Tag Archives: Obituaries

Bob Cole, former NYT biz reporter, dies at 83


Robert Cole, a former New York Times business journalist known for his coverage of corporate mergers and acquisitions in the 1970s and 1980s, died last month, according to a Times obituary.

He last wrote for the Times in July 1991, when he covered the stock market.

The story states, “Mr. Cole was known for chasing down news of the corporate takeovers and leveraged buyouts that dominated the financial pages for much of the late 20th century, gaining a reputation along the way for bluntness and, often, irascibility. His coverage in 1984 of Chevron’s acquisition of the Gulf Corporation, the largest merger ever at the time, drew particular note.

“‘He really honed the craft of merger and acquisition reporting,’ Dean Rotbart, a historian of business journalism, said in an interview on Tuesday. ‘He was king of the hill for a long period of time.’

“The Journalist and Financial Reporting, a combination magazine and newsletter that Mr. Rotbart edited, named Mr. Cole one of the dozen most influential business journalists of the 1980s. He won a Loeb award for beat reporting in 1985.”

Read more here. 

Griffin, financial editor at Chicago Daily News, dies at 76


Richard “Dick” Griffin, the financial editor at the Chicago Daily News for 13 years, died last week at the age of 76, according to a Chicago Tribune story.

Trevor Jensen writes, “Mr. Griffin ran the Daily News’ financial pages from 1963 to 1976. With former Daily News reporter Rob Warden, he edited a collection of the newspaper’s dispatches titled ‘Done in a Day: 100 Years of Great Writing From the Chicago Daily News,’ which was published in 1977.

“In the late 1960s, he started Winners and Losers, a column that rounded up the best and worst performers on Wall Street during the previous week, said Steve Yahn, a business reporter under Mr. Griffin. The column pioneered a form that has become common over the years, Yahn said.

“‘He was a lovely guy,’ Yahn said. ‘He had a lot of style. He dressed well. People were very proud he was our business editor.’

“Warden, assistant financial editor from 1968-69, recalled Mr. Griffin’s rejection of the reporter’s resignation letter.

“‘He was a perfectionist and quite a taskmaster,’ he said.

“Mr. Griffin left the Daily News in 1976 to become Midwest editor for Fortune magazine.”

Read more here. Griffin was president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 1975.

Early founder of weekly business journals dies at 69


Michael Russell, who helped start the Kansas City Business Journal and Wichita Business Journal in the 1980s, died Sunday. He was 69.

The papers later became part of the American City Business Journals chain.

A Kansas City Business Journal story states, “In 1982, Russell and William Worley started the Kansas City Business Journal. In a 2007 interview, Russell said that after having the idea pitched to him and reading a stack of issues of the St. Louis Business Journal , he was hooked.

“Russell and Terry Scanlon created the Wichita Business Journal in 1986.

“The Kansas City Business Journal introduced a new form of business news to Kansas City, with a heavy emphasis on deals and deal-makers.

“‘We were writing things that other people were afraid to write,’ Russell said in 2007.

Read more here.

Inside Tucson Business columnist dies


Inside Tucson Business columnist Steve Emerine died last week from complications related to a recent surgery. He was 73.

An Inside Tucson Business story stated, “In June 2005 he began writing the weekly column for Inside Tucson Business.

“State Sen. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, said Emerine had ‘an encyclopedic mind’ and was among the few people in Southern Arizona who followed and understood the political process.

“‘We have a very transient community,’ Paton said. ‘There are not a lot of people who remember what happened in the old days to give us some sort of understanding of what will happen tomorrow.’

“Born in Scottsbluff, Neb., Emerine graduated from the University of Idaho. He came to Tucson after a tour in the U.S. Air Force. Besides his newspaper and political career, Emerine enjoyed jazz and was a past president of the Tucson Jazz Society.”

Read more here.

Former Fortune columnist dies at 84


Daniel Seligman, a columnist at Fortune magazine for more than two decades, died recently at the age of 84, writes Dennis Hevesi of the New York Times.

Hevesi writes, “Mr. Seligman, who later wrote for Forbes magazine and other publications, was an editor and writer at Fortune from 1950 to 1997 and wrote more than 400 ‘Keeping Up’ columns in his last 21 years at the magazine. Among the array of subjects Mr. Seligman poked fun at were political correctness, affirmative action, overbearing bureaucrats and what he considered loony leftists.

“He also disputed those who doubted the value of I.Q. tests, a topic he fully examined in his 1992 book, ‘A Question of Intelligence: The I.Q. Debate in America.’

“Many of Mr. Seligman’s opinions were grounded in his own application of mathematics, and while he was an ardent anti-communist in his early years, he sometimes used statistics to criticize the right, as well. In a 1992 column he tweaked a fictitious Conservative member of the British Parliament who wondered why so many of his colleagues had been ensnared in sex scandals.”

Read more here.

Remembering Jim Brady


Crain’s New York Business editorial director Greg David writes Sunday about well-known journalist James Brady, who died last week and wrote a column for the business newspaper for 21 years, from 1984 to 2005.

David writes, “Jim always got the biggest response for his columns attacking George W. Bush, a sign of how his liberal views meshed with those of most New Yorkers. I always believed the strength of his column was his unmatched knowledge of 50 years of fashion, media and sports in the city. He gave Crain’s a depth we would have otherwise lacked.

