Friends, gossip and sore feet
Ten things I like about auto shows
1. Seeing new cars: It's always a pleasure to see new models on the show floor. In our business, it's the cars that matter.
2. Seeing old friends: You don't need to arrange a meeting with old friends from around the world. At some point, you'll just bump into them.
3. Making new friends: At every show, you will always meet somebody new. Often, the rapport you establish can last for years.
4. Catching up on gossip: Rumors are one of the sinful pleasures of journalism. Some rumors at the Detroit auto show were positively lip-smacking.
5. Visiting foreign lands: Detroit, Geneva, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Paris, Turin, Barcelona, Seoul, Moscow, London and Bangkok. Add them up, and you have covered the world.
6. Interviewing key executives: These are the individuals who can shape the lives of people around the world. They do not want to get it wrong.
7. Concept cars: This is how the auto industry visualizes the technology of the future. Concept cars are a dialogue between automakers and the public.
8. Parties: When the hall closes, journalists gather in a bar or enjoy something more theatrical. This year, we enjoyed blues pianist Ray Charles, courtesy of Ford.
9. Getting great stories: The best stories come not from the press conferences but from interviews, old friends and rumors.
10. Going home: Shows require travel and late-night work hours. It's great to get home to the family.
Ten things I dislike about auto shows
1. Early-morning press conferences: Finding transportation in the early hours in a foreign city can be a major challenge. Is anyone really at his or her best at 7 a.m.?
2. Loud music and dancing girls: Who can hold a press conference with one hundred decibels blaring from the next booth?
3. Hotel rooms: You know what I mean. As nice as many hotels are, they are not home.
4.Public relations people: Nowadays, PR people play the role of nanny to the CEO. They should play nanny for us.
5. Press conferences that last more than 10 minutes: Once you allow companies to mount lengthy stage productions, you must add extra press days. Is it really worth 30 seconds of prime-time TV?
6. Executives who have meetings with other executives: Come on guys, this is press day. It is our turn, and the PR people should be telling us where to go and who to see.
7. Sore feet: Need I say more?
8. People who are not press: I've seen 'journalists' wearing short trousers and pushing prams. It is obvious that certain people simply should not be there. They take all the seats and steal all of the press packets.
9. Bulky press packets: Do press packets really need to be larger than a compact disc? Most of mine end up stripped and dumped in a hotel room trash bin.
10. Having to work: Wouldn't it be great to go to all of these cool places, see fantastic cars and do no work - just enjoy yourself? It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.