Coming to Terms
I’ll tell you what; days and months really seem to fly by. It’s late December now, and “it’s Christmastime in the city.” The way I see it, and for all intents and purposes, the year 2015 is done. While folks who prefer the printed version of Diesel Power are reading this message in 2016--several months after I composed it--I’m sure those of you who are seeing it online, in “real-time” made possible by trucktrend.com, can relate to my feelings about how quickly time passes. For folks who read the mag, and the diesel owners and enthusiasts who check us out on the web, my wish is for everyone to experience nothing but the best of health and prosperity in the new year.
This Particulate Matters is inspired by the importance of “saying the right thing.” While our staff participates in a multi-leveled review process that all Diesel Power content goes through, ultimately making sure our messages are accurate and presented well is my responsibility.
It’s no secret that words and phrases about high-performance diesel pickup trucks, cars, engines and parts are the magazine’s primary elements. My concern is that when shortcuts with our writing are taken, messages are not always clear to everyone reading them. So, it’s critical that we try and always use the correct terms when discussing diesel topics, to ensure that the messages are understood by all; seasoned veterans, and especially by newcomers to the hobby and Diesel Power.
The challenge we face when trying to do this is having to find a happy medium between using full and correct terminology—like saying, “Dan’s blue ’07 Ford F-350, or Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, or Dodge Ram 2500”—or, publishing “diesel guy” vernacular, by simply calling Dan’s rig a “blue ’07 Power Stroke, Duramax, or Cummins.” Yes, I acknowledge that talking about or naming trucks only by their engines is a common practice for many hard-core enthusiasts (and I admit I’m guilty of occasionally doing it, too). However, taking such shortcuts with our print and web content is incorrect. That’s just one example. There are many, many others (such as not providing the complete names of aftermarket companies, shops, etc., or writing about parts from an “everybody knows this” perspective).
On the other hand, though, I know there certainly are words, or popular phrases in diesel life that we can and should include in our reports. The Enthusiast Network, our parent company, uses an editorial style guide that lists accepted abbreviations and slangs, and defines various terms that apply to automotive and truck performance. The style guide basically gives editors a structure to adhere to, which is designed to ensure that content is presented in a consistent and accurate manner across the company’s many publications.
The irony, if you will, is that this style guide, while very good as a global reference tool, is horribly lacking when it comes to some of the specifics in our niche segment of performance. So, while I know and agree there is diesel-specific jargon that we can, and in some select cases, do use, we’ve got to stick to the style-guide script for now, and then gradually, accurately work the popular, non-style-guide language into our messages.
About a year ago, someone told me that the articles in Diesel Power seem “more professional” than they have in the past. I’ve accepted the comment as a compliment (well, I hope it was intended to be a compliment), and I appreciate our team’s conscientious effort to meet not only our company’s and my lofty standards as editor, but also your expectations of being able to read an informative and well-written magazine.
Looking at this picture, I see John Muldoon’s ’07 Dodge Ram 2500; a diesel pickup, powered by a 5.9L Cummins engine (yes, it’s a bad ass). How many of you just see John’s ’07 Cummins? Terms of endearment, indeed!