“Now that I have been around New York for a while, I use Jim’s work as a role model for my column, which runs on this page. I define my mission as using what I know about the economy, politics, business and journalism to provide context, inform, prod and even exasperate readers.

“I have also worked very hard over my career to match the seamless, smooth and seemingly effortless prose Jim could create in almost no time at all. I still have quite a ways to go.”

Read more here.

Last member of Reuter family dies


Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, a European aristocrat from a bygone age and last survivor of the family that founded the international news agency, died on Sunday aged 96, Reuters is reporting.

The Reuters story stated, “He said Swiss-born Marguerite, a widow for more than 40 years, was intensely proud of the family link with Reuters, and of the British nationality she acquired through her husband.

“Last year Reuters, which had already moved out of its historic headquarters in London’s Fleet Street, the traditional home of the British press, became part of Thomson Reuters Plc.

“Thomson Reuters’ chief executive, Tom Glocer, said he was saddened to hear of the baroness’s death, adding:

“‘Although the founding family of Reuters were no longer significant shareholders in the company, the baroness did notably attend a service at St Bride’s Church, London, to mark Reuters’ historic move from Fleet Street to Canary Wharf in 2OO5.’”

Read more here.

Former AP labor reporter Walker dead


Norman Walker, who covered the labor beat for the Associated Press from 1945 to 1963, has died, according to an AP story. He was 96.

The AP story stated, “Walker began his career with the AP in 1934 in New Orleans, where he helped cover the assassination of Huey Long. Walker later served as Baton Rouge correspondent and moved to the AP’s Washington bureau in 1943.

“He covered labor relations for AP from 1945 until he left the wire service in 1963, a span that covered a time of great upheaval in labor relations.

“He served as information director for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service from 1963 until his retirement in 1978.”

Read more here.

Kristof remembers former NYTimes biz editor Lee


Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes Wednesday about his former boss, Times business editor John Lee, who died Tuesday night.

Kristoff writes, “In the fall of 1984, the business editor of The New York Times was John Lee, and he was aggressively cleaning out dead wood and hiring young reporters to compete more effectively with the Wall Street Journal. I was a would-be journalist just out of university with degrees in political science, law and Arabic — but utterly ignorant of business — headed to Tunisia where I was going to string from north Africa for The Washington Post.

“A college buddy, David Sanger, had just been hired by John for the business section, and he passed my resume along. So on my way to Tunisia I stopped by New York for an interview — and never got to Africa. John and his deputy, Fred Andrews, hired me to cover international economics.

“John was a fabulous editor and mentor and hired a remarkable number of young reporters who have percolated through many sections of the Times. Aside from David Sanger, those who arrived at about the same time as me included Todd Purdum and Richard Stevenson. News organizations are notorious for being managed by brilliant journalists who are catastrophic managers, but John Lee was an exception — a manager who knew how to bring out the best in his troops, and who inspired tremendous devotion among all of us.”

Read more here.

Former NYTimes biz editor dies; launched 1st standalone biz section



Former New York Times business editor John M. Lee died Tuesday in Connecticut due to complications resulting from surgery.

In 1978, under the direction of Lee, the Times started Business Day, considered the first standalone business section of a mainstream metro daily. The move by one of the nation’s most well-respected newspapers started a business journalism arms race in which virtually every major newspaper would add a business section.

In 1980, he led an overhaul of the paper’s Sunday business section.

Lee also had a nurturing management style that launched the careers of a number of prominent journalists and business journalists. His hires included Andy Pollack, David Sanger, Todd Purdum, Dick Stevenson, Nick Kristof, John Crudele, Steve Prokesch, John Markoff and dozens of others.

“John was one of the natural aristocrats of journalism,” said Diana Henriques, a senior financial writer at the Times. “The phrase on every lip here in the newsroom today is ‘a true gentleman.’ And he really was — always calm, always courtly. But such a newsman! He read every line of our section, down to the legal notices, and he was known for alerting a reporter about some odd detail he had noticed in a company’s agate earnings report. But he was equally a master of the broad brush, the important trends. He relished economic news the way some folks enjoy sports.”

Henriques said she remembered the nice touch that Lee had with his reporters.

“As a colleague just recalled to me, ‘He was the master of the small touch’ — the brief handwritten note that made you feel so special, so valued,” she said.

When Henriques’ mother died, Lee had left the business department. But when she returned to the newsroom, she found a note on her desk. ”In his lucid and elegant script, John offered his sympathy, in just a line or two,” she said. “I still have the note.”

Lee became the Times business editor in 1976, and he remained in that position until 1985, when he became assistant to the executive editor. In that spot, Lee dealt with budgets, personnel, career development, minority recruitment, technology and organization of new Times magazines and sections.

He was replaced as business editor by Fred Andrews. Lee was later an assistant managing editor at the Times.

In 1993, Lee became director of editorial development for The New York Times Co.’s 31 regional newspapers.

Lee joined the business/financial news staff in New York in 1972. Before that, in 1971 and 1972, he was chief of The Times’s bureau in Tokyo. He served as a correspondent in The Times’s London bureau, from 1967 to 1971, and in Canada, from 1964 to 1967. He joined The Times in 1961 as a business news reporter from The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, where he was business editor.

Lee was born in Williston, S.C., and graduated magna cum laude from Duke University. He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force and earned an M.S. degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.