Jeff Zurschmeide is a reporter at Digital Trends. He is based in Portland, Oregon.
What’s your top priority at work for today?
I like to say that the life of a freelance writer means that every day is a work day, and every day is a vacation day. I just got back from a press trip, so today I have three or four short stories to knock out, some phone calls to make, and some household chores to do. I might not get further than the mailbox today, but I treasure these days when I’m productive and checking items off my to-do list.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
It would definitely involve some kind of adventure, like driving from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Ocean, or from Paris to Beijing. I love to get out and see the world, and then to bring that experience to life for my readers. If I get just one e-mail that says I’ve inspired someone to get off the sofa to travel and see the world, I will feel like I’ve been successful. Anthony Bourdain is still my hero.
Describe one of the wackiest proposals/ideas you’ve been sent.
I am definitely not going to fly in anyone’s experimental aircraft! But apart from that, I don’t get too many pitches on the wild side. I’ve said yes to an awful lot of off-road driving trips!
What is your PR/marketing pet peeve?
Getting pitches for products that are way outside my field. I cover automotive topics, with a little dash of travel and food writing when I can place a story. So, baby monitors and Bitcoin strategies are not things I can write about, no matter how persistent the PR rep may be.
What’s a top industry trend you’re currently following or are interested in?
Everyone is following autonomous and electrification tech these days, with good reason. I’m interested in the social implications that come with changing mobility solutions. What happens to the neighborhood mechanics, to the auto dealers, and to the gas stations in the brave new world? Millions of people make their livings around mobility, and that has a profound effect on the national economy. Not that we shouldn’t change our world, but we should understand the implications, and hopefully have a plan.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a nearly fanatical car guy, and my curse is that I like everything. My stable includes cars as diverse as a 1920 Model T Ford and a VW-based dune buggy, so I am constantly tinkering with things. Spending time in my workshop restores me as much as the cars. I think I do my best writing after spending a long evening wrenching on an old car.
When I’m not driving or tinkering, I love to travel the world. But even then I’m that one crazy tourist taking pictures of the local cars instead of the usual snapshots everyone else is taking. Cars are a universal language!
Questions or comments for Jeff? Respond below or Tweet Jeff at @zursch.