Without revealing any secrets, can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
I’m in the enviable position of being able to write about whatever catches my eye and seems to need further exploration. I’m managing a small team of reporters and writing, so I don’t write every week. Primarily I’m interested in the implications of new technology on the industry, the evolving nature of safety issues, and data-driven pieces. I’m a NACTOY juror so I’m in and out of cars a lot, and I keep an eye out for new industry wide trends that affect consumers.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
I like following my gut and digging into databases, analyzing newsy stories and sometimes I really love stories that take me on the road. One of my favorite journalism memories was getting to cover Rosa Parks’ funeral in Detroit for USA Today.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you’ve written.
The kind of stuff I get excited about is really, really nerdy. Like the time I interpreted a cryptic SEC filing and broke news from it that other people had overlooked. Or the time I dove into an anonymized government database and tracked down the people who were behind the database entries. I love that stuff. I have a lot of fun when I get out of the office, and look fondly upon times when I get to go offroading and call it “work”, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of the nerdier stories.
What is your top pet peeve with PR people?
Blasting email pitches to people who don’t cover your industry or company, and then following up several times to see if you got the emails. Reporters are inundated with emails, so if you hear crickets after sending a press release or invitation, it’s probably a no. If the crickets get louder after you’ve emailed to check in again, a third or fourth try isn’t going to help the situation.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, favorites, background, etc.)
I live in Dexter with my husband and our three children, one of whom is learning to drive which is terrifying. My husband and I are originally from the East Coast and came out here in 2002 for his job, when he became sports columnist for the Ann Arbor News. Even though he’s left journalism and is now an attorney for the Department of Justice, a lot of people still know me as “Jim Carty’s wife.” Especially around Ann Arbor. Don’t tell him, but I secretly like that sometimes. With emphasis on the “sometimes.”
Finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that I came very close to becoming a counter-intelligence agent for the FBI.
Follow Sharon on Twitter at: @sharoncarty