Changing Headlines

This week I saw an article in my news feed from my local newspaper, the Green Bay Press Gazette. The headline read: Two Shawano Women, 80 and 74, die when semi trailer slams into car." The headline grabs your attention. It got me to read the article. The article explained that the car driver failed to yield and pulled out in front of the semi. No tickets were issued. I was not pleased with the headline. We work hard to improve our image as professional drivers. The headline made it look as if the professional driver was at fault. He was not. We don't blame the engineer when a car pulls in front of a train.

I shared the article on my face book page. Robert Ward found the telephone number of the paper and shared it. Robert was the first to call. He spoke with an editor. I spoke with the news department. The writer, Doug Schneider was in my contacts list already. We had exchanged emails before. I am active in both the local running community and the trucking industry. Over the years, I have developed a lot of contacts. Always be professional. These contacts can bear fruit, or get you ignored down the line.

After speaking with the news department, I emailed Mr Schneider directly. He responded prompthly and agreed to change the headline to: Shawano Women, 80 and 74, die as car fails to yield, collides with semi trailer." Score one for us.

It is up to all of us to remain vigilant. Read the papers and listen to the news. Whenever a headline like this appears, do something. It is never hard to find a writer's email address. Contact them. Reach out to the news department or the editiorial staff. If you are a paying subscriber, contact circulation. Be polite. Stay factual. Try not to argue with them. They don't have to be wrong for you to be right. The object is to fix the headline. 

We won this one. It is my hope that we made them think about our image. Get the headlines right, without falsely damaging anyone. If you see a headline that a truck did a horrible thing, read the story. Was it a pick up or a commercial vehicle. This one galls me as well. Encourage the paper to use the term pick up instead of truck.

Team Run Smart's logo is on my truck. So, is Freightliner's. I run under the authority of Paper Transport. It is with great pride that I represent all of them. It is my name on the side of the door as well. That matters to me more. What I do represents me. If I represent me well, I represent them well. Take pride in our image and defend it.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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