Kristen Strakalaitis is the morning host of First Shift at Automotive News.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
I would say the stories that have been on our radar lately consist of new technology and software that is being installed in vehicles as well as anything to do with electric or autonomous vehicles.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
The craziest/most fun story I did was when I got to try milking goats for the first time.
It was a bit challenging rounding them up since they are stubborn animals.
However, it was a fun experience getting to learn how to milk them!
What story or stories are you most proud of?
Back when I was working at WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky as an Associate Producer I did a story on how sometimes people qualified for a job get looked over because of their age.
The reason why I am proud of that story is because at the time I only had an old broken iPhone and a $10 microphone to shoot it with.
But I did with the intent of using it for my demo tape to submit to other news stations to try and get an on-air job.
I tried making up for the poor camera quality by getting creative with my shots. Which ended up being a success since it helped me land my morning/midday anchor gig in San Angelo, Texas.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
When looking for a good story I try to make sure it’s something that would be relevant for our viewers which consist of automakers, suppliers, dealers, and dealerships all over the world.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I have been in journalism since I graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2018.
I started out as an associate producer at WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky.
Even though I wanted an on-air job right out of college I am thankful to have had that position because it helped me get a better understanding and respect for the industry.
I also met people there who helped me improve my on-air presence and writing skills which prepared me for my first on air job as a morning/midday anchor in San Angelo, Texas.
After two years in Texas I moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania for a morning anchor/producer position.
Then about six months later I moved to Detroit, Michigan to host First Shift.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …outside!
This industry has given me the opportunity to live in different parts of the country and I love getting to explore each state with my dogs and meet new people!
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Make sure the story is a current topic and is a story that will relate to our viewers.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, some fact about you that few people know, etc.)
I enjoy making music with my sibling’s. I write, my sister produces the beat, and my brother raps.
Since they both live in Chicago it’s something that keeps us all connected despite the distance between us.
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