Media News

Jacobs, first WSJ small biz columnist, dies at 86

June 24, 2024

Posted by Talking Biz News Administrator

Sandy Jacobs

By Bill Power

Sanford Lee Jacobs, The Wall Street Journal’s first small-business columnist, died on June 16 in Pittsboro, N.C. He was 86.

In 1980, when the Journal expanded its news coverage and divided into two sections, Small Business was one of the five new second-section columns to be introduced. The columns covered areas of growing importance to readers at the time, including Sandy’s column on small business every Monday.

His first column, on June 23, 1980, was on rescue artists who aimed to keep small businesses from going under during the 1980 recession. “Small companies are particularly vulnerable because they often suffer from seat-of-the-pants management,” he wrote. His columns were well-read as small businesses struggled in the late 1980s and rebounded into the 1990s.

Of Sandy’s 30 years in newspaper journalism, 20 were spent at the Journal and another five in Dow Jones corporate relations. In addition to his small-business reporting, he was a telecommunications beat reporter, Tax Report columnist (then a weekly Page One column), a Your Money Matters contributing columnist, and feature writer.

He interrupted his Journal/Dow Jones tenure to edit the Montclair (N.J.) Times from 1989-1993.

In 2002, Sandy, a self-described “lifelong political junky,” published “The Little Black Book of Political Wisdom,” a collection of more than 600 political quotations.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Sandy fell in love with journalism at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where he was a feature writer for the Daily Pennsylvanian. He later said that journalism gave him a focus, but he never stopped trying new things. In his 80s, his family says, he learned to play the clarinet, exemplifying his “lifelong commitment to learning and personal enrichment.”

Sandy is survived by his wife of 64 years, Horty Jacobs; three daughters; and four grandchildren.

(Power wrote this for the NewsNet site for Wall Street Journal employees. It has been republished here with his permission.)

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