Meet the Media: Kurt Nagl, Manufacturing Reporter at Crain’s Detroit Business

Kurt Nagl is a reporter, covering manufacturing for Crain’s Detroit Business.

Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?

Supply chain, supply chain, supply chain. From microchips to Christmas presents, businesses and people are worried about getting stuff. I’m curious to see what happens this winter and spring in terms of demand and whether things smooth out. A lot of the trouble has to do with a labor shortage, which I also find to be fascinating. Of course, COVID-19 is still a primary concern for business and society.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

I’ve been fortunate to cover a wide range of stories over the years. Working in China and northern Iraq early in my career opened my eyes to the possibilities of journalism. Those experiences helped shape my world view and taught me how to report in difficult situations with patience and empathy, which is a practice I try to take to every story. As a business reporter, I find great enjoyment in learning new things. I might write about a local company or service I never knew existed, and the next day might be an enterprise piece about electric vehicles or the steel industry. Being able to talk to pretty much anybody about pretty much anything I want is probably the biggest perk of my job. I consider it a privilege that I try to use to help people.

What story or stories are you most proud of?

No Pulitzer yet, so best yet to come, right? What’s important to me is continuing to progress as a reporter, and when I look at my body of work so far, I see it going in the right direction. Also, gotta have fun doing it. So far, so good.

What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?

I start with originality and human interest. Has the story been told yet, and do people need to hear it? I also pay close attention for times when powerful people have some explaining to do.

How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?

Well, counting the good old Cub News at UDJ, more than a decade (woah, really?!) I started in high school and never stopped. My first non-school newspaper gig was at the China Daily in 2013.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …

Golfing, when there isn’t snow on the ground. Exercising, often reading newspapers and satire, playing guitar and curating my Spotify playlists.

What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?

Contact me anytime: I’m happy to chat about story ideas and pitches of all sorts. Knowing a bit about our publication and target audience is helpful, and I’m happy to answer any questions.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

Nah, we’ve all got our quirks.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)

Born and raised in metro Detroit. I also love to travel and am proud to tell people where my roots are.

You can follow Kurt on Twitter at: @kurt_nagl

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