Friday, July 20, 2007

Nexus

I’ve been covering the trucking industry for, let’s see, right at 20 years. How on God’s green Earth did that happen? Well, I figure a person’s fate is sealed at some point in time and if you think about it, you can figure out where those points connected or where one path became another.

I am pretty sure I can go back to that precise point where I got sucked into this industry and I am going to place that blame squarely on OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

From 1980-1986, I was a small-time news editor for the oldest weekly newspaper in Jackson County, MO, where Missouri politics and high school homecomings were the hot news. An over-the-road trucker from OOIDA used to bring film in for me to develop, as we were the only place in town with a darkroom. I didn’t know Todd then, but I knew his family. His daughters were cheerleaders and football queens and such and I frequently reported on their activities and snapped parade pics of them waving from convertibles.

The film I developed recorded scenes he captured on the road. They were black and white. As I made prints in the darkroom, I studied the shots of snowy highways, old fuel pumps, somebody tarping a load.

Once he came by to get his photos and I asked about them. Blam. That was that point of nexus. It sealed my fate. In October 1987, Todd was off the road and working as the editor of Land Line. The magazine was growing and he needed help. That would be me.

The first couple of years I slaved away in a daze of tag axles and fuel waivers, a lowly reporter in a wildly complex camp. I somehow survived the school of Jim Johnston and Todd Spencer, and since 1990, I’ve been the managing editor of Land Line Magazine.

An introduction should likely start at the beginning

Greetings and welcome to my introductory contribution to the Land Line media blog. Since you’re already here, I assume you know how to find us. We promise to be here next time you check in as well.

I am a writer by trade, so my role in the trucking industry is to communicate important information to the people who invest their time to read.

As a staff writer for Land Line Magazine, I write mainly about toll roads, the federal interstates and a beat we call “all things fuel” here at the office. I have also covered border issues, happenings in Congress and far-reaching topics such as speed limiters.

I am called upon to make contributions to “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio. As the resident Canadian on staff, I will occasionally point my writer’s compass toward the Great White North.

Blogging here will allow me to wear a few more hats than required by conventional news reporting.

My maiden blogging voyage

Welcome to my first entry for Land Line’s media blog!

My name’s Charlie Morasch, and I’m a staff writer here at Land Line. I have just completed my first six months on the job here. I’m assigned to cover air quality, border issues and feature stories for the magazine.

I’ve really enjoyed learning about the trucking industry while meeting and talking with OOIDA members and other drivers who regularly visit the Web site and read Land Line. I hope to continue writing about more issues drivers care about, and hopefully this blog will allow for a more personal message about trucking issues.

I’ve been told by Aaron that this blog will be closely tied to trucking issues, and that my entries regarding the NFL, Kansas State football and my overweight Pug “Lefty” aren’t welcome.

Seriously, I’m not sure what shape this blog will take but I hope it will offer a more direct and informal approach than the news articles available at Land Line’s Web site.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to checking in with you soon!

No sugar-coating here

If there’s one thing you can be sure of, you won’t have to wonder what I’m thinking. I’ve been accused of being cheeky and glib. My colorful “Southernisms” tend to raise eyebrows.

But, that’s what a lot of you have come to count on over the years.

I’ve been a journalist for 18 years – wow, that’s a long time and I’m not that old. The past eight or so, I’ve been covering the trucking industry. The first five years I watched OOIDA’s fight to right the wrongs in the trucking industry.

When I got the chance three years ago to come to work for Land Line and help the good guys, I loaded up the moving truck and the family and headed for Grain Valley. It was really like coming home.

My co-workers kid me about taking home a 1,000-page transportation-funding bill for “light reading.” Trolling the Internet late at night for trucker injustice is an obsession. I don’t walk out of the building everyday and forget.

There’s so much going on in this industry everyday that it’s impossible to cover it all. This blog is giving all of us here at Land Line a great opportunity to bring you more news in our own unique way.

Gun-slinging and straight-shooting is a way of life around here. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this glimpse inside Land Line and what we really do every day.

Job descriptions

You can call me a nerd. Really, it’s okay – you won’t hurt my feelings. I haven’t always been a nerd. Well, okay, I have. But I haven’t always gotten paid for it. When I first came on board at Land Line, I was a general assignment reporter. What does that mean, exactly? To be honest, I’m still not sure. Some might say that being general assignment and the new guy is a sure-fire way to end up writing all the stuff nobody else wants. I like to think it let me dabble in lots of different topics and learn as much as I could about the trucking industry. But now, I’m the online editor. I rarely write anything of substance, which is a fact my coworkers are all-too-willing to point out. So, what does an online editor do? Much like my last job, I’m not completely sure, but if it has to do with the Land Line Web site, it’s probably my deal. I do miss covering the industry through my writing, but as I see it, wrangling the Land Line site is just another way of keeping truckers informed. I hope you find it to be a valuable resource. Shoot me an e-mail (aaron_ladage@landlinemag.com) sometime and let me know what you think