Meet the Media: Alex Keenan, Associate Editor of Fleet Maintenance

I am an associate editor and I primarily work with Fleet Maintenance Magazine and Trailer-Body Builders Magazine, and I also occasionally contribute to FleetOwner magazine. In my role, I help populate our websites with original content as well as pertinent press releases, and write feature stories for print and the web. I also assist in copyediting our magazines and with event coverage depending on availability. Our outlets primarily cover fleet maintenance and management, including tools, technology, repair shop management, and technician training, as well as manufacturer trends, and government policies regarding the transportation industry.

Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?

 Like most of us, I’m watching the emissions regulations news coming from Washington, though I’ve also been paying attention to safety regulations and upcoming technology surrounding automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems and speed limiters. I tend to cover technician-related stories surrounding training, recruitment, and retainment, and the overall technician shortage, too.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have worked on.

 It’s not exactly crazy, but I love working on any story that really lets me get to know someone. In the past year, I worked on two profiles, one on a local shop owner in Wyoming and another on a president of a vocational school. Both of those allowed me to learn about the lives of these two different men, one of whom started out repairing trucks at rodeos and the other began his working life as an honest-to-goodness cowboy. I might not be a cowgirl, but I like hearing about them!

What story or stories are you most proud of?

 I’m most proud of those two profiles I mentioned above, as well as a story I did comparing the payoff between technical schools and two- or four-year colleges. I’ve also worked on a couple pieces surrounding heavy truck crashes that I’m proud of.

What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story, and why?

When it comes to stories, I look for two elements: Engaging personal stories that I would want to read about, or instructional technical aspects that I know would be pertinent and helpful to our audience, whether that’s discussing how to set up an apprenticeship program or the finer details of slack adjuster maintenance.

How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?

 I’ve been in journalism for almost two years. My original education was in English Literature, and my education in journalism has been purely on-the-job training from my present role. It’s been a very educational experience, to say the least!

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am … Reading, playing boardgames, or chasing down my cat.

What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?

 I would advise that they offer pitches that they truly think will interest our audience or will teach them something. Personal stories can work well too; if you have a subject matter expert working on your team, don’t be afraid to tap them.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

 I find it a bit frustrating when I get pitches that are basically the same, but with a few words changed around. Especially when we’ve recently covered a similar topic.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)

 I currently live with a roommate, who works for the same umbrella company that I do, and my cat, Merlin. He’s not very smart, but he’s pretty, so he gets a pass there. Most of my family and friends live in Colorado, which is helpful because that means they can usually attend our annual murder-mystery parties for Halloween (we’ve had one every year since 2017, not counting 2020). I’ve got a passion for swords and the people who wield them, and I also love baking. Life’s always better with chocolate treats around.

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