Chad Trautvetter: The Man Behind The News

 - September 28, 2012, 10:45 AM

When you think of submitting news to any of the AIN publications, look no further than Chad Trautvetter. As the news editor of the Aviation International News monthly and the AINonline website, as well as being the editor of AINalerts, he is the first point of contact for all news submitted to AIN.

Trautvetter got his first taste of the general aviation industry at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus when he started to pursue an aeronautical science degree hoping to become a corporate pilot. At Riddle, he wrote for the school’s student newspaper, The Avion, and eventually became editor-in-chief.

Upon graduation, instead of looking for a flying job Trautvetter went to work writing for Professional Pilot magazine—he joined AIN a few years later. Chad is a true aviation buff, a dogged reporter and as such enjoys the best of both worlds writing about business aviation which he has been doing for more than 18 years.

With marketers constantly asking us how they can get editorial coverage in one of AIN’s magazines (Aviation International News, Business Jet Traveler, AIN Convention/Airshow News) or online publications (AINalerts, AINmxReports, BJTwaypoints, etc.) we decided to have Chad tell you himself in this Q & A with the man behind the news.

How does news get from you into one of AIN’s publications?

First, you have to understand how I obtain news. I use a lot of sources to gather aviation-related news–press releases; newspaper/magazine articles; news tips from readers and industry sources; company websites; newswires; government websites and data sources; legal filings; and online message boards, among others. Sometimes I combine my knowledge of the industry with supposition, while other times we simply stumble across news. Keep in mind that news can be either good or bad–it’s all just news to us in the editorial department.

Once I have news in hand, my job is to get it in front of the appropriate editors and writers at our various publications. It’s kind of like the airline hub-and-spoke system, where I’m the hub. As examples, if it’s aircraft maintenance news, it’ll go to the mxReports editor; if it’s business aviation news, I’ll put it onto my list for AINalerts and also forward it to the editor of AIN and BJT; and if it’s aerospace defense-related, it gets sent to the AIN Defense Perspective editor. I often send news to multiple editors and writers since it doesn’t always neatly fit into just one category.

How do you decide which news story gets in to what AIN publication?

With the exception of our AINalerts e-newsletter and the news columns in the monthly issues of Aviation International News, it’s more accurate to say influencing rather than deciding. It’s up to the individual publication editors to decide what makes the cut, but I often include notes and comments about news that I forward to them. However, this can cut two ways: sometimes I tell them it’s strong news that they should run, and other times I question whether it’s really news at all. In the end, it’s the value of the news to our readers that actually determines whether it does or doesn’t run.

That said, there are times when we have to lower the threshold because the volume of news is thinner, which typically happens around the major holidays–Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day and the period from just before Christmas to a few days after New Year’s. These times present great opportunities for companies to send us news (hint, hint). On the flip side, there are times when the news volume is extremely heavy, and we’re forced to use only the best of the best. This scenario often occurs on or around the press day at the NBAA Convention, for example.

When you receive news, what usually catches your attention first?

This ultimately gets back to the value of the news–how important it is to the reader compared with the other news we’ve received? Items that often rate as newsworthy include new product announcements and updates, large orders, quarterly financial updates, industry outlooks, safety issues and maintenance problems, to name just a few. What usually doesn’t make the cut is news about ISO certifications and charter aircraft additions–both of which we unfortunately tend to get in high volumes.

But there are a few things that can increase newsworthiness, and the devil is in the details. Generally speaking, providing more details elevates newsworthiness.

Getting back to news of charter aircraft additions, tell us why you’re adding the airplane–is your charter demand climbing? If so, how much compared with a year ago? Why is demand up? Why was this particular model selected? What typical missions do you expect it to serve? Where will the aircraft be based? How many additional pilots, cabin attendants, dispatchers and maintenance technicians did you hire for this aircraft? And these questions really just touch the tip of the iceberg.

Including photos, graphics, charts and other artwork also helps–just be sure they’re high-resolution files that can be reproduced in print.

If a company has news to announce, how do you suggest they get it to you?

If we’re talking about medium, I prefer email. And it doesn’t have to be a formal press release–an email with the basics of your news and a contact name/info is perfectly fine. The bottom line is that we don’t know you have news unless you let us know. We haven’t mastered the art of mind reading–not yet, at least.

Contact Chad at