezra has done wonderful work during his decade-plus with the magazine, has written with imagination, and has entertained you with his outrageous adventures. His tales from the Le Mans 24 Hour will be his final piece for us. We also wish him well as he makes a significant career change.
On the heels of Ezra’s departure, I’m excited to introduce Automobile readers to Arthur St. Antoine and his Asphalt Jungle musings. A veteran automotive journalist whose prolific career has spanned decades at multiple car magazines and beyond, Art will also be weaving features in the pages of Automobile and through the “Epic Drives” video series he hosts on YouTube. He’s a consummate professional who loves cars from all eras and writes with a unique voice I believe you’re truly going to enjoy. Also joining the team this month is senior copy editor Kathleen Clonts, a veteran newspaper journalist and Detroit native who grew up immersed in Motown’s car culture.
Despite the changes, much of the roster is staying the same—and for very good reason. Living legends Georg Kacher and Robert Cumberford aren’t going anywhere. Same goes for the voices and photographers you’ve come to know, including the irrepressible Jamie Kitman as well as Preston Lerner, Ronald Ahrens, Jason Harper, Lawrence Ulrich, Marc Noordeloos, and others. Veteran staff editors Joe DeMatio, Joe Lorio, Michael Jordan, Todd Lassa, ace designer Darren Scott, and young guns David Zenlea, Chris Nelson, Patrick Hoey, Jake Holmes, Eric Weiner, and Joey Capparella form the vanguard of our efforts everywhere we hang the Automobile banner—be it our website, social media outlets, or mobile experiences.
The changes we’re making are all with the goal of ensuring the magazine’s future, even as we cherish its past. We will remain committed to delivering more of what you love about Automobile, on the printed page and otherwise. We’ll also never stop looking for new ways to delight you with ever more epic, iconic, and global stories and photos. The world is changing fast, and we’re changing with it. But even in the midst of all this transformation, there is one thing I can promise you that will not change. Automobile’s founding principle will always be our constant: No boring cars.

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