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Joe White has reported on the automotive industry for more than 40 years. Primarily based in Detroit throughout his career, White worked for The Wall Street Journal for 28 years, including tenures in Brussels and the United Kingdom.
Since 2015, White has been employed by Thomson Reuters, the international data company and news service. He writes Auto File, a free, three-day-per-week electronic auto newsletter. It’s chock-full of business-oriented news stories and trends in the automotive industry.
While co-host Bruce Aldrich is traveling, I interview White on this week’s episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.
Like the always changing financial landscape, the automotive industry is ever-evolving. White and I discuss the landscape, Elon Musk to autonomous driving, start-ups like Rivian and Lucid, to continuing saga of the supply change strain.
A graduate of Harvard University, White and former Wall Street Journal bureau chief Paul Ingrassia were awarded a Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting for their 1992 coverage of the management turmoil at General Motors Corp.
“I started doing the Auto File almost as a personal side project, most to connect with sources and to connect with people on the (auto) beat,” says White. “I was using a free and easy-to-use email service. Anyone who follows the auto industry knows it’s a total fire hose of news every day; it just is.”
White determined there’s so much news, enthusiasts and even those immersed in the industry likely couldn’t keep up. Auto File is White’s way to aggregate the news and inject his analysis into an electronic auto newsletter.
“Newsletters have definitely become a creative, vital and growing form of delivering news,” he says. “A lot of the traditional outlets, like The Wall Street Journal, are starting to use newsletters for the very same reason. They realize that people are just swamped. They’re looking for someone to cook down the news in a certain sector.”
White was producing the auto newsletter five days a week, but the three days per week is the current format.
“Three days is both plenty and not enough at the same time,” jokes White. “You could do a whole newsletter on Elon Musk. You might regret it, but you could do it.”
While writing seriously in his auto newsletter on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, White also presents the news with clever headlines, such as references to rock & roll music. He also incorporates images and video.
“It’s to lighten things up a bit and not be excessively serious,” he says.
Please join me during this episode as my guest provides his opinion of the founder of Tesla, autonomous driving, electric start-up and his preferred personal vehicle of choice.
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The podcast is in its fourth year, and we’ve had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.
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