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Magazine interviews with Chief Executives


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There is a relationship between manufacturers and magazines of course, a symbiotic one, but 'cosy' suggests mutual benefit and corruption, which I don't see any evidence for.  Nothing wrong with expressing one's suspicions in a free debate on a forum though, so long is the point is made that what is being expressed is a suspicion or opinion and not something claimed as factual.  Manufacturers value the ability of magazines to assist in marketing models and magazines depend on review samples being loaned by manufacturers (or bought by members of staff).  There is nothing wrong with this.

 

What would be wrong would be dishonest product reviews, and at the risk of being considered naieve I do not think this happens.  Reviews are a significant part of a magazine's job and should be independent and truthful, warts and all.  Most new models are praised in reviews because they are fine products worthy of praise, and I can see how cynical readers might interpret this as a cosy relationship.  Condemnation of a new model in a review, especially if it is in only one of a series of otherwise supportive reviews, will also arouse suspicion and attract comment, but if it is the reviewer's honest opinion then he is right to point out what he considers faults or problems.

 

Compared with the gushing sychopanthy in the hi-fi and camera magazine reviews I used to read, the model railway press are paragons of critical, honest. and unbiased assessments of new models.  Railway Modeller is published by Peco and is one of our oldest names; it had a misguided and undeserved reputation at one time of featuring only layouts using Peco track, but has never in my memory unduly promoted it's own products over others and it's reveiws are fair and unpartisan.  I can remember Airfix Magazine and Meccano Magazine from my childhood, fine publications with useful how-to and ideas articles and prototype information.  These did not promote their own companys' products unduly or unfairly but tended to ignore the competition.  They did publish reviews and prototype information on their own products but this is what one would expect; the tie-in to the main company was stated and obvious, there was no sleight of hand or shady goings on, everything was above board. 

 

I would like to see more objective information in reviews; haulage is usually included but is academic on my small BLT layout, as is top scale speed.  I want to know how slowly the loco can be controlled at a steady speed, and how smooth the starts and stops are; I would like to see gear ratios published as well.

 

I'm not a fan of CEO interviews; these guys are always going to be aware of what they are likely to be asked, and will have ready blandishments to counter criticism, and will keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to models in the pipeline.  They are used to this and highly experienced in the game; you are never going to be given any useful or interesting information, just a prepared version of the standard company sales blurb and a meaningless assurance that everything is wonderful.  Interviews with R&D might be more interesting, but won't be; the company line will be parroted just the same! 

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8 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Railway Modeller is published by Peco and is one of our oldest names; it had a reputation at one time of featuring only layouts using Peco track, but has never in my memory unduly promoted it's own products over others and it's reveiws fair and unpartisan. 

Nonsense, I have about 700 copies of Railway Modeller starting from 1957 to date. Nowhere near a complete set, but there are plenty of layouts featuring Tri-ang, Wrenn, Formaway, C&L, Marcway, hand-built etc track, that are obviously not Peco brands, right throughout that period. I reckon a 60 year plus range is more than sufficient evidence.

 

I don't know why people get the idea that Peco only feature their own products on layouts depicted. Unless of course you have some evidence to the contrary?

 

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but Peco stopped spelling the brand name as PECO, in the early 1990s. I believe that is when they changed their publishing software.

 

Most of their reviews have been fairly basic until recently, mostly really advising of something new. But I suspect that was more to do with the number of pages available. For many years, the RM was limited to no more than 24 pages (plus ads), so the problem was one of what to select. Publishing costs in the days of computers is significantly less.

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52 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

I said it had a reputation, not that the reputation was deserved!

Then you could have said that Railway Modeller

 

had a misguided reputation at one time of featuring only layouts using Peco track,

 

But instead you implied that it was true. Just saying.

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Fair enough, something like that would have made my meaning clearer, but I didn’t imply anything; that was your interpretation.  I will edit the post in accordance with your suggestion.

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Some people are forgetting this is a hobby and the people involved are involved because they like it.

 

I would also suggest that they all know each other.

 

And I am sure you find out more from being friendly than aggresive.

