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Magazine interviews with Chief Executives


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Every so often one of the railway modelling magazines will invite the Ceo of one of the ready to run manufacturers. Am I alone in feeling they are less than exciting and rather one sided, very vanilla? 

 

I dont expect a Jeremy Paxman style grilling, but neither do I expect a Love-in.  I appreciate the writers may not be major league journalists but on some occasions the "intervirews" are very uninspiring.

 

There interviews are not nee product announcements, they are not business briefings - so what exactly is their brief? 

 

Perhaps saying a month or so "hey readers we are interviewing Mr Bach-Horn-Dap-Helj send us questions". 

 

I do not aim this at any particular magazine or employee, just the genre. 

 

Do others feel the same? 

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6 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

Every so often one of the railway modelling magazines will invite the Ceo of one of the ready to run manufacturers. Am I alone in feeling they are less than exciting and rather one sided, very vanilla? 

 

Can you actually quote a specific example? 

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Phil - are you asking as a fellow contributor to this site, in moderator capacity or as an employee/ contractor if BRM? 

 

I deliberately did not specify model companies or magazines of which there are several. I do not wish to critique any specific writer. The issue should be under editorial control. 

 

Eldontom- I know the cosy relationship between magazines and manufacturers, and you are right, in fact several manufacturers produce magazines, one bearing the brand name. Ideally I would have raised this in an independent social media group for what I fear may happen, but apart from Western Thunder which is rather niche, and platformone I'm not aware of others with broad reach. 

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2 hours ago, eldomtom2 said:

I think it is established fact that the hobby magazines are very cosy with the manufacturers - that one of the biggest is owned by a manufacturer rather says it all!

Which one? - genuine question.

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2 hours ago, eldomtom2 said:

I think it is established fact that the hobby magazines are very cosy with the manufacturers 

 

Established fact? As asked by others, what's your source? I'll be most entertained by the factual evidence.

 

1 hour ago, Miss Prism said:

 

The recent interview with Simon Kohler wasn't exactly Pulitzer territory.

 

 

Before maligning the interview (and interviewer) why not ask me when it was recorded?

 

31 minutes ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

Eldontom- I know the cosy relationship between magazines and manufacturers, and you are right, in fact several manufacturers produce magazines, one bearing the brand name.

 

Several manufacturers? You're talking out of your hat again. Hornby Magazine is owned by Key Publishing, not Hornby, which has been clarified many times but it doesn't look much like you're actually bothered by facts or evidence to substantiate your opinion (which you seem to think we should all be listening to).

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I obviously have struck a raw nerve with Someone. 

I am making a suggestion that a number of magazine interviews with senior execs of major manufacturers are not in depth, questioning, probing or as professional as they could be, and that one suggestion, that readers could be invited to ask questions that would no doubt be pre approved, sanitised and made non challenging be asked, instead of the current form. 

This is not a court of law, the Guardian or Mumsnet so demanding evidence to substantiate comments is not necessary.

 

I thought individual personal attacks and aggressive responses were not permitted.

 

Anyway, 

Getting back to the topic please ladies and gentlemen. I'd appreciate Responsible comments and thoughts.

 

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2 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

Phil - are you asking as a fellow contributor to this site, in moderator capacity or as an employee/ contractor if BRM? 

 

As a grumpy moderator who is having to waste his (unaid) Sunday defending himself and his colleagues against unfounded allegations.

 

2 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

I deliberately did not specify model companies or magazines of which there are several. I do not wish to critique any specific writer. The issue should be under editorial control. 

 

Or you couldn't actually produce a definite example.

 

2 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

Eldontom- I know the cosy relationship between magazines and manufacturers, and you are right, in fact several manufacturers produce magazines, one bearing the brand name.

 

Really? You know more than me then. I can think of two manufacturers with whom we have a less than harmonious relationship with plus a couple more who are known to get grumpy about stuff on a certain forum. It's also interesting that you know this, but don't know the relationship between Hornby Magazine and Hornby...

