MEET RICH. HE'LL LOOK INTO IT.
(FORTUNE Magazine) – Some people think the term "investigative reporter" is redundant, that all reporters should, by definition, be investigators. But in the real world of journalism, that's not the way it works. Just as a baseball team is a collection of players with different skills--sluggers, utility infielders, relief pitchers--so is a magazine writing staff made up of generalists and specialists: interviewers, analysts, stylists, investigators.
Richard Behar's specialty is investigation, and to be perfectly candid, it's not always great news if he takes a strong interest in your company. Not that he isn't fair minded and diligent in his approach to reporting. He is. It's just that Rich tends to turn up in situations where businesses are conducting themselves in ways they would generally prefer to keep from the public.
His Allstate story, on page 128, which recounts a war between the company and its agents, is at the same time fascinating and unsettling. On first reading it, I was struck by the thought that, unfortunately, business sometimes really does behave the way it is often depicted on those cheesy TV shows--the ones we usually decry as unrealistic, simplistic, and sensational.
As a reporter, Rich wears impressive campaign ribbons. Raised on Long Island, New York, and educated at New York University, he most recently worked as a reporter just up the elevator at Time, where his story on the Church of Scientology won him not only the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award but also the rarely given Conscience-in-Media-Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, recognizing "singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost." The church didn't like the story and is suing; Rich is countersuing.
In his spare time, Rich likes to skate against the traffic on the streets of Manhattan. That fits.