Paul Eisenstein

Paul Eisenstein has covered the auto industry since 1979. His work appears in such publications as The Economist, Investor's Business Daily, Popular Mechanics, and Cigar Aficionado, among others.

Paul Eisenstein has covered the auto industry since 1979. His work appears in such publications as The Economist, Investor's Business Daily, Popular Mechanics, and Cigar Aficionado, among others.

And, he's a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition and a frequent guest on a variety of other broadcasts. In 1996, he launched his website, The Car Connection. Today, he is one of the most widely known journalists covering the auto industry. PRWeek: How did you begin covering the car business? Paul Eisenstein: After graduating from the University of Michigan, I thought I'd return to New York City, but I was offered a rare job opportunity. Just when I decided to head back East, the second oil shock hit and NPR asked me to freelance a few stories about the impact on Detroit. I quickly discovered it was a great beat. This coming October marks 25 years as a freelancer focusing all but exclusively on the auto industry. PRWeek: When did your site debut? Who is the audience for it? Eisenstein: The site was a spin-off of my freelancing. It launched in late 1996 in beta form, though we normally mark its debut as January 1997. Today, the site takes what I see as an unusual route. We appeal to three distinct audiences: industry/trade, auto enthusiasts, and the general car buyer. PRWeek: What is your biggest pet peeve about PR people? Eisenstein: It has long been the challenge of getting PR folks to understand and respond to the unique needs of a freelancer. I contribute to more than 65 outlets worldwide, many of them are among the most influential in print and broadcast. Still, some - not all - PR people tend to rank all freelancers the same and downplay us. That's why, some years back, I created The Detroit Bureau news service and relabeled myself an "independent." PRWeek: The auto industry gets more specialized coverage than almost any other sector. Does that make your job harder? How do you define news for your site? Eisenstein: It's highly competitive out there and that's fine with me. It hones your personal skills. It pushes you to try harder and dig deeper. As to defining news, it really depends on which of our target audiences we're pitching. PRWeek: Do you demand exclusives when PR people call to pitch stories? Eisenstein: Sometimes. It depends, to a varying degree, on which of my outlets I'm writing for. It's still more difficult to demand exclusives for a website than it is for a major print outlet, but we're getting more credibility there. PRWeek: What's the best way to pitch you? Eisenstein: Generally, the worst way is by e-mail. Same with fax. Cold pitches? I often prefer snail mail. It makes people think twice about what's worth the effort pitching. I take phone calls, but I also have caller ID. Voicemail is a great tool for dealing with those PR people who have a low batting average with story ideas that shouldn't be taking up my time. Name: Paul Eisenstein Outlet: TheCarConnection.com Title: Founder and publisher Preferred contact method: 248-544-8700 Website: thecarconnection.com

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