Meet the Media: Cristina Commendatore, Editor in Chief of FleetOwner

I’m the editor in chief of FleetOwner magazine and FleetOwner, part of Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle Group, which serves commercial truck fleet executives and operations managers. As chief editor, I lead all FleetOwner’s content planning efforts for both print and digital.

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

Right now, inflationary pressures and their impact on truck freight volumes are top of mind across the board. We continue to run a lot of stories on how constrained supply chains, record-high fuel costs, and labor shortages are impacting trucking companies.  

Also on our radar these days is anything related to electric trucks, charging infrastructure, and fleets’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel economy.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

I covered Hurricane Sandy in Connecticut in 2012. That was my first experience really using social media and the publication’s website to break news and keep residents in the community informed. My editor and I at the time (who, incidentally, works with me as FleetOwner’s executive editor) collaborated a lot—and slept very little—through that storm. Our newspaper ended up winning an award for our reporting.

In my role today, the most fun stories I get to write come from test-driving trucks. It’s great to see how safety technologies and creature comforts have evolved in the vehicles that we ultimately rely on to bring us our goods. In addition, any story that we can promote the hardworking men and women in the trucking industry and the critical work they do is incredibly gratifying. 

What story or stories are you most proud of?

Personally, I am most proud of our Women in Transportation series at FleetOwner. I enjoy exploring how women’s roles across trucking have evolved and how women are continuing to persevere in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We plan on turning this series into a podcast in 2023, and that is something I am really excited about.

At the end of the day, we have a dedicated and talented team of editors at FleetOwner and in our company’s Commercial Vehicle Group. I am in constant awe of the stories these folks produce. Just this year, FleetOwner won a Jesse H. Neal Award for our December 2021 issue of Trucking by the Numbers. Our Commercial Vehicle Group also won editorial excellence awards for investigative journalism, a technology article on hydrogen trucks, and editorial use of data.

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

Anything that gives our readers the information they need to better perform their jobs is the top priority. Regulations and how they impact truck fleet operations is a biggie for us.

In any industry, particularly in trucking, people matter most. For our enterprise and feature stories, we always aim to incorporate the human element as well.

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

I got my start in journalism in 2008, working for a weekly newspaper in Connecticut called The Middlebury Bee-Intelligencer. I covered everything from town politics, police, fire, education, town budgets, and local happenings in the community. During that time, I attended journalism school, then worked for community newspapers and websites covering local news in Fairfield County, Connecticut (the New York City area), before starting my first job in B2B journalism at FleetOwner in 2015.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …

Cooking. I love getting creative in the kitchen and entertaining for family and friends. I also love hiking, reading (Stephen King is my guilty pleasure), traveling with my husband and friends, and playing ball and going for walks with my sweet dog Mia.

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

Stick to the keep-it-simple principle. Editors are busy and flooded with emails and PR pitches all the time. Anything too longwinded will get lost in the shuffle.  

And, please, keep it relevant and know who you are pitching to.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

I’ll reiterate relevancy here. I get too many emails from PR people that have nothing to do with our market. Also, not checking our website first to see if a press release was posted before sending an email follow-up. And putting “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” in a subject line tells us nothing; we’ll likely just discard that email if we don’t recognize the name.

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

I’ve got the best family and friends on the planet (that is not an overstatement). Most of my hobbies and interests involve spending time with the incredible people in my life.

You can follow Cristina on social media here:

Follow FleetOwner on Twitter here: @fleetowner

Be sure to check out some of Cristina’s recent articles:         

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