Commentary: Still Here

Self-Portrait in Park August 2013
Photo by Randy Stern

Even in the depths of "just being extraordinarily busy," it was time to come up for air.

To explain, things came to a head throughout the month of July. My Day Job was going through several issues that are not worth repeating and would be meaningless to explain on an automotive website. This was coupled with being behind on assignments with my new writing gig due to increased stress and frustration with my Day Job. This affected my ability to maintain this site at optimal feeding levels.

As a writer, I was severely challenged. While opportunities presented itself that would be beneficial for this and my other outlets, I passed on them – or, rather, was passed up. Perhaps it was for the best. My want of not being at the Day Job may be for naught as I found some comfort in my abilities to resolve problems, even with some guidance.

Still, the want of being more involved in this work – this art, this craft – has been my overall goal. I read my social media feeds to see the instant (and sometimes, embargo evading) imagery and messages from any given media drive event. The back of my mind tells me: "Gee, would it be nice, if…" Instead, I swallow my pride and push on with my vehicle reviews and the stressful Day Job.

Throughout this calendar year, I had a virtual buffet of the media drive go-round. It was wonderful, delicious and the OEM as great hosts in a city I always wanted to experience. When I came home, I thought: "I would like to do that again." This year, my time had taken me to some new heights. My first North American International Auto Show in Detroit was an experience that is for the books. Though I was racing against the clock the first morning of media previews, my arrival at another Chicago Auto Show yielded another milestone in this career.

Since this winter, I had an amazing run. Through working local events – big and small – attending my first regional media association's Spring Rally and working through vehicle after vehicle for reviews appearing in two outlets (with a third coming soon), I was simply enjoying what this work has yielded in terms of greater rewards. This work opened doors I never thought would happen at this stage.

Why am I talking about this? I have done some thinking through the stress of the Day Job, a major storm that affected the place where I live and the addition of a new outlet with a new set of subject matter and made some conclusions about where am I at in this business.

Indulge me, if you would…

For the first two years of Victory & Reseda, I was considered a part of the social media side of the automotive media corps. My presence and status grew thanks to opportunities by Lavender Magazine. The addition of the third major outlet created a struggle as to my media identity, which already came to question. Even as the LGBT publication for the Twin Cities and the greater Upper Midwest, Lavender is considered a traditional media outlet. This is by virtue of a print run of 17,500 per issue, plus a growing mobile application exactly emulating the magazine.

This third outlet will increase my presence through both web and print. I do not have the numbers that represent this increase at this time, but the ballpark figures are staggering.

What this means is an increased workload focusing on both Lavender and the new outlet. Though my Lavender publication schedule is weekly via the web and once every other issue in print, it is hard to state how frequent my material will appear in this new outlet and exactly where you could find it. That is still up in the air, but I have a feeling someone from a market I am unfamiliar with will embrace the work I do and discover the other places where it appears. For example, this particular website.

However, this is my biggest fear. I do not want to lose Victory & Reseda. I still need a place to freely express my feelings about the industry and share my thoughts on the vehicle I review, the events I attend and other automotive related items you are used to seeing on here.

I also want to do another Vehicle of The Year. Hell, I want to continue this tradition. The VOTY is V&R's greatest asset and proves that a small little website can be influential to recognize a great vehicle every year as voted on by you.

This is not just about content as it about keeping relevance. As I peruse the social media feeds for images and postings from Monterey Motor Week and Woodward Dream Cruise, I find myself questioning my position amongst the automotive media corps. Who am I? Where do I belong? What I do I do to continue this path, as I grow my presence and obtain new readers?

In all, how do I keep relevant in your eyes?

My hope is to maintain this site for you to read when postings are published. You have stuck by V&R so far. I feel that V&R is a bridge that brings all sorts of readers together – regardless of your background and your position in life. There is so much I still want to do under the banner of Victory & Reseda, because this site and its presence affords me the freedom to do a lot of things that are not assigned by the other outlets.

I still believe in this journey. I hope you continue to do so, as well. There is a lot more to come – here and elsewhere.

DISCLAIMER: Self portrait in this posting was done with the vehicle fully stopped and the shifter in Park. Just wanted to make sure, before anyone goes crazy… – RS

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