 

6 minutes ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

This is not a court of law, the Guardian or Mumsnet so demanding evidence to substantiate comments is not necessary.

 

So it is acceptable to throw out baseless allegations? If I went on a forum and said "All the people who do (whatever your job is) spend their days drunk when at work." you might get pretty upset that I didn't bother to stand that one up.

 

This is just another "all the magazines are rubbish" thread, that can be filed alongside "No-one is allowed to criticise manufacturers on RMweb", another regular and inaccurate charge levelled at us.

 

6 minutes ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

I obviously have struck a raw nerve with Someone. 

 

Which is what you intended to do.

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I think it may help to know what questions would you like to have asked, the relationship between magazine and manufacturers may appear cosy but there is no reason for it not to be as they are mutually beneficial to each other. I can’t see why a hard hitting potentially confrontational interview is required. The manufacturers will only let you know what they want to let slip. I would like to know what hattons plan to do about the issues with the 66 but they don’t seem to want to talk about it and say Andy Y banging his fist on the table demanding to know won’t change that.

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What do expect them to be?

 

They are not going to announce new products in the interview unless that was the plan nor are they going to discuss any ongoing financial or production matters that are private and confidential.

 

They will be what they are, a helicopter view of the market and maybe a few tidbits and anecdotes.

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19 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

This is not a court of law, the Guardian or Mumsnet so demanding evidence to substantiate comments is not necessary.

 

I can ask for it when a) I would like to see the evidence and b) I think you're talking garbage. You obviously don't like being called out when all you wanted to do was sound off. Over the last year I have had more than enough of people who like the sound of their own keyboards without feeling they should talk from a position of experience. 

 

You want probing? Tell you what, you go and ask some barbed questions (without evidence) directly and see what responses you get.

 

Sometimes, if something needs addressing I'll do it through more diplomatic channels, as will others. Sorry you don't get your free bloodsport but that's the way it goes. Making an ass of myself would mean I'd be less likely to be able to publicly discuss things again - which is where you may have placed yourself when you thought you were being clever.

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What a load of baloney. CEOs of model manufacturing companies are not elected politicians, or others earning squillions, who deserve to be Paxman-ed. Magazines need some degree of co-operation from manufacturers but that is very different from describing their relationship as cosy. If a mag reviews a model and says it's a pile of poo then they are going to miss out on future releases, but emphasising the good points and gently noting the downside issues is what we all want to read and I see plenty of that across the mag spectrum.

 

Case not proven.  

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1 hour ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

I am making a suggestion

 

No you're not, you're just criticising. I've just been thinking over my roast beef and decided that we won't be expending time on the fallout of your bile. You can go on the moderating queue which may be reviewed on receipt of a suitable apology. 

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50 minutes ago, Oldddudders said:

If a mag reviews a model and says it's a pile of poo then they are going to miss out on future releases

 

A lot depends on your definition of "a pile of poo" - for some (as seen on other bits of this forum) the most miniscule error will result in a model being described as "looking nothing like". If you live for a particular class of loco and obsess about them, then tiny issues are the end of the world, but those are not the main market. If they were, every review would be a complete hysterical trashing of the model. It might make for interesting blood sport, but does a dozen pages listing the perceived failings help? Or is it more useful to provide good photos, technical details etc.? We know we can never please everyone.

 

To pick up on the "miss out on future releases" - that's an old myth. Sending a model to a magazine is cheap publicity compared to buying the same amount of space as advertising, not that the manufacturers are big advertisers in the first place. If you want cheap coverage, you send in a model no matter what gets said about it. Missing out on new releases is more down to the procedures of the manufacturers than anything good or bad said about the product. Some actually fly the samples in so they hit the page when the model appears on the shelves to support their retail network.

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11 hours ago, GlenPudzeoch said:

Do others feel the same? 

