Without revealing any secrets, can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
It is pretty simple. Imagine you finish a book late and night and realize it is the first in a two-part series. You get to work the next day, order it online and it is at your door step when you get home. We want to tell the story of everything that makes that happen.
That includes over-the-road trucking, local delivery, potentially drones, automated vehicles, etc. And then we cover all the environmental, regulatory and safety issues that go with that. Our goal is to become a “Wired” for trucking and transport industries.
That’s why we cover a broad range of topics and have published stories on UPS looking at drones to deliver medical supplies to remote areas, California’s massive regulation of truck emissions, congestion at the nation’s ports, labor issues in long haul trucking and the development of self-driving trucks.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
Now that I am an editor I think about great assignments my writers can produce. Ideally, it will be written in an easy to understand, but still and interesting and engaging, style. It has to have some tech component. Tech rules everything today. It should tie together several developments and be supported by data so that it has depth and context. It must show people how some trend is going to change commerce or how they live their lives. And it needs to have some really great voices in it – a human element. Hopefully the first draft won’t need a ton of editing.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you’ve written.
While at the Los Angeles Times I wrote an investigative piece on how Elon Musk uses government programs such as tax breaks, consumer incentives and subsidies to build Tesla and his other companies. He is still mad at me about that. Something like 2 million people have read the story.
What is your top pet peeve with PR people?
They use a shotgun rather than a laser. They assume every news organization operates the same way and has the same interests. They shoot a news release to 1,000 people and get some newbie to follow up with calls. But the person is just going through the motions to rack up billable hours for the agency and does no research about the writer they are calling. Ideally PR people would learn to focus. Find out about the person you are pitching. Look to make sure the topic is even something that person would write about. Use Google to research bylines. Be targeted! I have lost count of the times I have been pitched stories I have already written. On occasion, PR people have used one of my stories to pitch me the same story, not realizing I wrote it in the first place.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, favorites, background, etc.)
I am a third generation Angeleno and spent most of my career in print newspapers before leaving to launch the all-digital Trucks.com. I am married to my college sweetheart Jennifer and we have three adult children, each living in a different time zone. I am an avid cyclist. We love taking our two dogs to the beach.
Finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that… I worked off all my science credits in college taking classes in wine making and grape growing.
You can follow Jerry on Twitter at @jerryhirsch