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  • 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year Scoring Transparency

2016 Pickup Truck of the Year Scoring Transparency

The Driver’s Seat

Feb 29, 2016
There sure are a lot of awards given out. It seems everywhere you look this time of year someone is getting recognized for something. The entertainment industry has the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, and about 47 others. You can win an award for being Person of the Year or brewing the best-tasting beer. There are awards for winning a sporting event or for writing the best theory on ending world hunger. Some awards are given on a global scale, while others only matter to the eight people in attendance at the local Elks lodge. Heck, we’re giving people awards just for participating.
Now, I’m not here to criticize awards, per se. As a brand, we birthed our own new award last year, the Truck Trend Pickup Truck of the Year. No, what bothers me is the lack of transparency behind all of the awards that are given. Sporting events are easy: The person or team who finishes first or with the most points takes home the prize. However, it’s with the subjective awards that things start getting a bit sticky. Some awards are voted on by a panel of experts, some by the general public, and still others by some combination of both. What they all have in common though is that it doesn’t matter if it’s Time’s Person, The Academy’s Best Picture, or even Motor Trend’s Car, none of these awards ever make public how they came about their result. And if it is out there, I’ve never seen it.
This is something I take issue with. If you’re going to give an award and proclaim something greater than its peers, you should be able to back it up with the proof of how you came to this decision and it should be available to be viewed by anyone who’s curious enough to want to know. I’m sure there are good reasons for organizations to keep this information close to the chest, but I’m having a hard time coming up with them. If there was a vote, tell us how many were cast and for what. If it were decided upon by a panel of experts give us an explanation of how the result was arrived upon. And if it was a competition, show us the full finishing order, not just the top finisher.
It’s my opinion that a certain level of transparency builds credibility, and that is how I have chosen to run our Pickup Truck of the Year test. Each judge on our test is issued a scoring book at the beginning of the test. It’s an old-school method that employs simple pen and paper. Within the books our judges find a section for each vehicle that is competing, and each section has pages for six of the scored categories (only the master book contains the empirical category scoring). On these pages are the subcategories on which the vehicles are scored, on a scale from 1 to 10. Once complete, the scores from all of the judges are added up, weighted, and normalized. This produces our winner.
Now I have no doubt that other organizations follow a similar procedure, but where we differ is we’re not afraid to share the full results. If you click here (2016 Pickup Truck of the Year Scoring), you’ll find the finishing order for our 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year, along with the full list of how all of the vehicles scored in each of the seven categories, plus an overall total. And for our keen observers, you’ll also notice that our story order is not by chance but listed by finishing position. I challenge everyone else that gives an award to do the same.
I’m not saying we’re better than anyone else or that we’re immune from the same skepticisms, but I feel a lot better knowing that our readers have a full view of what went into the decision when naming our Pickup Truck of the Year. I’m always open to further questions and suggestions on how we can improve. So if you want to know more or think you have a way that we can improve, don’t hesitate to drop me a note!
jgonderman@trucktrend.com
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