Our Thoughts On Transparent Blogging & The Autoblog Axing Of Jeff Glucker

By | September 29, 2011

Jeff Glucker Autoblog

Car News With An Unhealthy Dose Of Opinion. That’s what we do here at the Daily Derbi. We might not be quite as big as our Autoblog and Jalopnik counterparts, but our unique, speculative, and often outrageous content (Kirstie Alley jokes, anyone?) definitely set us apart from what they and others do offer. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Each site caters to a different portion of the car enthusiast world and it’s ridiculous to assume that each portion of the audience will stick with just one site out of loyalty. I read AutoBlog. I read Jalopnik. I also frequent Autocar, Motortrend, GT Spirit, and a whole host of other car related websites because I’m passionate about four-wheeled pieces of metal that go like a burning cheetah and make nice posters for bare walls.

It’s funny then to see that some of the biggest recent news in the automotive world wasn’t exactly automotive. It was about ethics, journalism and transparency. Here’s the short version: Jeff Glucker was an Autoblog contributor- one that we rather liked. Yesterday, he made the unfortunate mistake of posting an article detailing a promotion in which Nissan and Britney Spears were giving away a free Versa. Related to the automotive world, so nothing too egregious yet, right? What the Autoblog staff eventually found was that Glucker was employed by the PR agency behind this giveaway and personally benefited from publishing the article. That’s bad news bears, and for no one more than Glucker himself. Autoblog quickly claimed they had no knowledge of Glucker’s relationship and fired him on the spot, sparking reactions from their readers and other industry outlets like Jalopnik.

In light of all of this, we wanted to give our humble thoughts on the matter. First and foremost, we are bloggers. I don’t consider myself to be a professional journalist and neither does anyone else on the Daily Derbi staff. In fact, the defining lines between blogger and journalist are so blurred that despite what we call ourselves, there is no right answer. We’re journalists to some, bloggers to others, and total nonsense to a few. It’s a case of the John Stewarts. He’s watched, trusted, and turned to for news and information by millions but he has never called nor considered himself to be a professional journalist at any time. We’re in the same boat Mr. Stewart….just not the millions of people….or possibly the trusted part either…and definitely not as funny. Whatever.

Secondly, it’s a good opportunity to point out that because we’re not managed by some internet content conglomeration overlord, we’re free to post what we want, when we want- total creative control if you will. That’s the beauty of the internet and running a site like the Daily Derbi. But what’s a site without its readers and community? We completely understand that and realize that if we’re not putting out the most entertaining, interesting and opinionated car news, you’re not coming back.

With all that said, however, there is one guarantee we’d like to make: no deception here, period. Creative control may be ours, but that doesn’t mean we’re allowed to pull one over on our readers. What I’m not saying is that we’ll never post something like Glucker’s Nissan giveaway article. If it’s even slightly relevant to the auto industry, it’s fair game. What we won’t do is conceal any personal gains or hidden motives for posting the content. Be transparent and tell people the truth, simple as that. It’s not a professional rule. Just a mutual respect and common courtesy to your readers.

[Chad Waite]

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