Yacht & Coast

Broad Reach

Boat tests, part 2: Conduct unbecoming

February 15, 2013 by robert in Broad Reach, Featured with 0 Comments

The questions seemed valid. What’s boating magazines’ relationship with brands they cover? Is it OK for a boat maker to join a test of its own brand? Innocent questions that led Yachting World _ one of 60 consumer glossies produced by Britain’s IPCMedia giant _ to lose all manners. Here’s Yachting World Editor David Glenn flaming Yacht-and-Coast:

“You have displayed a very blinkered, superficial and old-fashioned attitude which smacks of arrogance and a ‘them-and-us’ stance for which there is no room in the modern era. Any decent journalist would have sought the information before publishing such a shoddy piece of work. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

For the record: In January, Yacht-and-Coast asked 2 Dutch and 2 UK magazines to explain their boat test conditions. Zeilen and De Waterkampioen of the Netherlands kindly complied, without acrimony. Glenn ignored us for weeks. When the post _ including minor criticism of a Yachting World boat review _ went online, Glenn answered our questions within 24 hours. Too late. The post was online. Glenn then blew a few gaskets, like the one above. Ignoring his rudeness for now, here is some of his thinking on Yachting World’s relations to the brands and boats it writes about and tests:

 _ There are good reasons to take a boat maker on a test sail for it would be “the height of arrogance if a journalist, or indeed an editor, believed he knew it all and that he could learn nothing from such personnel being present.”  

_ The aim is “to help improve a product for the benefit of our readers, who are also customers of manufacturers. If we do find fault with a yacht this is thoroughly discussed with manufacturers so that something positive can come out of the exercise.”

_ Yachting World accepts “all expenses paid trips to test and review yachts. It’s the way of the economic world, so get real! Paid-for events do not, however, stop us from reporting what we see. And (if that) happens to be negative, then that is published too. Manufacturers understand and accept this.”

Many quality yachting magazines say they manage to keep an arm’s length distance from the brands they cover and/or test. Readers can believe that or not. But to say, as Glenn does, there is no room for “them-and-us” in the modern era goes too far. Readers have a right to information and answers. Glenn would do well to read his own site where it says (in awkward English): “Please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything we can help you with.”

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