Please provide your job title and media outlet(s), as well as a brief description of your duties:
I’m the editor of Automotive News TV (ANTV) and anchor of our afternoon newscast – AutoNews Now – at Automotive News in Detroit. I manage four extraordinarily talented employees and oversee the production of 11 newscasts each week and more than 30 special reports each year focused on auto manufacturers, retailers and suppliers. Each member of the ANTV team is a one-person band. That means we shoot, write, edit, host and upload our stories to autonews.com. So you’ll often see me carrying a tripod, microphone and camera in the field – it’s a part of the job I love.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
Our newscasts are filled with numerous stories – from new products to company earnings and even executive birthdays. We continue to cover the significant investments automakers and suppliers are making in the areas of electrified and autonomous vehicles. We are watching trade and environmental developments out of Washington, D.C. And we are monitoring how manufacturers and U.S. retailers are adapting to slowing new-vehicle sales.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
Auto executives often hold impromptu press conferences on the sidelines of industry events. But nothing has ever come close to matching the frenzied scrums with Mary Barra after she was named CEO of General Motors. Dozens of print, radio and TV journalists swarmed Barra at events in Detroit and New York. At one point in New York, I could feel at least a half-dozen unintentional elbows/cameras poking my upper body as we yelled out questions to the new CEO. I believe one reporter may have lost a nice pair of eyeglasses in the chaos …
What story or stories are you most proud of?
I am quite fond of our dealership ‘Best Practices’ series. We have the unique opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to speak with retailers and learn how they are improving operations from the showroom to the oil-change bay. The leading-edge efforts often boost employee and customer satisfaction. The segments can also inspire other dealers to implement similar programs in their stores.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
We’re always on the lookout for numbers and great visuals. We’re often told a product or process has helped boost sales or efficiency within an organization. We’d not only like to know how, but by how much. Meanwhile, it is very important for us to show the product or process through still images, video and on-camera interviews. The combination of data and B-roll can make for a very compelling story.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I was fortunate enough to start reporting at WWTV/WWUP-TV 9&10 News – the CBS affiliate based in Cadillac, Mich. – while I was a senior at Central Michigan University in 1993. I would commute from CMU’s campus in Mt. Pleasant to Cadillac on weekends. I still cherish my time at 9&10 News, as the position allowed me to dial in my one-person band skills on various assignments across Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The experience at 9&10 News provided me the opportunity to eventually report and anchor in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek market for several years. I then managed corporate communications and media relations at a healthcare system in suburban Detroit before joining Automotive News parent Crain Communications Inc. in 2007. We’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of AutoNews Now in November.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …
Exploring the scenic lakes and trails throughout northern Michigan.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
Please have an executive available for a phone or on-camera interview. Ideally, we’d like to film the product or process. However, if that is not possible, please send high-resolution still images or high-definition B-roll with natural sound. Several steady wide, medium and tight shots are ideal – please avoid lots of pans and zooms.
Any pet peeves with PR people?
Not really. I used to be one. I would only ask that you be patient as I run the story idea up our editorial flagpole.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
If I’m not spending time on the water, I am usually in it — swimming or snorkeling. I also serve on two broadcasting boards at Central Michigan University and truly enjoy mentoring the next generation of journalists.
You can follow Automotive News TV at @autonewstv and you can check out some of Tom’s latest work here: