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Please provide your job title and media outlet(s), as well as a brief description of your duties:
I’m assistant web editor and social media coordinator at Automotive News. I edit and publish breaking news on autonews.com and manage editorial content on our social media properties. I edit stories written by our staff and comb the wires for stories relevant to our readers. My goal is to keep autonews.com updated and fresh with everything you need to know about the industry on a daily basis.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
There’s quite a lot to watch right now! Obviously, we’re keeping a close eye on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting automotive production, the supply chain and consumer demand. Meanwhile, there have been some very interesting developments and partnerships in the mobility space recently. Electric vehicles, batteries and driver-assist technologies keep evolving. There’s also a merger in the works with Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group and it’ll be interesting to see the ripple effects from that. And, of course, the Carlos Ghosn saga continues.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
In terms of pure fun, I have very fond memories of a series we did at Crain’s Detroit Business called American Dreamers. All the reporters wrote several feature stories about immigrants on our respective beats who came to this country and built a business or a career. I met so many amazing people with such interesting life stories, they were just a joy to write. The section was masterfully edited and managed by Dave Guilford and I was very proud to have been a part of that.
What story or stories are you most proud of?
I was covering auto suppliers for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal at the time when Delphi, then the world’s largest auto supplier, was in bankruptcy. They filed a massive reorganization plan that included huge job cuts and plant closures and filed motions to void labor contracts with unions and void billions in supply contracts with GM, its biggest customer. This was 2006 and it really was a shot across the bow for the industry, a sign of things to come. Working with another reporter it was my first front-page story for the Journal and going through that process – they had a specific editing system for front-page stories – was an incredible learning experience. And they sent me the printing plate, which was a thing they did then for your first Page 1 story. It’s still hanging up in my house.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
I always like a good, snappy lead that also provides some important context for the reader. A good story also has a “why we care” paragraph up high. Things don’t happen in a vacuum. There’s a backdrop and a reason for the actions companies and people take. I like when those elements are nicely woven into a story along with the news.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I’ve been in journalism or communications for nearly 30 years. I started at my high school newspaper and also did a lot at my college paper. Professionally, I started an internship at the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens, Mich., in 1992. It was pretty much the perfect place for a young journalist – a daily paper but medium-sized, so interns got to write plenty of newsy stories. I tried to make the most of it and was hired full-time in 1994.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …
Probably spending time with my family or friends, listening to music or binge-watching something. Pre-pandemic I attended a lot of sporting events.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Just make sure what you’re proposing is news and relevant to the publication. And keep in mind that while we might not write about your client now, we might later or we might want to reach out to them to comment on something as a third-party expert. If you have a client willing to provide analysis, that’s pretty valuable to a journalist.
Any pet peeves with PR people? (Other than not asking you to participate in MTM sooner?)
Not really. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Before I started at Automotive News I was in public relations-type roles at the University of Michigan, so I know the challenges of the business.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
I live with my wife and two teenage sons. I’m originally from Downriver but I live in Oakland County now. I’m very interested in music and worked my way through college in nightclubs. I got to see some incredible shows and meet artists and got paid to do it! I enjoy different types of food, cooking, and finding new restaurants. I also enjoy sports, especially hockey and college football. We love to travel abroad, but that’s been hard lately due to the pandemic. We’re planning our next big trip while we wait.