Commentary: This Is A Landmark Year

Welcome to a landmark year!

This is the year I celebrate three milestones that has made this career a fulfilling one. 

Getting to these milestones involved a lot of success, balanced out by frustrations. Every inch I took, I had to take a step back to understand how to succeed in this competitive arena. 

Twenty years in the digital media world, and I’m still standing. That speaks volumes. 

Throughout the years, I told some of the stories how I got here. My first experimentation into automotive journalism back in high school, was one. The moment when I got into automobiles, was another. 

To be honest, this was an accidental path that always had its roots going back to my childhood. When I first picked up an automotive magazine some 50 or so years ago. It wasn’t just the pictures that entranced me. I started reading the words. I began to understand this world that I would stumble into some 30 years later. 

Every story fascinated me. From the recounting of journalist junkets from the onset of the 1980s in Car magazine, ranging from a vehicle launch in Spain or the south of France to up the road at some English countryside inn. The column in Car did not focus on the vehicles, but of the food, the flight, and the experience of being a half-jaded automotive journalist of that era. 

Then came Jeremy Clarkson, Jean Jennings, and Warren Brown. Three completely different personalities and approaches this work. These three people combined showed me what was possible in this business. 

Once I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Washington, and Madison – with a few stops in-between – I accomplished my first milestone. I became the Managing Editor of a small lifestyle website based out of Chicago. I had a cartoonist and a columnist under my wing, while I wrote my column about the community – and everything else. 

That was 20 years ago. Hence the first milestone I will be celebrating in 2021. 

That column spawned my automotive writing. Because of it, I gained entry into my first auto show with a media credential. The rest is history. 

My second milestone will occur in April, as V&R will turn 10 years old. As I mentioned a few times, there are a few ideas on how we will celebrate off-line here in the Twin Cities. That will depend on the situation with the pandemic and any guidelines that need to be met. 

The third milestone will be in November, when I award the 15th #VOTY. I don’t know how #VOTY2021 will shake out. We got several months to go before the long list of nominees are announced. 

I intend on exploring these landmark themes deeper. I may just turn the byline over to those who were there along the way. Also, expect some "reprints" of older materials and some reflective pieces on this site. And, maybe, a few surprises!

As the year starts off, I’m sure there will be plenty of material for you to peruse as we get into this celebration year. Please join me in celebrating a triple milestone year for V&R and this work!

Photo by Randy Stern

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