Tag Archives: Obituaries
by Chris Roush
Alfred Chandler, the Harvard Business School professor whose early work on Henry Varnum Poor brought to light the work of one of business journalism pioneers, is dead at the age of 88.
Chandler created the field of business history, and he helped former GM CEO Alfred Sloan write his famous autobiography “My Years with General Motors” that led to Sloan being the first person on the cover of Fortune magazine in 1963.
But it was Chandler’s graduate study work at the University of North Carolina in the late 1940s and early 1950s that had an impact on business journalism. He wrote his dissertation about Poor, who was editor of the American Railroad Journal from 1849 to 1862 and considered the forerunner of modern business journalism. Poor was Chandler’s great-grandfather.
Poor turned the newspaper from a trade journal into a publication aimed at a general audience.
As editor of this paper, Poor required railroad companies to provide him financial statements — long before the SEC made them aÂ public recordÂ for all investors. He analyzed the numbers and gave his opinion as to whether the companies were a good — or poor — investment. His paper is considered the precursor to all modern business journalism in evaluating investments.
Poor’s compilation of railroad company financials was later compiled into a book, forming the basis of what is today Standard & Poor’s Corp., a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill Inc.
Chandler’s work on Poor was later published as a book: “Henry Varnum Poor: Business Editor, Analyst and Reformer.”Â Most major public libraries have a copy.
Read more about Chandler here.Â
by Chris Roush
Jim O’Connell, a business journalist on the Canadian Business News Network, has died from colon cancer that was detected in February, several Canadian newspapers have reported. He was 48. Business News Network is the Canadian equivalent of CNBC.
The Canadian Press reported, “O’Connell helped launch Canada’s business channel Report on Business Television, now known as BNN, in 1999. He went on to assume numerous senior editorial roles, including most recently as host of the network’s flagship program, Market Call.
“Before joining BNN, O’Connell had an extensive career in journalism, including more than two decades with CTV News, reporting out of Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and serving as bureau chief in Washington and London.
“He also served as host and correspondent for CTV’s investigative news series W-Five.
“‘Jim was one of the country’s finest and most respected journalists,’ Jack Fleischmann, BNN’s general manager, said in a release.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
August Maggy, a copy editor for the San Francisco Chronicle’s business section, died after an illness. He was 60.
An obituary in the Saturday Chronicle stated, “Mr. Maggy had been a copy editor for The Chronicle for almost 23 years, most recently for the Business section. Colleagues said he took pride in being an ‘old-school journalist’ and was a stickler on points of story clarity and grammar.
“‘I learned a great deal from his sometimes pointed questions about newspapering and business journalism, and I came to respect his views greatly, especially because I knew they came from experience and a long institutional memory,’ said Business Editor Ken Howe.
“A lifelong Californian who was born in Stockton, Mr. Maggy worked as a news editor at the Richmond Independent and its later incarnation, the Contra Costa Independent, from 1969 until the newspaper folded in spring 1984. He was a copy editor at the Vallejo Times-Herald for a brief time, then joined The Chronicle in July 1984.”
Read more here.
The Washington Business Journal has an editorial about its former editor John McCalla, who died last week at age 38.
Here is a portion of the editorial:
“We all saw a piece of John here on our editorial page. He chronicled his anger over the city’s on-again, off-again (and, he thought, facist) ban on cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants. He fiercely and brilliantly defended real urban living, as he walked us down Connecticut Avenue and pined for the days before big retailers outmaneuvered the eclectic local shops that he believed create an urban neighborhood. He tried all of the restaurants the rest of us promise ourselves we’ll get to. And he made living look like something not to be trifled with.
“What you may have missed was the impact he had on the other pages of this newspaper. He had true love for a good story. He actively searched for good writers and good writing. He worked to perfect his own writing style every week. And he always thought his brilliant words ‘sucked’ (his word, not ours).
“As much as John loved this newspaper, he loved his staff and his colleagues 10 times that. He was committed to making each better than he or she was without him — and he succeeded almost every time.
“We’ve had a week to sit with his death, to talk about and remember the things that made John so important to all of us.”
Read more here. A subscription is required.
Polly Lane, who covered commercial real estate and the aerospace industry for the Seattle Times, died Tuesday at the age of 70 after suffering from cancer, according to a story in the Times. She had retired from the paper in 2000.
Reporter Marsha King wrote, “As the story goes, Boeing executives got so accustomed to 5 a.m. calls at home from reporter Polly Lane chasing down a lead, they’d automatically pick up the phone with ‘Hello, Polly.’
“‘I don’t think the clock meant anything to Polly,’ said Harold Carr, retired Boeing spokesman. ‘If she saw something early in the morning or something was on her mind, she’d call.’”
