I couldn’t agree more with B.C. Trucking Association president and CEO Dave Earle’s declaration that the trucking industry has to do a better job telling its good-news stories.
Having worked in this industry for nearly four years, for several years in newspapers prior, I have a lot of experience with those who shy away from talking to the media.
When you work as a journalist, there is a certain level of skepticism some people have toward you.
During my time as editor for our local newspaper, two mayors had their time in office. The first, despite my attempts to be as friendly as possible and let him know I was someone who understood the difference between social banter and talking on the record, would not warm up to me. The second did, however, and the improved relationship I felt was beneficial both personally and professionally to us both.
During my time with Truck News-West, I have found there are three types of people in the trucking industry. There are those who love talking to me and telling their stories and either welcome the opportunity when asked, or let me know by email or phone when something happens.
For a writer who’s looking to tell the industry’s stories, these people are a dream – they make my job so much easier.
There are also those who will talk to me when I approach them, though they seem slightly on edge and not 100% comfortable with talking to media. More often than not, once they see how I use the information they provide, they are happy they decided to talk to me.
I’d also lump large companies into this category of “will talk to media, but only when pushed.” Most large carriers have media channels you have to go through to get questions answered, which I understand to an extent.
It’s a way for them to make sure the right message is being relayed and ultimately published. It’s the same when you try to get answers from a politician. The only thing I would say about to this group is that Truck News-West is a trade magazine that aims to do the very thing Earle said was desperately needed…tell the trucking industry’s stories.
The last group is frankly one I have trouble understanding. They will not, under any circumstances, speak to me, or any media for that matter.
I would like to think they are the minority, but I don’t know for sure, as is often the case, those who have opened up to me in the past are the ones I interact with most.
One of my favorite stories to write each month is our Last Word profile. It tells the story of a small- to medium-sized carrier in Western Canada. What I like about it most is that I always try to bring to the forefront the human element behind the company. It’s more than just a business profile, it’s about the person or family that started the company and what has driven their success.
It amazes me how many carriers have told me they have no interest in being profiled in our magazine. This is the one constant in the magazine where I have never received negative feedback…not once. The carriers I’ve profiled love these stories, and I wish more could be told.
These are the type of stories our industry needs to get out there, and there is no shortage to be told.
This is a big part of what will attract good people into the industry.
A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media industry as an editor, reporter and now as editor of Truck West. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.
@DerekClouthier All posts by Derek Clouthier