Following on from our redesign, Strive Notes is introducing some new regular features including ‘THe Journo’, a bit of a modern day, ‘meet the press’. I am very pleased that my Canadian colleague Reg Crowder (now working in France) has agreed to be our very first subject.
Name: Reg Crowder
Employer: As with all freelancers, I proudly embrace the banner of the “free-lance,” a medieval knight who swore no allegiance to any king or prince. Thus, I am the servant of no man. However, I have some wonderful clients. Principal US client: DealFlow Media Inc., California & New York. Principal UK clients: Campden Publishing Ltd. (“Families in Business” magazine) and “Tax Justice Focus” magazine. Principal Canadian client: NowPublic Technologies Inc.
Beat: Hard-core business and finance. Anywhere and everywhere. I cover the world.
Career Highlight: That’s a tough one. This has been a great job. I suppose it was writing the true story of an old man who died in a fire in his home, with his dog, because the city government just didn’t give a damn. The city’s lawyers arranged to have all of the records “lost.” The old man’s home was a gravely dangerous fire hazard. It had been inspected. The city had the legal authority, the personnel and the money to help him out. But nobody cared. Despite obstruction at every turn, I was able to dig out the facts and tell the story. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, old-timer. But by God I didn’t let them forget you.
Your first job in media: It amazes even me. At the age of 17, I got an after-school job with my hometown newspaper, The Winter Haven Daily News-Chief, Winter Haven, Florida. I maintained the clipping and photo files. After a while they allowed me to write an automotive column in the sports section. (I am originally Canadian. But my parents moved to Florida. As far as I can tell, most Canadians from Toronto, my birthplace, move to Florida as soon as possible in an effort to increase their average lifetime body temperatures.)
Your dream job: A web-based business that helps innovative start-up enterprises find the capital to get going and put their new ideas to work in the marketplace. (Pretty much everything banks tell people on this subject is nonsense.) If people have the passion and guts to start a business, I think somebody ought to give them a hand now and then. That’s not terribly far from what i”m writing about now.
Oddest story I covered: This is another tough one. There was this fellow I wrote a story about who was doing research into the use of magnets to stimulate plant growth. He was worried about global hunger. He was of the opinion that magnets could be used to make seeds germinate sooner and produce seedlings that grew faster. The fellow said it was important to take advantage of magnets to improve food production because they didn’t use chemicals or fossil fuels. He said that would be important some day. (I’d say he got that right.) Nobody would give him a grant. Nobody would publish his research. He was writing letters to the United Nations and other international bodies asking them to take advantage of his research results. He didn’t want any money. He just didn’t want people to be hungry. None of this seemed to discourage him. He just kept working every day in the laboratory that had set up in his garage.
I hate it when a PR: loses touch with his or her employer’s or client’s business objectives. Fairly regularly I have to “save” a business from their PR.
I love it when a PR: is really “in the zone” with what the employer or client is trying to do. A PR exists to help the business achieve its objectives. That’s the beginning, the end, and everything in between. When a skilled business manager and PR work together in harmony to implement a sound business plan, they can literally change the world.