Nerdwallet.com, a three-year-old personal finance website, wants to be a force in personal finance journalism.
The San Francisco-based company has hired eight journalists in the past few months to produce personal finance content for its website, and it wants to hire at least another dozen full-timers and a couple of dozen student journalists. In October, it hired CNN senior editor Maggie Leung to oversee that expansion.
“The key thing for us is that journalists are a whole new addition to the company,” said Leung, director of content strategy and development, in a telephone interview with Talking Biz News on Wednesday. “It’s a company that is made up of a lot of nerdy people. We have a lot of people who came from Wall Street and see things in a data driven way. But they are not writers. They tried to write, and they made a good effort, but they are not journalists.”
Among her hires is former San Jose Mercury News assistant business editor Steve Zuckerman. Steve has also worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is a graduate of Boston University.
Other hires include:
- editor Chris Hutchison, formerly of the San Jose Mercury and ESPN;
- editor Sharon Yep, formerly of The Motley Fool;
- writer Hal Bundrick, a certified financial planner turned full-time writer;
- writer Kevin Voigt, formerly of CNN.com in Hong Kong and The Wall Street Journal Asia;
- writer Maggie Clark, formerly of Stateline, a unit of the Pew Charitable Trusts;
- writer Patricia Caspers, formerly of the Contra Costa Times;
- writer Lindsay Meredith, formerly a NerdWallet freelancer.
Leung’s staff includes journalists who are telecommuting as well as those working out of the NerdWallet office. She prefers to hire reporters who already know how to cover personal finance topics, but she’s also looking for journalism students who can write hyperlocal articles for $150 each.
“It’s all money related,” said Leung about the site’s content. “It’s insurance, health care, shopping, credit cards…. Pretty much anything that revolves around money…. I don’t have time to teach personal finance. For people who already know that, I automatically pay more. It’s very hard to find people that understand the intricacies of investing and can write about it in a user-friendly way, for instance.”
Leung said there is no mandate to produce a certain number of stories for the NerdWallet site each day. Instead, she wants to focus on stories and topics that can help people make informed decisions with their money.
“At this point, we are not talking about quantity. We are talking about quality. If we wanted quantity, we could go hire a lot more freelancers,” said Leung, who has also worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The founders of NerdWallet are a former hedge fund analyst and a JP Morgan Chase derivatives trader.