I quite enjoy them but then I never expect them to be anything more than a pleasant chat which might shed a bit of light on how bits of the industry work. They aren't politicians and BRM and Railway Modeller aren't the New Statesman. If you want them to take an approach more similar to either mass market magazines or specialist industry publications they could just regurgitate corporate press releases because that's all that happens with those half the time. 

 

I suspect that if magazines started the interview with "So how did you manage to balls up xyz model so spectularly then ?" then they would run short of interviewees and quite possibly readers quite quickly. 

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At least these interviews are far better than some of the reviews of old.

How many stated "the running will improve with with some gentle running in"!

 

Was that code for 'runs as smoothly as a bag of nails', or something else?

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Hi all,

 

Speaking as a former journalist, my view is a 'Paxman' style interview is more about the spectacle than quality of the answer.  Yes, most of us derive a vicarious, guilty pleasure seeing a pompous MP skewered, but most such interviews rarely elicit any groundbreaking insight. 

 

In my experience that courteous and clear questions will generate better answers than the more combative approach.   And the reality is that if an interviewee wants to avoid a question they will, especially if answering it could generate unforseen or unfortunate commercial consequences.

 

I do think that one way in which the magazines have improved considerably in recent years is in featuring photographs and information about people in the hobby, particularly layout builders, as it makes it seem far more human and relatable.

 

cheers


Ben A.

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1 hour ago, kevinlms said:

At least these interviews are far better than some of the reviews of old.

How many stated "the running will improve with with some gentle running in"!

 

Was that code for 'runs as smoothly as a bag of nails', or something else?

 

Just what it says on the tin.

 

New motors and mechanisms need "running in" before use. It's mostly the fresh cut gears which need a bit of use before working perfectly.

 

If you buy a new car it's already been done for you at the factory. But you can't expect them to run in thousands of model railway models.

 

 

Jason

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1 hour ago, Ben A said:

In my experience that courteous and clear questions will generate better answers than the more combative approach.   And the reality is that if an interviewee wants to avoid a question they will, especially if answering it could generate unforseen or unfortunate commercial consequences.

 

What the OP didn't explain, is what extra information anyone is likely to get. Delivery dates and explanations as to the reasons for delay are already provided. You aren't going to find out the phone number of the person building the model at the factory and as for a full cost breakdown of a model (something that has been asked for more than once by posters), forget it. Commercially confidential details will stay firmly locked away no matter how probing the questions.

 

That's why I was asking for examples of interviews that were lacking. That, and there are actually very few of this sort of interview in the mags anyway.

 

1 hour ago, Ben A said:

I do think that one way in which the magazines have improved considerably in recent years is in featuring photographs and information about people in the hobby, particularly layout builders, as it makes it seem far more human and relatable.

 

It's important, especially when shows (remember them?) re-appear. I've always said people should chat to the person who built the model. If you want to know how something is done, ask the person who did it. RMweb is good, but chatting over the barriers is even better. Putting a face to the layout will hopefully bridge the gap in the future.

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Do we really need paxmanesque interviews in hobby magazines? Isnt there enough confrontation out there in the real world. There is a magazine (cant remember which one) that has a column that asks figures within the hobby questions more in the line of a "Sunday Supplement" human interest style ie what they like doing in their spare time.

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What I'd like to see is the kind of quantitative information in reviews that's seen in magazines like MIBA in Germany; information like the minimum steady speed achieved, the voltage (or, for DCC users, speed step) at which the prototype's maximum speed is achieved, the maximum speed reached by the model (for DC, at 12V) and so on.

 

I've only once seen this level of detail in a review of a British locomotive. Last century, a review of a Graham Farish (Poole) class 33. In Model Railroader…

 

When that review was written, MR's editorial staff was significantly bigger than any British magazine. That's no longer the case; if anything RM's editorial staff is now bigger than MR's… and MR still produce detailed reviews, though I don't think they’ve reviewed a British loco since that 33…

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