Media News

Panagoulias, former WSJ deputy ME, dies at 70

April 5, 2024

Posted by Chris Roush

Cathy Panagoulias
Cathy Panagoulias

By Bill Power

Cathy Panagoulias, a former Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor who was a fierce advocate for young staffers and had a key role in publishing the paper after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, died after a brief illness.

She was 70.

Among her roles, Panagoulias had been the journal’s national editor, running all U.S. news coverage from 1995 to 2000, and supervised technology coverage before that for five years during the internet revolution. He family notes that she arranged for email accounts for all reporters at the time when many were just hearing about the World Wide Web. Later in her career, she was in charge of staffing and the internship program, encouraging managers to increase diversity. She retired in 2009.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the New York newsroom across from the destroyed World Trade Center was left unusable, but the Journal was able to publish a Sept. 12 print edition that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news — and Cathy spent much of he next year managing the logistics involved in running a paper without a permanent newsroom.

That role in a crisis was no surprise to those who knew Cathy. Cathy was a problem-solver. On a blockbuster news day, it was Cathy whom everyone turned to for calm but no-excuses leadership. If a staffer was having a personal problem, it was Cathy who would step in to handle it. If a group of staffers had come in on a weekend to test a new publishing system, and coffee and food suddenly arrived, it was Cathy who arranged it.

“Cathy was truly a champion for young staffers. I experienced it firsthand,” said Sheila Courter, Journal programming editor. “She was a brilliant newswoman and a fearless leader.”

“Cathy inspired so many at the WSJ with her energy, compassion and wicked humor,” said Mike Siconolfi, the Journal’s former investigations chief who started his career working for Cathy. “After 9/11, she was also incredibly prescient in protecting the staff, insisting that those of us who went back into 200 Liberty to retrieve files were protected with full gas masks.”

A Cornell graduate, Cathy studied history and Mandarin. She joined the Journal’s Monitor desk in 1976 — which was then the paper’s proofreading and production center, staff mainly by recent college graduates — before moving to the copy desk in 1978 and to The Asian Wall Street Journal copy desk in Hong Kong later that year. She also worked on the foreign desk in New York.

Bill Power is deputy section editor of Journal Reports at The Wall Street Journal. He wrote this for The Journal’s NewsNet internal site.


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