Answers on demand
Riddle: Who is always in the news but never the story? That’s Alyson Crean, the public relations officer of the City of Key West for the past nine years. Post-Irma, Crean has proven her ability, dedication and fortitude in helping Key West stay informed and recover.
She chose to stay for the storm because after 27 years in Key West she says it’s her community. “I don’t have meaning without it. I wanted to be able to help.” Sleeping in her office at the police station, Crean played pony express post-storm, driving three times a day to radio station 104.1 after official meetings, if not continually calling, to get any viable information out to residents about water, electricity, food, anything helpful. If she wasn’t side by side with the city’s chief officers, Crean was driving up and down streets talking to people. When she went back online, Crean responded to hundreds of questions and Facebook posts from refugee residents. Maybe it’s the wild west in her blood – she is fourth generation from Nevada – but Crean knows how to work in the toughest of circumstances.
Crean’s background is journalism, including the Miami Herald, the Keynoter, editor of Solares Hill and founding and publishing Cayo literary magazine with awards from Rolling Stone magazine, the Florida Press Association, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers’ Association and several others. But it’s not her resume but her attitude that makes a difference “My goals and ethics regarding knowledge and information work equally and having worked on both sides of the fence, I think, lends insight to the needs and expectations of the people I’m trying to reach.”
- Full Name? Alyson Matley Crean. Worst nickname? Wally Peabody; my dad gave it to me and so I can’t completely hate it.
- Do you have a life credo or motto? Be kind and compassionate, and do no harm.
- Describe in one sentence public relations post-hurricane. This has been a reminder of how overly-reliant we are on technology as well as providing me a renewed understanding of the value of face-to-face communication.
- Staying for Irma, what did you surprisingly learn about Key West? There were no surprises, really. I knew that this community was made up of strong, caring people, and they proved me to be right.
- What did you realize you can’t live without and what can you live without after the storm? Running water is a real must-have. I knew abstractly that these things are vital, but when the water really goes away, it all becomes very real. I found I could live without TV.
- What’s the hardest part about PR? Easiest? Probably the hardest part of my work is countering the people who say “why didn’t the City tell us?” I can tweet, post on websites and all over social media. I can go on the radio and do video PSAs, do press releases to all the newspapers, and still there will be that handful of people who say we didn’t tell them. It’s frustrating! The easiest part is that my role gives me an excuse to run around town talking to everyone, taking their photos, and sharing just how great I think the Key West community is.
- Would you do it all over again? ABSOLUTELY!
- What’s one thing you have yet to achieve on your “bucket,” list and one thing you did achieve? I’ve never been a bucket list kind of person. The up side of that is that everything is a wonderful surprise. Meeting and marrying Kevin Crean, living in Nicaragua for a year, becoming a SCUBA diver: these things were never on some formal list, but I’m rich from all of them and more.
- Which TV, movie or super hero character is your alter ego? My alter ego would probably be made up of real characters: Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Waits and Sylvia Earle. Better than ANY superhero!
- What is your nerdiest passion? Collecting rocks and sea beans. I can tell you where every last one of them came from.
- If invisible what would you do in Key West? Explore all the beautiful homes and compounds in Old Town.
- What was your first thought this morning? Bike ride… sunrise… photo…
- Favorite guilty pleasure? Pizza from Big Johns.
- If you could grant Key West one wish? To hang on to its small-town city, family atmosphere and remain economically strong.
- If you could trade a job with someone in Key West for one day, who? Captain of the America 2.0 sailing vessel!
- For lunch with one famous person, whom would you choose? David Sedaris
Finish these sentences..
- My friends and family would describe me as … nice and smart and sometimes a little spacey.
- My autobiography would be titled… Food, fun, fortune (It’s already in the works).
- One secret I shall never tell… the one entrusted to me.
- When I go, I will go …. grateful.