There aren’t many people who can claim to have 50 years in the industry – and are still going – but talk to John Crook and he’s as passionate now as he was when he led a small film crew on the front line during the Vietnam war.
As a war correspondent interviewing Australian servicemen, it was the tropics which particularly took his interest, in Saigon, and later on location in the rubber plantations of Nuit Dat and Vung Tau, and he was determined to use that experience to help open the doors of travel; not just to these war torn regions, but also to other nations and within Australian.
So, with the same gusto that got him through the front line – he went on to pioneer travel television presenting A Crook Affair, one of the longest running live talk shows in the country on the then TEN network, and host John Crook’s Down Under Show again on TEN .. taking out two logie awards in the process.
Radio also played a key role in his career and is a medium he is still actively involved in today – producing a prolific amount of daily radio programs on travel, food and wine including content for a national series under the banner of Around the Word Radio Travel Show.
John stays closer to home these days, although as a self confessed Francophile he can be tempted to travel abroad – and top of his list is not just Western Europe, but South Africa, Denmark, and the United States.
So what are the practical tips from someone who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Pope and Ronald Reagan for those wanting longevity in the industry?
Keep it simple John says:
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep
- Keep alcohol usage to a minimum
- Send resultant clippings to hosts
- Be on time to avoid unnecessary delays to the schedule
- If running behind time telephone ahead so your hosts know where you are and ETA.
John remains an active member of IFWTWA Australasia (and is the longest serving member of the Association) frequently taking up its many opportunities to explore Victoria and beyond, and encourages anyone who is serious about a career in travel writing to do the same.