RPD Series: Rex Rust’s ‘Crazy Shot’

Sixth in a 2022 Commitment*

The funeral of Rex Rust, a friend of many, is today (Jan. 17). He died Jan. 6 at age 52. Yes, too young.

Rex was co-president of Missouri-based Rust Communications, a second-generation media company operating primarily in the Midwest that owns more than 40 newspapers and has interests in radio stations, a digital agency and commercial real estate. Like many publishers, corporate representatives and newspaper vendors, I ran into Rex at industry conferences and board meetings.

To know Rex was to have a lifelong colleague and plenty of lessons on how to compete with gusto, appreciation for the game, and respect for colleagues. I can never remember a moment where I saw Rex down in the dumps or negative. That’s what made his battle with cancer over the last year a profile in courage.

In his obituary, there’s an unusual Relevant Point that can apply to newspapers in their transformations. Call it the Rex Rule: Always considering the offbeat before making a key decision.

Here’s why: You don’t want to miss a potential hidden opportunity, an innovative route that’s off the beaten path, or even a process that produces a surprisingly positive result. Besides, conventional thinking can fall short in challenging times.

Among the many things Rex was known for, the obituary stated, “he also loved doing the ‘crazy shot’ when taking a photo.” The crazy shot? The obit explains: “There could be one serious shot, but there had to be a ‘crazy one’ as well (and the crazy shot was always the best).”

Among his friends and colleagues, there were plenty of crazy shots shared when they learned he died. Happy memories brought smiles despite the sadness.

That explains today’s Relevant Point, aka the Rex Rule: Before you frame an urgent Relevant solution, make sure you consider the crazy shot or angle. Don’t let the naysayers disrupt your potentially disruptive idea.

Open up the pores and deeply think about a different approach. Be bold. Even zany. Unusual. Then, snap the picture. Look at it. And don’t ignore it because it just might be the approach everyone will ultimately remember, be thankful they were a part of, and look forward to the next time.

And this: At least have some fun with the Rex Rule. (You can always go with the serious plan, if you must.)

Thank you, Rex, for that lasting advice. As his obituary further reminded us: “He was one in a million and to know him was to love him.”


Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

An example of one of Rex Rust’s “crazy shots”: You can stand at a podium during a high school awards event, or you can launch a football into the crowd as a memory. It follows that you could just report about high school sports or you could invite the community to a celebration of outstanding athletes.

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

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