Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"At First I Thought It Was Stolen"

"Stolen car recovery" by Tow Bot

From horror stories on a blog to "breaking news."

Here's how Towing Utopia leveraged mainstream media coverage of the abusive, excessive non-consent towing in Minneapolis...

I realized the horror stories I had collected were actually "breaking news" of a trend impacting students at the University of Minnesota, so I told one of my editors at Minnesota Daily about the springtime crackdown on gutters and students. I suggested it would make a good story.

In no time at all, they had one of their best reporters on it, Joy Petersen.

Joy checked out this blog, and asked me for contact information from Steph Peterson (no relation, different spelling, hey it's Minn-ee-soda) to get more details about the "sketchy" encounter with the driver who stuffed money in his own wallet.

I was really pleased to see the story was listed as "breaking news" at the top of our Minnesota Daily website, so I hope that means FRONT PAGE tomorrow. (Do I dare hope for "above the fold?")

The breaking news story mentions Martin Rugeroni, who thought, at first, his car had been stolen. Martin said he called "like 500 times" and finally found out his car was at the impound lot. (OK, I'm sure he didn't call that many times, but he is expressing the frustration of trying to find his car within the system)

My plan is to attempt contact with Martin to see if he will give me more details.

In the meantime, this is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish.

1.) Building social networks, especially in the media, to air stories about abusive non-consent towing and the need for systemic change.

2.) raising the profile of the issue, so people recognize "abusive non-consent towing" as a known, recognized social issue instead of something novel.

I knew I could depend on Minnesota Daily. We'll see what joy tomorrow brings with a news story on the (let us hope) front page.

(Oh, I hope Joy went to the impound lot! Because, for one thing, it's likely that would be the only "Joy" to be found there!)

No comments: