Reporting on a topic that you aren’t an expert on

I am currently working on a story for the Columbia Missourian about the Mizzou Electric Car Team as they begin preparations to compete in their first competition, the Formula SAE competition. As you may know, I’m a car nut, but no engineer, so I had to research about electric cars and DC motors (the motor the team will use in their racecar) before I covered the team.

As a reporter, you always want to arrive at an interview well prepared. Not only because you don’t want to sound stupid, but you can ask better questions if you understand the material that you are reporting on. I watched plenty of videos and read plenty of articles about DC motors and the rise of EVs (electric vehicles) so that I can compare the Electric Car Team’s racecar to common EVs on the automotive market today. But I’m still no expert on the topic, that’s why I had to ask the team questions elaborating on what I already know about DC motors, batteries, battery management systems, inverters, and all that good stuff.

The team is still in the planning and designing phase so I’ll do a follow-up story when they start building the racecar next semester. In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this introductory story.

I’m finally writing about cars!