Later, King added, “Some of those she covered or worked with over the years used similar words to describe her: Fair. Accurate. Even-tempered. Professional.
“‘I don’t think Polly ever went for sensationalism to enhance a negative story just for the publicity it brought,’ said Frank Shrontz, retired president, chief executive officer and board chairman of Boeing.
“Mrs. Lane also served as a spirited role model.
“‘I would describe her as a classic deadline reporter who had great sources … and could turn a complicated aerospace story on a dime,’ said Stanley Holmes, national correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine who covered aerospace with Mrs. Lane at The Times.”
Read more here.
Rex Farrance, the senior technical editor for PC World, was found shot dead in his California home, according to an Associated Press story.
The story stated that Farrance, 59, was shot Tuesday night.
The story said, “‘We have substantial reason to believe that the victim and his wife were involved in the possession and, potentially, the distribution of illegal narcotics,’ said Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty, who declined to specify what type of drugs were involved.
The couple’s son, Sterling Farrance, 19, blasted the police assertion that they were involved with illegal drugs, saying he grew and stored medical marijuana at the home with his parents’ permission.
“‘I have a prescription. I’m a patient. It was medical,’ Sterling Farrance told the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘This one officer I remember at the house, he had this predisposition to think it was all illegal.’
“Colleagues at PC World described Farrance as a fitness buff, rock-music fan and a dedicated husband and father who excelled at his job.
“‘We’re all in shock here,’ said Denny Arar, a PC World senior editor. ‘Rex loved his work. He really cared about covering technology in a way that was useful for readers. He cared a lot about people, period, including his co-workers.’”
Read more here.
John McCalla, editor of Washington Business Journal, has died, according to a story posted on the paper’s web site.Â He was 38.
A cause of death was not immediately available.
Carroll Astbury, who worked as a business writer and a business editor for the Bangor Daily News, died unexpectedly. He was 58.
Bill Trotter, a reporter at the Daily News, wrote, “Astbury grew up in the Blue Hill area and later lived in Orrington. He worked for the paper in numerous capacities during his career, including in the promotions department and as business writer, business editor, assignment editor and news editor.
“His most recent position was as an assignment editor overseeing the business page and the Hancock County bureau in Ellsworth.”
Later, Trotter wrote, “Mark Woodward, executive editor of the paper, said that Astburyâ€™s outgoing personality allowed him to get to know quickly the people he was writing about.
“His background in economic statistics strengthened his natural ability to be analytical and to get straight facts when learning about an issue, he added.”‘He was gregarious by nature,’ Woodward said. ‘He had an amazing ability to connect with people and was genuinely interested in them. All of that was very important to him as a reporter.’”
Read more here.Â
Ed Shur, who in April left his position as the business editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal to become editor of two Ohio papers, died at the age of 54, according an Associated Press story.
The AP story stated that Shur, executive editor of The (Fremont) News-Messenger and the Port Clinton News Herald, “was found dead at his home Wednesday. Ottawa County Coroner Jerome McTague said he died of hypertensive heart disease.
“Before coming to Ohio in April, Shur was the business editor at the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal. During his 10 years at the Gazette-Journal, Shur also was a special-projects editor. He previously worked at The (Baltimore) Sun and for Minnesota Sun Publications, which included 21 weekly newspapers.
“Gannett Co. owns the Ohio newspapers. Fremont has a daily circulation of about 14,000 and Port Clinton, 6,200.”
Read more here.
Rod Smith, the Review-Journal’s Gaming Wire editor whose varied 30-year career took him into the fields of economics, politics and business journalism, died Thursday after a two-year battle with cancer, according to a story on the Las Vegas’ paper’s web site.
Smith, 60, had been the newspaper’s award-winning lead reporter on the gaming industry since August 2002 and wrote a weekly column in the Business section’s Sunday edition.
Howard Stutz wrote, “It was reporting on business matters and seeing his work in print, however, that gave him the most fulfillment, said Fran Smith, his wife of 36 years.
“‘Rod really had two basic careers. One was politics and the other was business journalism,’ Fran Smith said. ‘He was most proud of having his work published. He always enjoyed that more than anything else.’
“Review-Journal Business Editor Michael Hiesiger said Smith’s familiarity and interest in a number of fields gave readers an uncommon insight and a diverse outlook into the gaming industry.
“‘Rod brought a unique level of experience and background to the paper that the Business section never had before, and it will be very hard to ever duplicate that,’ Hiesiger said. ‘His real value as the gaming editor for the R-J wasn’t that he knew about the gaming industry. He also knew about all the other industries and business leaders in town, and that meant he often got more details and different perspectives on casino issues than anyone else.’”
Read more here.