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Editor's Notebook

Covering the Extraordinary

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I’m sitting here staring at a six-inch thick file, jammed with news clips on the Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) recall. I have read every word and listened to every press conference for four weeks straight now..

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And I don’t even know where to begin.

I’m sure you’ve followed this incredible saga as it’s twisted and turned, changing every hour. As safety groups, attorneys, so-called experts and ex-employees point fingers. As Ford puts up its "don’t blame us" deflect-a-shield defense. And as BFS scrambles to meet requirements of a massive international recall and the insatiable thirst of a stampeding media.

As a media resource covering this industry, we’re obligated to provide the best possible information we can. That’s what you expect of us. And that’s what you should expect.

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But this is not a cut-n-dried story, not a matter that can be handled with a simple three-paragraph item in this issue.

Not when we have to pick through so much divergent material, from so many sources, saying so many different things. Not when we get five news updates each day. Not when Ford says one thing one day then says another the next. Not when wide-scale consumer panic forces BFS to change directions, and then be vilified for trying to do the best thing.

Not when so many outside influences and blatant misinformation make this trying and tragic situation even worse.

There couldn’t be enough pages in this issue – certainly not enough trees in the forest – for us to trace the intricate and often confusing paths this complex, extraordinary story has followed.

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And, as I’m sure you can appreciate, because a monthly magazine’s print deadlines stretch weeks in advance, it’s impossible for us to publish the latest, most reliable information.

No doubt you know the basic details of the recall. Those of you carrying BFS products have surely received the information – maybe not the tires, but at least the information – needed to handle consumer concerns. Those offering other brands doubtlessly have been helping consumers change out recalled tires. Perhaps your professionalism has allowed all of you to gain a few new customers.

It’s not enough, sometimes, to just get news. Our job is to distinguish and highlight how this recall – or any subject – impacts your business. And that’s exactly what we’ll concentrate on.

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At the same time, we know our readers want the latest details of this highly charged, constantly changing situation.

Therefore, to get you live, up-to-the-minute recall news, we’re going to leverage a unique tool we have at our disposal.

Our sister online news service – aftermarketnews.com – has proven to be the tire industry’s most reliable, most up-to-date source of news about the BFS recall.

Since the days leading up to BFS’s fateful announcement, Tire Review and AMN have worked together to make sure every pertinent news article and every company statement was posted on AMN minutes after they hit the streets.

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So if you want to read detailed coverage of the BFS recall, simply go online to aftermarketnews.com. Once in the site, take advantage of AMN’s trial offer, and on the Home Page you’ll see a banner that will take you to a comprehensive archive of every BFS recall story AMN has posted. And perhaps you’ll find other tire and automotive news of interest.

Throughout this entire situation, we’ll focus our resources to get you the news you want, and the most up-to-the-minute coverage we possibly can. Both in Tire Review and AMN.

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Many of us were just tender teens the last time the industry saw anything of this scale. But back during the infamous Firestone 500 recall, we didn’t have the Internet and we didn’t have instantaneous dissemination of information. Even back in the "modern" 1970s, news moved slowly. It was simple to follow the story as it progressed, and for the then Tire Review staff to deliver the latest and most reliable coverage.

Twenty-some years later, consumer attention is greater, media scrutiny is more intense, decisions are made quicker, and news flashes around the globe in nanoseconds. That places a greater burden on us to get it right.

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This is an extraordinary situation, calling for extraordinary measures to get the right information into your hands as quickly as possible.

I hope our coverage lives up to your expectations.

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