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Ben Klayman is the Reuters Detroit bureau chief. He writes about the U.S. auto industry and helps organize coverage of autos in the Americas.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
It’s all about Trump, trade, technology, Tesla and corporate restructuring lately.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
Well, earlier in my career, I wrote a story about a La-Z-Boy chair that, as I recall, had a mini-fridge in it for beer and other features. That was the only time a trader on the stock exchange floor called me to talk about my story because he loved the chair so much.
What story or stories are you most proud of?
Stories that I have played a part in going back to my last time covering autos when we broke news on the GM switch recall widening to include parts in the replacement parts market and our coverage of the Takata airbag recall that got cited in US Congressional documents
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
The best stories have a built-in tension or conflict of some sort. Something counter-intuitive or not disclosed yet.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I began reporting after I graduated in Fall 1989, when I got a job as a sports reporter at a tiny weekly paper in Ocean City, Maryland.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …
…hanging with my two kids, driving them to their events or helping them do the things they want to do.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Think broadly and think “Why should anyone care about this story idea I am pitching?” You should be answering that in your pitch.
Any pet peeves with PR people?
Two big ones. A contact is listed who is on vacation. That is a no-no. And two, pitching the same idea to multiple people separately inside the same news organization. Nothing irks a reporter like time wasting. If you want to hit a bunch of us, do it in one email. Don’t play the “Well he turned me down so I will go to his co-worker” game.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
I grew up in Washington, DC (yes, inside the Beltway) and attended school in St. Louis, Missouri. I love to cook in my free time and love to eat at great BBQ places (of which there are yet to be any I have found in Michigan). I spent my 40th birthday eating at one BBQ place after another in Memphis, Tennessee. I have a wife of almost 20 years and two teen-aged children, one of whom plans to work on Broadway one day so everything is geared toward that goal.
You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benklayman.
Check out some of Ben’s latest stories: