When I started out in journalism, my ambition was to become a good writer. That’s still the basis for everything I do.
But every journalist today needs to have a variety of skills, from being able to craft a story, to feeling comfortable talking about it on radio and television.
You need to know how to frame a photograph, host a podcast, narrate a documentary, and shoot a video.
If you decide to take your career beyond the daily news world, it becomes important to communicate to an audience. That might mean teaching students. Or, talking to civic groups, and leading panel discussions.
Although I’ve always been proud to be a business journalist, and very grateful to have become an author and a professor, my description would be All Of The Above.
Here are the areas where I consider myself an expert.
Business and society. At the Reynolds Center, we changed our tagline from “Cover Business Better” to “We Teach Money.” There is money in every story, and I know how to find it. That means topics ranging from politics and entertainment to sports and urban affairs. If you need some help identifying the dollars (or Euro or Yen) in a story, just ask.
Transportation. In 2013, I founded the Kickstarter-funded journalism project Curbing Cars: Rethinking How We Get Around. It explored why people are driving less, and the types of transportation they’re using instead. We also look at how these changes are affecting the automobile industry. Our Kickstarter produced an eBook, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, was published in April 2014, and we also produced a podcast. You can find our archive on CurbingCars.com.
I’m best known for covering autos and airlines as a senior business correspondent and Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times. Now, I most frequently write about both those industries for Forbes.com.
Cuba. I visited Cuba for the first time in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the boat lifts that brought some Cubans to freedom in the U.S. I’ve followed the Cuban economy ever since. To me, Cuba is more than romance, classic cars and music with a sexy beat. There will be many economic opportunities, and the potential for economic and social clashes, too.
Detroit. I’m deeply interested in everything that affects the Motor City, from its Chapter 9 bankruptcy to new investments, and the lingering problems that affect Detroit. My experience covering the bankruptcies in the airline industry and at General Motors and Chrysler have given me a good background to watch what happened in court, and how Detroit must now recover. Of course, as a baseball fan, I’m up to speed on anything affecting the Tigers, too.
Politics. I grew up in politics in Michigan. My parents helped write the 1963 state constitution, and were involved in the Republican Party back when the phrase “Rockefeller Republicans” was in vogue. Later, I covered the Michigan Legislature, and have always considered politics my second love, behind business. Many of the people I knew at the beginning of my career are now in positions of power in Lansing, Detroit and Washington.
Food. When I wasn’t focused on all these topics for the New York Times, I was schooling myself in becoming a food writer. I’ve studied cooking with Patricia Wells and at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, and taken numerous classes in other places. My expertise is eating well on the road, and not giving into the temptation to survive on junk food. You can see my food writing on my occasional blog, Culinary Woman, and find us on Twitter and Facebook, too.
The British Royal Family. I’ve always been interested in the royals from a historic point of view. To some, they may be celebrities. I view them as links to history, and I’m especially interested in the era from George V onward. Think of me as an American Alastair Bruce (without the pedigree going back hundreds of years). I also enthusiastically support my friend Susan Kelly, the creator of What Kate Wore and What Kate’s Kids Wore.
I’m easy to find on social media, where I’m @mickimaynard on Twitter and Medium, and under Micheline Maynard on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.