Operations

Why The Media Trashes Your Family Bus Business

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Eron Shosteck

Page 1 of 2

If you’re an operator running a safe, responsible, and ethical family bus business, you may wonder why you don’t recognize the motorcoach industry often depicted in the media.

You’re not imagining things. The mainstream media often distort the industry’s image, and you suffer collateral damage as a result. Let’s look at why this dynamic exists — and how you can fight it.

Motorcoach operators are one of America’s few remaining multi-generational, family-run, mom-and-pop small business sectors. Sure, everyone knows the iconic names of the big dogs and mega-companies that dominate the scheduled service sector of the landscape. But small charter and tour bus companies make up most of the motorcoach businesses throughout North America. Indeed, about three-quarters of all bus companies have fleets of fewer than 10 motorcoaches.

BAD ATTITUDE
So why are the media so quick to turn them into villains?

Attitudes, thinking patterns and preconceived notions among journalists are shaped as far back as college. Part of that mindset is to view businesses in general, of all sizes, as putting profits over people. When journalists imbued with such biases are assigned to cover a story on an industry they know nothing about, other than a bus just crashed, it is predictable how the story is likely to play out.

Sweeping generalizations about the media are no more accurate than such views of any other profession — say, a small mom-and-pop bus company, for instance. As with any occupation, there are good reporters and bad reporters. But having been a journalist in the mainstream media earlier in my career, I can attest to the newsroom groupthink that often drives decisions about how key players in a news story are reflexively perceived and portrayed. Such reporters embrace those notions before even starting to gather information or conduct interviews.
We’ve all heard the macabre media truism, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Yes, bad news makes good headlines. But it’s more complex than that.

NO CHARTER SCHOOL HERE  

During the past two decades, journalism schools have shifted the way they teach the craft of reporting. In the good old days, aspiring scribes were taught to write as if they were recorders of events — just the facts on who, what, where, when, why and how. Today, journalism students are taught they have a more critical role than chronicler of the first draft of history. They are taught what academics euphemistically call “civic journalism.”

In this idealized world, journalists don’t just convey the facts, but act in their readers’ civic interests. Their inherent presumption is that they all know what their readers want (activist government, more regulations, broader oversight, etc.), although they never seem to have bothered to poll their readers, nor been elected by anyone to promote such an agenda.

Civic journalism is actually “agenda journalism.” Its practitioners prefer the vague and fuzzy “civic journalism” to hide the agenda being pushed. And that agenda is clearly antithetical to “corporate interests” and “big business.” Your company, no matter how small, is considered part of that category.

Never mind, Mom, that you and Pop and Sonny and Sis are running the small family charter and tour company Grandpa started back in the day. Forget that you have a stellar safety record, impeccable customer service, and good green practices. Civic journalism requires that, for the purposes of the story, operators, no matter how small, be “corporate fat cats” in the bus industry — even “bus barons” — that are all guilty by association when a motorcoach marauder lacking FMCSA operating authority crashes.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Torched Limo Owned By A Muslim Immigrant Businessman

The owner estimates $70,000 in fire damages to the Lincoln MKT stretch burned by anti-Trump rioters on Inauguration Day.

Anti-Trump Protesters Block Uber Headquarters

The TNC's CEO Travis Kalanick is one of several technology executives who's part of the president's Strategic and Policy Forum.

Toronto Operator Emphasizes Occasions

WebXclusive: Ash Fadil works to provide experiences that will have his clients coming back for more than just one special event.

What Judges Look For In OOY Award Entries

Read up on what some contenders have already submitted in their running to become an Operator of the Year.

Atlanta Operator Supports Strength In Numbers

Chad Casey knows industry involvement is a must when discovering new affiliates.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - January 2017 $12.95 THE MONEY ISSUE COVER STORY: * Dashboard Helps Steer Company Finances * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close