Meet the Media: Mike Millikin, Founder & Editor at Green Car Congress

I’m the founder and editor of Green Car Congress (est. 2004!…can’t believe it has been that long). I do everything, except manage the servers; that’s outsourced to  a hosting company. But all the warts, from typos to malfunctioning html design, to errors … those belong to me.

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

Because GCC’s editorial remit is broad (“green”), everything covered has to do with the technology, policy, regulatory and business changes roiling the automotive industry–the major large fast movers on the radar screen.  We try to skew to the technical, so stories about battery chemistries, alloys, fuel chemistries, new motors, engines, combustion schemes, etc. are always hot. I am particularly interested in tracking lifecycle analysis, and deliberate prime mover/fuel developments — such as the DOE’s Co-Optima initiative.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

The most fun story was a visit to the ArcelorMittal steel works in East Chicago, Indiana, because when I was paying for graduate school many years ago, I worked there when it was Inland Steel (in 4BOF, one of the steel-making facilities). So it was a blast donning hard hat and going back in to see what was still there and what had changed. (A lot and a lot, respectively.)

What story or stories are you most proud of?

Stories in which I make a complicated technical issue accessible, and when the researchers or engineers involved say “Good job.”

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

I look for hard developments and/or data.

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

35 years, although with a big gap in the middle. I started with a graduate degree from Medill as a writer for a start-up business newspaper in Philadelphia. From there I found my way into covering the information technology marketplace and networking…including this then new thing called the Internet. That pulled me out of direct journalism for about 10 years, until I came back with Green Car Congress and automotive.

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

Training in martial arts.

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

Please make sure the story is a fit for the site’s focus and approach.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

In general, I appreciate the PR teams, as we share some of the same objectives. However, immediate turn-offs for me–aside from clearly not ever having taken a look at the site–are bad grammar and syntax, typos, and an over-reliance on “revolutionary”, “first-ever”, “game-changing”, “industry-leading”, “industry leader”, “state-of-the-art”, etc. Please. Give it a rest. The thing will speak for itself.

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

My main non-work interest (after family) is martial arts. I’m a second-degree black belt in Hawaiian Shaolin Kempo, and am working with a Filipino martial arts master in addition to continuing with my education on the kempo side.

You can follow Green Car Congress and Mike on Twitter at: @GreenCarCongres and @mmillikin

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