Old vs. New rears its ugly head again

One of the challenges of being a publisher in the realm of new media is the fact that occasionally the we incur the wrath of some out of some traditional media type who hasn’t been able to keep up with the times. Sometimes that wrath comes from the very people who inspired us to become writers/photographers/publishers in the first place.

The Jalopy Journal has been published for close to a decade, which in new media is a very long time indeed. Publisher Ryan Cochran was one of the first to seriously bring traditional hot rodding to new media. Cochran’s background is deep. Having grown up in an active rodding and racing household, Ryan spent much of his formative years around the shops of some of the biggest names in both scenes. A key element to The Jalopy Journal’s growth has been the H.A.M.B. otherwise known as the Hokey Ass message Board. Participants of the board are a who’s who of hot rodding, both old timers and those who are just dipping their toes in the culture. The H.A.M.B is populated by over 120,000 individuals who have contributed over 5 MILLION posts. That is nothing short of incredible.

Recently, Ryan received the following letter from an oldster:
“Ryan, I’ve been reading your website for almost a decade. I’ve had enough. In the beginning, people used to worry about your site destroying the fabric of hot rodding. I blew it off thinking there is no way a simple kid could have so much influence. I shouldn’t have. You are well on your way to doing just that. Well, maybe not you but the people you serve.
With a complete lack of appreciation for the men that brought this industry up, you have allowed the audience to speak their mind carelessly and recklessly. Hot Rod, Street Rodder, and Rod & Custom Magazines created this world for you and you allow your users to trash each on an almost daily basis. I can’t and won’t continue to read this trash and I want to warn you about the reputation you are leaving in your wake of destruction. While your users are spitting this trash from their mouths, it is you the print world blames for stealing our hard work.
In a nut shell, I ask you this. What is The Jalopy Journal to you? A way to “spread the gospel” or a toy for your “hoodlums?”
To us, it is not the beginning of the end. That is a promise.”

I admit that I don’t follow the H.A.M.B. on a regular basis, rather I delve in on occasion when I am researching a story on some rod or another. There are so many great stories that I usually lose a few hours of my day because I just can’t stop soaking up the culture. With a message board so large, it makes sense that there might be a bit of trash talking from a moron or two, but all I have ever seen is absolute devotion to the history and culture of hot rodding. Taking that sentiment even further, I would suggest that I have never seen anything but reverence towards those who were involved in the early days of the culture.

Like it or not, every part of our lives is touched by new media. Marketing has changed, news feeds have changed and rules of attribution have changed. In fact, the sharing of content with proper attribution is what makes new media tick. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours and the search engines will love both of us for it. The key comes back to proper attribution and actually working together with your “competitors”. To put that into perspective, did the old school scribes attribute their competition when they scooped a story? No, they usually didn’t.

Ryan, worry not, your integrity remains intact with your peers. You and your publication remain at the forefront of keeping the flame alive and documenting the stories that hot rod culture was built upon.

To the readers: Rather than attempt to answer his antagonist in words, Mr. Cochran created a rather awesome video montage to explain what The Jalopy Journal means to him. Rather than name the perpetrator, he has given him the fitting name Janet.

Now, head over to the H.A.M.B. and spend your entire Friday getting skooled in hot rods!

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