Reporter Jeff Crilley decides to call it a night at Fox4
03/27/08 12:58 PM
By ED BARK
Fox4 mainstay Jeff Crilley, whose reports regularly lead the station's 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts, has decided he's had enough.
Crilley confirmed Thursday that he'll be leaving after his contract expires in May to launch what he hopes will be a "new breed of public relations firm."
A majority of PR companies are "trying to sell snake oil most of the time," he said. "So my vision is to start a firm staffed exclusively with former journalists. The mission will be that we don't pitch B.S. It will be an alliance of former journalists practicing journalism in the PR world."
Crilley, 44, joined Fox4 in fall 1992. He's also moonlighted as an author and seminar speaker whose Free Publicity book instructs prospective newsmakers in the arts of writing "killer" press releases and holding press conferences "the media will love." Videos of Crilley working his audiences into a veritable frenzy are readily available on youtube.
Crilley said he doesn't get paid for his public appearances, but does use them as fertile ground to sell his book. His on-air reporting style long has been notably understated, contrasting with his live-wire off-camera presentations.
"I'm ready to try something new," he said. "I don't want to be 60 or 65 and hang up the hat and say, 'What did I do with my life?' "
"Maybe I'm Polyanna here," he added. "But I don't think there's ever been credibility in the public relations industry . . . I hope we will change how these things are done by holding up this gold standard of practicing journalism with a PR firm composed solely of former practicing journalists."
Crilley said he hopes to start his new venture in June and already has talked to several former local TV reporters who might be interested in joining him.