Meet the Media: Doug Newcomb, Freelance Automotive Journalist  

I’m the founder and president of my own company, Newcomm LLC, which provides automotive technology content, consulting and conference-programming services. I currently write for Automobile magazine, Autoblog, Popular Mechanics, TrueCar,, WardsAuto, SAE Engineering and others. I also work with clients on conference programming and event strategy. Name an automotive outlet and I’ve probably written for them at some point, and I’ve also contributed stories or have been a writer for Wired, Forbes, Rolling Stone and other major outlets.

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

Anything to do with car technology and at the moment I’m focusing on subjects such as software-defined vehicles, autonomy, electronic architectures, EVs and issues surrounding them, such as charging, ownership, policy and infrastructure. I also review new vehicles.  

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

Probably a feature for Corvette Quarterly in 2004, when I profiled racecar driver Leilani Munter and her high-school friend. The premise of the story was Leilani left a stable career in Hollywood as a stunt double (she could pass for a twin of Catherine Zeta-Jones) to pursue racing, while her friend was a successful mortgage broker who took a more financially secure path. They were reunited for a “Thelma and Louise” weekend in Las Vegas, and I tagged along to document it as they raced Corvettes at a local track, rode a mechanical bull at a bar on the Strip and went sand boarding at Dumont Dunes outside Vegas. Fun assignment! I’ve also been fortunate to interview a lot of celebrities – Carrie Fisher, Tony Hawk, Mick Fleetwood, Billy Gibbons, Nikki Sixx and more – which was always fun.

What story or stories are you most proud of?

An early piece on autonomous vehicles I did for Wired that was picked up by CNN and got millions of views. The title was: By 2030 You Won’t Need a Driver’s License. But I’m proud of any story that helps people learn and understand the topic I’m writing about or is if helps a consumer make a better purchase.

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

If it’s something that makes me curious, excited or dubious then I know it’s likely a good story.

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

I started writing for my college newspaper and freelancing in 1984 and got my first full-time editorial job in 1988 right out of college, as editor for Installation News (now Mobile Electronics) at Bobit Publishing.

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

… usually in the water, surfing or kiteboarding. If I’m not in the water or near it, I’m usually driving, reading, relaxing and spending time with friends. Work life balance is essential to keep doing what I’m doing.

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

Know what I’m covering and have covered. Help me do my job and be specific.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

Blind pitches on a subject I don’t cover.

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

I have two kids, a 24-year-old daughter who is studying opera and is now in grad school, and a 21-year-old son who just moved to Austin, TX to go to school and pursue a career in the music industry. I love the water and surfing and kiteboarding are my two passions. I’m also really into music and got my start in journalism as a music journalist, something I did as a sideline for 25 years. I was born in the Mississippi Delta and grew up in South Louisiana … two areas known for their rich musical heritages and where I attribute my love of music. I also grew up wrenching on cars and going to junkyards for parts.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?

I feel my career and the subject I cover just keep getting more and more interesting. I love what I do, I’m glad I have the opportunity to do it and feel fortunate to have a ringside seat to the massive changes going on in the auto industry.

You can follow Doug on Twitter at: @dougnewcomb

Check out some of Doug’s recent articles:

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