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I do like to read these sort of interviews, I currently get the 3 mains through the post each month, and interviews with various companies are always interesting.

 

Now Simon Kohler, he has been in the hobby since year dot. Of course I would want to see an informative interview with him, I am pretty sure I have met him as well. Actually I have met lots of people in the hobby, including a forum mod who was slightly grumpy at the time.

 

Now the LAST thing I would want to see is nastiness.

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I quite like the occasional interviews in magazines. There is always some interesting information but they are never going to be a Spanish Inquisition type interview.

 

Regarding model reviews; I can’t remember the last time any major manufacturer produced an unacceptably bad model. I model N and I’ve been very happy with all the new locos I’ve bought over the last five years or so. Even measuring haulage capacity has its problems. I have a couple of locos (1 Farish and 1 Dapol) which will pull full length trains on the level but are particularly useless on gradients.  Also  these locos pull better on some days than others, don’t know why. This makes creating totally objective reviews quite difficult.

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5 hours ago, kevinlms said:

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but Peco stopped spelling the brand name as PECO, in the early 1990s. I believe that is when they changed their publishing software.

 

Most of their reviews have been fairly basic until recently, mostly really advising of something new. But I suspect that was more to do with the number of pages available. For many years, the RM was limited to no more than 24 pages (plus ads), so the problem was one of what to select. Publishing costs in the days of computers is significantly less.

 

Apart from on the cover of their magazine and their logo found on it's products.....

 

Also their media outlet is PECO TV.

 

In fact they use PECO throughout their website.


 

Quote

 

Railway modelling is an absorbing and creative hobby enjoyed by countless generations over many decades. It encourages the development of a wide range of skills; PECO provide a comprehensive range of easy to read publications to help beginners and more experienced modellers alike to develop their creative techniques and bring greater realism to their layout. PECO has an extensive range of products to help you get the most out of your pastime, whether it be track, our speciality, or a kit, accessory or model that allows you complete or enhance your layout. As well as the wide range of PECO group products listed here, you will also find the brands that we distribute to the trade, namely Harburn Hamlets, Romford Models, Dundas Models and Melcam Models (Tracksetta). Browse this website to find that essential item you need, or build your shopping list to take to your favourite model shop.


 

 

https://peco-uk.com/pages/peco-products

 

 

Jason

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Just now, MJI said:

Actually it was you at Warley!

 

There's your answer; I'm always grumpy at Warley (and even on the way to Warley) up until the minute I get back home on the Sunday evening. :biggrin_mini2:

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11 minutes ago, AY Mod said:

 

There's your answer; I'm always grumpy at Warley (and even on the way to Warley) up until the minute I get back home on the Sunday evening. :biggrin_mini2:

I went to Warley once. It made me grumpy too !

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MIBA in Germany measure pulling power on the level and on a 30‰ gradient (i.e, 3%). 
 

It seems to me that British magazines and manufacturers have a closer relationship than in other countries. But it's very rare to see a very critical review of a model — even if it’s deserved — in any country. Of all reviewers, I would say I generally find Tony Wright to be the most helpful—he manages to get the balance between covering the accuracy of detail and what’s feasible to manufacture better than most, helped by his extensive experience making models himself.

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I think the OP has a point . Partly its the nature of the beast . The person being interviewed is hardly going to spill the beans on next years range . So maybe we expect too much out of these interviews. I've heard the word " Cosy", I don't think its that  but maybe more of a Gentlemans Club where its just not the done thing to criticise others. Its not just magazines , but YouTube reviews too , where you sit through it and at the end think , there really wasn't anything new in that .

 

I get the point that going for the jugular will not endear you to many and in fact may curtail information coming in your direction , but I think there are some questions that could be asked in a polite way to inform your readership . An example of an issue affecting consumers just now is the pre ordering situation either at Hattons or Hornby . Clearly for a consumer it would be useful to know what's happening so they can place orders with confidence . From Hatton' point of view you would have thought they would want to reassure their customers so be happy to engage . However I've seen nothing in the magazines this year , or last year when it first occurred with Rocket and Duchess of Atholl. That's the sort of questions that could be asked .

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Legend said:

That's the sort of questions that could be asked .

