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Dave Leggett is the editor of automotive industry news and analysis site, just-auto.com.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
There is always plenty going on in the auto industry, but there has been an explosion of interest in CASE (Connectivity, Autonomous, Sharing, Electric) developments and trends over the past year or so.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
I visited the Tehran Motor Show in June 2003. It was fascinating to see some of the cars they have developed, shaped by their need to be self-reliant. A Peugeot 405 body strapped on to Hillman Hunter (‘Paykan’) running gear? Creative work was very evident, IP lines perhaps slightly blurred at times. And there was another lesson – car people are car people, wherever you go in the world. People were very friendly and I can also vouch for the workers’ canteen at Iran Khodra – it serves up a great lunch (kebabs, rice, salad, coke – own brand!). A slightly surreal day was topped off by a briefing in the bar at the British Embassy. Let’s just say a few gin and tonics were downed.
What story or stories are you most proud of?
I get a buzz interviewing top executives and – hopefully – capturing the essence of what they are about and how they are attempting to drive their companies forward. A long interview with Alan Mulally in his Dearborn office and another with Bob Lutz stand out. Mulally was bursting with energy and enthusiasm, a real whirlwind. Lutz was the consummate engineer and a deeper thinker than I think many people realize – his media soundbites are just one side to him. He was also hugely entertaining and there was an honesty about him. Real deal.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
It depends on the nature of the story. We are an industry publication, so it’s vital to understand what our core readers need to know. Whether it is news or what the news means, the starting point is to consider what is relevant to our readership.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I have been in it for over twenty years. I started as an analyst with a company that is now called IHS and I specialized in forecasting markets, manufacturer performances, model volumes, production levels and so on. That segued into more writing and eventually I got a job that combined the two. Eventually I started to specialist in writing and online content generation.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …
Reading. There is so much to read to keep up with what’s going on in the world.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Please have a look at the site and think for 30 seconds about what kind of content we are looking for. That way, you maybe don’t waste your time or mine.
Any pet peeves with PR people?
I get that you have to believe in the brand and products you represent, of course. However, press releases that are excessively flowery in style (certain German OEMs spring to mind) or littered with hyperbole are less likely to make it through to publication if we are in a hurry. Worth bearing in mind.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
I have two grown up kids. My wife is a teacher. When there is time, we like to go hiking and cycle. I occasionally run half-marathons.