The thing with a new broom is that it tends to look for something to sweep. This is my first issue in charge of Wheels but, for the time being at least, I’m trying to resist that particular temptation; the impulse to be seen to be doing something.
Far better to take stock, establish what readers want and assess how best to deliver on that.
The instant feedback of Wheels’ online audience can offer a steer, but the overlap in the Venn diagram of online and print readers is smaller than you might imagine.
Print readers love to be surprised, opening the magazine and reading something they never expected to encounter.
Online readers tend to know what they’re looking for and search accordingly. Therefore, there are some stories that work beautifully for print, that are joyous in their charm and esoteric in their nature which would die a grisly death online and vice versa.
I doubt you’d be too gripped by a story on the relative boot sizes of mid-sized SUVs, but it’s a sure-fire winner in terms of click-through.
At this point, I should probably introduce myself to those of you relatively new to the title. I was previously the deputy editor of Wheels during Alex Inwood’s tenure in the big chair. When Dylan Campbell took over, I backfilled his old role as editor of MOTOR before returning to the mothership.
I’d very much like to thank Ash Westerman for his steadying hand on the helm during some testing times and I’m grateful that he’ll continue to offer the benefit of his years of experience and deft editorial touch.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to tip the hat to Felipe Ubilla, whose design work on Wheels in recent years has distinguished the magazine.
One thing doesn’t change and that’s our passion for a great story. Isn’t that what we’re here for?
Wheels ought to bring you words and pictures the quality of which you won’t find anywhere else. If the magazine’s not doing that, I’ll have failed you.
We’ll also be folding in a bunch of previous MOTOR subscribers to Wheels, so the mix of what you see in the magazine may shift slightly.
It always used to be the case that if Dylan Campbell ran a performance car on the cover of Wheels, the MOTOR crew would chase him through the streets of Oakleigh armed with pitchforks and tiki torches. Small wonder he left.
Speaking of Oakleigh, the Wheels office has moved to shiny new premises down the road in Mulgrave, the suburb our execs describe as Australian automotive’s Silicon Valley.
I’m not so sure about that, but it feels great to be back in an office again with the crew from 4×4 Australia, Unique Cars, WhichCar and Street Machine.
The vibe is back again after a couple of years many would rather forget. Everyone has a spring in their step.
And we’re gearing up to make Australia’s car magazine more immersive, more beautiful, more forward-looking and more thought-provoking than it’s ever been. Stick with us. This is going to be one heck of a ride.