 

But you won't get a full and honest answer.

 

So what do you want doing next? Thumbscrews, ransoms, blackmail or waterboarding?

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13 minutes ago, AY Mod said:

 

But you won't get a full and honest answer.

 

 

Indeed.

 

However as a certain fictional detective Belgian was want to say its not what comes out of a persons mouth thats important - half truths, omissions or answering a subtly different question to the one which was asked can be just as revealing as the truth.

 

Before anyone gets all upset and saying a book is not real life - stop and take a moment to consider your own lives, because I bet there are occasions when you have sussed out that the truth about something is not what someone claims it is.

 

So, although not suggesting we should be going down the lines of Paxman-esque grillings in model magazines, potential questions shouldn't always be rejected out of hand on the basis of not likely of getting a full and honest answer.

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2 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

But you won't get a full and honest answer.

 

So what do you want doing next? Thumbscrews, ransoms, blackmail or waterboarding?


But I think the question has to be asked . Clearly if this comes from BRM then it had more clout than from an individual . If there’s no reply then we can form our own conclusions . If we aren’t going to ask these questions then it comes back to the original point being made by OP , what’s the point of such articles , other than just being a bit of favourable press  for the manufacturer? 

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9 minutes ago, Legend said:

what’s the point of such articles

 

To talk about content or questions that are of wider interest rather than the sound of personal axes being ground.

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The bigger point is that interviews with the CEO are incredibly rare - which is why I asked the OP for an example, which he hasn't given. Truth is, they are rarely going to be anything but bland because you are not going to get commercially confidential information out of anyone. That includes anything about problems behind the scenes that they don't want to tell you about.

 

8 minutes ago, Legend said:

it comes back to the original point being made by OP , what’s the point of such articles , other than just being a bit of favourable press  for the manufacturer?

 

And I say again, how often do you read this sort of article? Very, very rarely. Yet from this thread, you'd think that they are the staple fodder of every magazine - not layouts and practical features.

 

RMweb readers are not average magazine readers by and large. Many, including some on this thread, are proud to boast how they never buy a magazine. The mag readers are less interested in immediate news. If they are, then they go online now because the publication cycle means anything "newsy" is likely to be a month old by the time it's on the page. For the readers, that's fine - this is only model railways after all. Online, people want to visit a forum many times a day and demand a constant steam of new stuff, including news. It's a different market. Should the paper mags fill the pages with stuff the readers who pay for them aren't really interested in to entertain those on a forum who (mostly) pay nothing? It's not a difficult commercial decision.

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2 hours ago, Legend said:

From Hatton' point of view you would have thought they would want to reassure their customers so be happy to engage . However I've seen nothing in the magazines this year , or last year when it first occurred with Rocket and Duchess of Atholl. That's the sort of questions that could be asked .

 

If only there was a way for Hattons and others to communicate with the public directly. Some sort of electronic system that links computers and permits the creation of a forum-style website.

 

Oh, hold on. There is! Now why haven't they chosen to discuss the matter? Or anyone else involved? And if they were grilled by a magazine, do you think there would be much of an answer beyond what we already have? This is a classic example of an area where the companies involved will discuss it among themselves and not air their grievances in public. That might not be entertaining for the popcorn munchers, but it is what professionals do.

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3 hours ago, AY Mod said:

Thumbscrews, ransoms, blackmail or waterboarding?

Are they the demo's you plan to attend whilst at Warley given your love for it? 

 

And look on the bright side, you could have been running a football club forum over the last few days :-)

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40 minutes ago, pirouets said:

And look on the bright side, you could have been running a football club forum over the last few days :-)

 

They've got it easy, wait until United say they've signed a generic midfielder.

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11 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

But you won't get a full and honest answer.

 

So what do you want doing next? Thumbscrews, ransoms, blackmail or waterboarding?

Just an in depth article of facts, from the likes of the Daily Mail will do fine!

 

Never mind the dimensions of the model, but the alleged personal preferences of the main contenders.

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Searching questions do not have to be Paxman-like in their aggression; we do not expect the Spanish Inquisition.  Because, of course (all together now) ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’...!

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