Meet the Media: Patrick George, Freelance Reporter & Editor

These days, I’m a freelance reporter, editor and consultant. My work has appeared in a lot of places, namely The VergeHeatmap News, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, Road & Track and a few others. I also part-time edit at The Autopian with some former Jalopnik comrades.

I also consult on audience and editorial strategies for a few startup publications in the tech and automotive spaces. (If you know anyone looking to build something new, send them my way!)

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

I’m interested in the zero-emission, digital transformation of the automotive industry and the future of how we get around. That includes electric vehicles, autonomous tech, new fuel sources and what the next few years mean for people who love to drive—or just need to get around somehow. 

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

Years ago at Jalopnik I started looking into a company that purported to sell “perfect” replica supercars on the cheap. It turned out the guy behind it was, allegedly, a kind of cult leader and accused sexual abuser. I started my career as a crime reporter and put those skills to use in that story. It’s been about a decade, but that one still tops the “crazy” charts for me. 

What story or stories are you most proud of?

I remain most proud of the stories I wrote or edited that uncovered something new, or had a real, palpable impact on people’s lives. Years ago I tracked down a racing driver who spent most of his adult life in prison, without parole, for smuggling marijuana in the 1980s—that was a fascinating story and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. Also at Jalopnik, I oversaw a series of stories that led to the recall of a major motorhome tire after its manufacturer hid defects and lawsuits for years. I like being able to help people with my work, as well as inform them. 

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

I try to focus on stories and angles that are aimed directly at ordinary consumers (or car enthusiasts.) No offense to those in that arena, but I think we have an overabundance of journalism aimed at investors or B2B audiences; I don’t think we have enough for the people who aren’t ready for all the changes coming their way soon, like EV charging or subscription features. 

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

I’ve been in this business almost 20 years now, and worked for my college, high school and junior high newspapers before that. (I’ve kind of always been doing this!) I was a Metro Desk reporter at the Austin American-Statesman in Texas for several years before I made the jump to automotive writing. I’ve done a few things outside that in recent years, but all the stories in the changing world of cars keep me coming back.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am … Probably thinking about stories I’m reporting, or want to report next. 

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

I get a lot of “Write about this startup!” requests and unfortunately I ignore most of them. A great PR pitch needs to tell me why I care so I can help tell readers why they care, too. Just existing, or doing a thing, isn’t enough to get news coverage anymore—especially in the current era of digital media audience declines and ever-tightening budgets. To my point above: a pitch really has to drive home why this thing matters to people.  

Any pet peeves with PR people?

Probably just the above, or shotgun-email PR pitches that have nothing to do with me or the outlets I write for. (Do those even work? They can’t, right?) 

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

I’ve lived in New York with my wife and our dog for about six years now; both of us are Texas natives who can’t say we miss the heat! When I’m not working, which feels rare, I like reading, working out, trying new bars and restaurants and traveling abroad with my wife. We have a long bucket list of places to see and hope to hit them all someday. 

Is there anything we’ve missed that you’d like to share with our audience?

Not really! Thanks for hearing me out! 

You can follow Patrick on Twitter at: @bypatrickgeorge

Check out some of Patrick’s articles below. To view more of is work, visit The Highbeam on Substack.

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