OOIDA taking trucker issues to mainstream

| 8/29/2008

Every day Norita Taylor conducts a search for news “mentionings” of the Missouri-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in mainstream media and trade outlets. Taylor is the Media Affairs Coordinator for OOIDA.

Sometimes it’s a quote from Todd Spencer, executive vice president. Sometimes it’s a quote from a recently distributed OOIDA news release. Other times, she knows there will be something published in a particular outlet because the interview – which was coordinated by her – just took place earlier that week.

“My job is to make sure our messages and positions are reflected in reports outside the Association that cover the issues affecting our members,” she said. “I do that not just by sending out news releases, but also by talking on the phone to reporters. Sometimes I initiate the call. Other times they’ve made an inquiry with lots of questions. Fortunately, I have great resources at my fingertips here at OOIDA headquarters for anything they throw at me.”

Taylor points out that some of what ends up in mainstream media isn’t something you can necessarily find on the Web with Google.

“I’ve had Todd and other executives on lots of radio shows,” she said. “I try to post notices about those ahead of time on the forums so members can tune in. It’s great that so many radio programs have audio-streaming.”

A common request Taylor receives is for “a trucker to talk to.” Sometimes it is something as simple as a phone interview. But once in a while, a reporter wants an actual ride-along.

“That’s a little trickier,” she said. “You’ve got to find someone in a particular area at a given time. I’ve got a ‘go to’ list, but can always use more people willing to share their stories.”

Sandi Soendker, managing editor of Land Line Magazine and landlinemag.com, says that for years truckers have asked her what can be done to relay their issues to the public in a way that is accurate and pertinent.

“One way for truckers to make the public understand what their issues are and how important truckers are the nation is via the mainstream press. And because transportation is such an integral part of the economy, it’s a connection that must be understood by consumers. OOIDA’s Media Affairs Department does a great job in making this happen.”

Some of those mainstream mentions are posted and archived regularly on www.landlinemag.com under “OOIDA in the news.” It’s a brand-new feature, and you’ll find it on the menu on the left-hand side of the home page.

– By Land Line staff