OLD Media Moves

Business Insider’s Weisenthal named Biz Journalist of the Year

December 30, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush


Business Insider deputy editor Joe Weisenthal is Talking Biz News’ Business Journalist of the Year for 2011.

His selection is based on an unscientific, subjective review by Talking Biz News. We asked for nominations earlier this week on Twitter and polled people at several business news media organizations. Weisenthal was already on our short list, as was Heidi Moore of “Marketplace”, Peter Coy of Bloomberg Businessweek, Matt Goldstein of Reuters, and David Leonhardt of the New York Times.

Last year’s winner was Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times.

While Weisenthal may not have the influence of movers and shakers such as CNBC anchors or Wall Street Journal and New York Times business journalists, his impact has been dramatic for the evolving future of business journalism.

Weisenthal, who represents a new wave of how business journalism is presented, is a multi-platform user who pays close attention to the stock market and the economic data that is impacting its ups and downs. The sheer volume of the news and information he produces each day for his readers is amazing.

He posts on Business Insider at least a dozen times a day, and he is a major user of Twitter using the handle “The Stalwart.” He has more than 14,000 followers on Twitter and has tweeted nearly 50,000 times. Earlier this year, The New York Observer wrote, “Joe’s a one-man news wire who can sell a story like no other. It’s a freak talent and a rare find.”

Josh Brown, a New York investment banker who writes the Reformed Broker blog, wrote Wednesday that Weisenthal is “the most unlikely blogger to be going toe to toe with Fed watchers, Krugman haters, derivatives experts and currency wonks is doing exactly that.  And there’s no need to search the web when news breaks or data is released — because Joe always has it first, even when the government’s servers have crashed from the traffic. Watching The Stalwart’s evolution this past year has been pretty special.”

He’s also revered by his readers for admitting when he is wrong and for providing news in a way that explains its significance. In July, dozens of them came to his defense when someone posted on Business Insider that he should be fired.

Weisenthal begins each morning between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., announcing to the world that he’s on the prowl with a tweet that simply states, “What did I miss?” And he typically announces when the major market news of the day has come and gone with a tweet that says, “Day’s over.”

One of his co-workers told Talking Biz News about how excited Weisenthal gets covering news. For example, before economic data comes out he starts drumming on his desk and does this countdown thing (“60 seconds….30 seconds…15 seconds…”) followed by silence while he posts the story and then a delayed sound effect such as “KaBoom!”

Weisenthal joined Business Insider in October 2008. Before that, he was a correspondent for paidContent.org, as well as the Opening Bell editor at Dealbreaker.com. He previously was a writer and analyst for Techdirt.com, and before that worked as an analyst for money management firm Prentiss Smith & Co.

He got started writing with his own infrequently updated blog TheStalwart.com. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, one of his Christmas presents this year was a 1933 Texas yearbook where the university president lamented about the lack of jobs for its graduates.

Jay Yarow, an editor at Business Insider, is amazed at how much Weisenthal accomplishes each day.

“He should be the scariest person in the business journalism field to other journalists,” said Yarow. “Not because he’s mean, but because he never stops thinking about the markets and business. Sure he wakes up at 4 a.m. to start working, and he’s writing posts until late at night. But, he’s thinking about this stuff in his sleep. He wakes up periodically to check Twitter to make sure he didn’t miss any news! If that’s the future of journalism, that’s scary!”

Yarow added: “Joe sees angles to stories that few other people understand. He has a deep understanding of what matters and what doesn’t. He’s a contrarian, but not for contrarianism sake.”

Weisenthal’s competitors also marvel at his work output and his analysis, a sign that his work is closely followed by his readers as well as other business journalists.

“He is the hardest working journalist — scratch that,” said John Carney, a former Business Insider staffer who know works at CNBC.com. “He’s the hardest working person I’ve ever met. He wakes up each day nervous he may have missed a big story while he slept. His appetite for information is insatiable. Which makes him pretty much the perfect servant of his readers, who want someone out there reading everything so that they don’t have to.”

Kayla Tausche, an M&A and markets reporter for CNBC, added: “Have only met him in passing but think he’s extremely on-the-pulse on all things market. He wakes up at the crack of dawn and goes to bed late — is often on ‘Worldwide Exchange’ before the day even starts.”

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