Love to Drive launched by Peter Barnwell…
One of Australia’s best-known auto journalists, Peter Barnwell, has decided to do it his way with the launch of his new automotive blog – lovetodrive.net.
A part of the growing Totally Auto Network, that also includes Behind the Wheel, we sat down with the man known affectionately as ‘Barney’ to look at his goals with the new website.
You’ve been involved with some of the really well-known auto publications over the years, how will Love To Drive (LTD) differ?
Well Joel, as everyone keeps on saying, newspapers are a sunset media and if you want to exist in this world you’ve gotta be online in all its varied forms.
For me that means a website, Facie, Instagram and all the others.
But what’s happened is that many of the established motoring media websites continue with the long winded, newspaper/magazine format with pages of grey text and pics.
There’s no point of difference and given that many people access all their info by phone, short and sweet has to be the way to go, just like LTD.
If you can’t say what you need to in a few hundred words, don’t bother saying it.
Eventually I will spool up to video, when I get a toupee and some wrinkle cream, haha.
Do you think some publications have lost track of what their audience is really interested in?
I think too many of them see themselves as “consumer advocates” being hypercritical of products that are generally pretty bloody good.
It’s almost as though the journo is indulging in self aggrandizement by bagging cars for minute perceived issues e.g. “Oh, the remote button is too hard to press.”
They need to appreciate the fun factor in cars, after all, plenty of people still love driving their cars, even in the morning and afternoon crawl to and from work.
More emphasis needs to be placed on FUN. It’s all too serious.
You’re focusing a lot on getting car owners to review their own cars, how valuable is that to the site?
It’s one of the main points of difference. I would be happy if someone wrote in about their Mazda CX-3 because they loved to drive it and why.
Just as happy to have someone who loves their Nissan GT-R R34 with a billion horsepower.
It’s just a place people can have a voice about their car and why they love driving it – regardless of the car or the person.
What can we expect from LTD into the future?
Video is the way to go and plenty of interesting modified, classic and accessorized cars and fourbies.
I want to get into one tonne utes because just about every one of them, apart from fleet owned cars, are accessorized to the max.
Utes are the biggest selling vehicles in Australia so there’s plenty of interest in them.
LTD is a part of Totally Auto, does the industry need a voice for independent journalists and smaller outlets?
Absolutely. More voices are better for everyone. And the big players are all saying the same thing because they are pretty much a `boys club.’
One of them will say something and then the rest mimic it.
And they always have their big advertisers and owners looking over their shoulder.
Totally Auto is a collective of enthusiasts with their heart in the right place. They are all car people who know the right end of a spanner from the wrong end.
And within Totally Auto just about every aspect of motoring is covered – all under the same roof so to speak.
And it is growing into other electronic media including radio and hopefully TV down the track.
Good luck with the new site Barney!