Meet the Media: Jordyn Grzelewski, Autos & Business Reporter at The Detroit News

I’m an autos and business reporter for The Detroit News. I focus on Ford Motor Co. as part of our coverage of the Detroit Three, but I also cover the automotive industry as a whole and a range of other business-related topics. Other topics I have dabbled in recently include real estate and Michigan’s casino/gaming industry.

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

We are very much focused on the future of the auto industry, and how trends such as electrification and autonomous driving will reshape the industry. The industry is undergoing one of its most significant evolutions in history, so we are producing lots of coverage about what that means in terms of new vehicles, investments, and profits, but also how this transition stands to affect consumers as well as the workers and communities that power the industry.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

It’s always fun to cover an event that you know won’t come around every day. Some of the most fun I’ve had as a reporter has involved traveling to Washington, D.C. with a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage, spending a week in Taiwan with a group of journalists from around the world for a feature story, and covering two presidential visits to auto plants in Michigan in the last year. 

What story or stories are you most proud of?

Several months after I left my job at my hometown newspaper, The Vindicator, I got some texts from friends who still worked there with some ominous-sounding news. At the end of a Friday in June 2019 the staff was informed that the paper would be closing after 150 years in business. I went on to write a breaking news story for the paper I was working for at the time, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, for which I had to call my friends and former coworkers to interview them. I later went home to report out a story about the end of The Vindicator. I wouldn’t describe this as a “fun” story, but it was heartbreaking, somewhat surreal and deeply meaningful to me to cover the story of my hometown newspaper, an institution that meant so much to the local community and gave me my start in journalism.

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

Timeliness and relevance to our readership are always top of mind. I’m try to ask myself what unique value a story I’m working on might bring to our readers.

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

This month, June, marks seven years working full-time for local newspapers. I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 2014 and started my career at The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio – my hometown newspaper that is sadly now defunct. I worked there for about 4.5 years covering local communities and later business. From there I moved on to The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, where I covered real estate. I joined The Detroit News in April 2020.

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

Reading a book, catching up on television shows, cooking, keeping up to date on the news, going for long walks, hanging out with my cats, or exploring the sights of Detroit.

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

Pitches that are narrowly tailored to an individual product, company or person generally aren’t newsworthy, with some exceptions of course. But generally we are looking at the bigger picture, so pitches that focus on an overall trend or contain an element that makes it timely or relevant to our local readership have a better shot at getting my attention.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

This doesn’t happen very often, but one pet peeve is when PR people quibble about aspects of stories that don’t have to do with the facts. For example, complaining about a headline that they dislike even if it’s correct. I’ve had PR people send me versions of stories after they’ve published with edits they would like me to make. Though if I get something wrong in terms of the facts or the framing or context, I always want to know so I can fix the mistake and do better next time. 

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, some fact about you that few people know, etc.)

I grew up in the Youngstown, Ohio area and most of my family is in northeast Ohio. I live in Midtown with my significant other and our two cats. 

I recently was elected to serve as the secretary of the News Guild of Detroit, and I’m excited to dive deeper into that role.

Something that often trips people up (understandably) is my long, Polish last name: it’s pronounced Grizz-less-key. Yes, there is a silent ‘W.’

I take an annual trip with my best friends from childhood as a way to stay connected with each other. Since we started, we’ve never missed a trip and have gone to Japan, Italy, Costa Rica, England, northern Michigan, and Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Our goal is to make it a lifelong tradition.

You can find Jordyn on Twitter at: @JGrzelewski

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