The name Dennis Simanaitis may be foreign to some of you, however, if you’ve ever heard of, picked up or read a copy of Road & Track Magazine, you would be familiar with his work.
Dennis is now the (retired) Engineering Editor of Road & Track Magazine and one really great chap. As some of you may or may not know, there are some major changes coming to R&T. It’s offices in Newport Beach have been closed (for all intents and purposes) and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. These changes are no doubt due to the changing landscape of print media and it’s eventual obselesence.
He offered some intelligent insight and great advice for up and coming authors, reporters, journalists and columnists that I wanted to share with you.
This is what he had to say, “…don’t let this single business decision destroy your dream of writing professionally. Rather, use it to put opportunities in perspective”, which was in reference to R&T changing directions.
With regards to the electronic media medium, he said, “Obviously the web, mobile apps, iPad, Zenio and a multitude of other media have dramatically changed the world of magazines. In many ways, though, these are beneficial. For instance, in the special interest car area, what better medium than one that displays sound and motion!”
Here is some absolutely genuine and useful advice from the seasoned editor, pay attention now, “This means a special interest auto journalist no longer works simply with words, but also with video and sound. It’s exciting, but also demands a wider set of skills. Certain verities still apply: accuracy, clarity, integrity and, of course, honesty of presentation are paramount, regardless of the medium. And certain general suggestions still apply: Practice your craft to develop these skill sets, the new ones as well as traditional ones. Be willing to practice with little or no pay, at least at first. Writing gratis for car clubs and other local organizations (your church? local social club?) is a good way to get experience. And continue to read, read and read. Classics, modern, good and bad (how better to develop your own editorial taste?). …continue networking to chat with other people in the profession–and also to learn of its perils.
Finally, he leaves us with, “I can certainly say it is–and continues to be–a great way to make a living.
Infinite thanks to a great mentor and friend, Dennis Simanaitis. I hope you enjoy your retirement, you’ve certainly earned some rest and relaxation.
Author: Ernie Black