Media News

Martin, WSJ style guru, dies at 89

January 23, 2022

Posted by Chris Roush

Paul Martin

Paul Martin, who was the style and grammar guru at The Wall Street Journal for decades, died last week at the age of 89.

He had been affiliated with The Wall Street Journal since 1960 and ran its style blog for it for 26 years before retiring in 2013.

At the end of his last “Style & Substance,” Martin wrote, “With this issue of Style & Substance, midway into my 27th year as the founding editor, I will be yielding the reins. As part of my 53-year association with The Wall Street Journal, it has been a good run, indeed. Thanks to all of you, staffers and outside readers of the blog, for your many contributions and critiques to help uphold the highest standards for English usage in the Journal.”

Martin became the paper’s copy desk chief in 1972 and compiled and edited “The Wall Street Journal Stylebook” since its first internal publication in 1981.

He began editing the Business and Finance column in 1969, and became a senior special writer for Page One in 1975.

He moved to the national desk in 1988, where he led a team of editors working on inside features and stories for special pages. In 1989, after serving as an editor for the Journal’s Centennial Edition, he returned to Page One. He was named an assistant to the managing editor in March 1990, responsible for fielding reader complaints and editing letters to the editor, in addition to his Page One duties.

In January 1993, he was named an assistant managing editor. At the end of 2001, he retired as a full-time staff member, but retained his duties as style arbiter and awards coordinator.

In 2000, Martin received the Elliott V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers’ Association. The Bell Award is given each year to the person the association deems has made a significant, long-term contribution to the professional of financial journalism.

Martin is a 1954 graduate of Dartmouth College.

Here is a 2013 Talking Biz News Q&A with Martin.

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