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Hello fellow newsletter editors,

 

I am hoping you can help me. I would like to feature a car from our club each month, but need to come up with a standard questionnaire of what to ask the member (i.e. to get the story behind the car). I am drawing a blank at all the questions I should be asking. What do you ask your members to tell you about their cars?? What would you add to this? I want to make these stories interesting and drum up member participation and excitement!

 

Thanks in advance! ~Lisa

 

So far I have:

  • ·       How did you find this car?

  • ·       Why this car?

  • ·       What have you done to the car?

  • ·       Any future plans for the car?

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Although these are posted on our club's website most of them have also appeared in our newsletter. I'm not sure this will help as we, the newsletter editor or myself, don't ask any questions.  We just let them tell us whatever they want to say about their car. Here are some examples - Car Stories - https://aacasouthflorida.club/members-cars-2/car-stories/

Bob
Webmaster
https://aacasouthflorida.club/

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lisa, sometimes I have gotten good articles already

prepared by members.  Since our members have

interesting experiences but aren't professional writers,

the articles have almost always needed editing in order

to maintain a professional quality.  I have tried for articles

of substance, so any article, including 3 or 4 pictures,

is at least 2 pages long, and I've sometimes asked people

to give more detail about certain aspects.

 

I've done a few interviews, too, regarding members' cars,

and that's really what you want to know here.  The most

interesting stories are from people who have owned a car

since it was new or nearly new--who used it as regular

transportation.  (They may or may not still own it.)  Because

they have driven the car for tens of thousands of miles

in all sorts of conditions, they know the model far better

than any current collector ever could.  I called such articles

"Firsthand Accounts of Ownership."   Those articles document

a piece of history for posterity.  For such interviews, here

are some questions I have asked:

 

---What was the dealership?  What was it like?  Describe

the car-shopping experience that led you up to that purchase.

What other models did you consider?  (The idea is to paint

a verbal picture, so the reader can relive those days of long ago.)

 

---Why did you choose that particular model?  Why did you

choose that particular color, and the options you did?

Were there any available features that you would have

liked but did not get?

 

---Who in the family used the car?  For what purposes?

Did you go on any special trips in the car, or make any special

memories with it?  Did your friends and neighbors come 

over to see the new purchase?

 

---Was the car reliable?  What strengths or weaknesses did it

have?  For how many years (and miles) did you own the car?

Describe any significant repairs, or tell the stories about any breakdowns.

 

---Why did you decide to trade it in (or not trade it in)?

Why did you get a different make or model the next time (if that's

the case)?

 

The goal is to get MANY, many details so the reader is

almost taken back to those days of yore.  When writing the article,

you might even call back the car owner for additional details.

I even asked what the weather was like on the day of purchase,

to complete the picture!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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By the way, from experience I have found that

people respond much better if you ASK the questions

verbally, rather than have written questions to which

people write back.  People are much more glib when talking

than when writing, so you will get more detail with an oral

interview, by phone or in person.  I've always recorded

my interviews with the interviewee's permission so that

every fact is retained, and often use quotations as well.

 

With an oral interview, I always have the questions

prepared in advance, but often one answer will take the

interview for a while in a new direction.  You may get

interesting facts you weren't even expecting.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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  • 8 months later...

Lisa, I have been Editor of the Steering Wheel for just over two years. I feature a member's car on the cover of each edition. Although I think your idea is great I've found that most owners know what's interesting about their car: history, equipment, rare features, etc. I ask them to write an article for me with the understanding that I have editorial privilege. It's amazing how well they do. If they leave me short I then ask specific questions. I also Google their car and get more details if I need them. Keeping in mind copyrighted material. 

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