“We operate in real time,” they said. “There’s not much time to think when news is breaking. I have to write an accurate, succinct headline and story summary for the wire within seconds. The competition is stiff, and people are trading on our headlines. If I make a mistake, I will lose clients’ money. So it’s a fine balance between accuracy with the need for speed.” That’s why Crooks, thirty-three, has developed a professional writing strategy that quickly captures his situation, audience, and message for any story. In that moment of pressure, he can’t pause to think about writing a sentence correctly or using the right word. Those skills must already be internalized and come naturally to him.
Crooks earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish at the University of Toronto in 2006. Following graduation, he caught on as a reporter with the Santiago Times in Chile. That job ultimately led to his next reporting position with Bloomberg News in 2010. Crooks was named chief of Bloomberg’s Caracas, Venezuela, bureau two years later. In 2010, Crooks helped break one of the biggest news stories of the year in Chile’s Atacama Desert, at the rescue site where thirty-three lost miners were pulled from the earth after being trapped for sixty-nine days.
“I didn’t know where I was going to eat or sleep that night,” Crooks recalls. “I had a satellite phone and had to run up the hill to call in the story. I learned that it all depends on where and how the news breaks, and how the technology is working. You have to be flexible and confident across all writing platforms.”