OLD Media Moves

Dow Jones Newswires’ Lipschutz stair-stepped his way to the top

October 17, 2012

Posted by DeanRotbart

It is a bit ironic that unlike his counterparts at rivals Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg News, the managing editor of Dow Jones Newswires never worked as a regular reporter or editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Neal S. Lipschutz, who since January 2007 has overseen all of the editorial operations of the burgeoning Dow Jones & Co, electronic news unit, first joined the company in 1982 as a copyreader and then stair-stepped his way to the top of the masthead, and now also carries the title of senior vice president.

While his byline has appeared periodically in the print edition of the Journal, Lipschutz was never actually on staff there.

The dedicated news staff of Dow Jones Newswires is smaller than that of either Reuters or Bloomberg News.  But Lipschutz’s team of reporters and editors still number about 800, spread throughout bureaus in the Americas, Europe and Asia.  Plus, many Journal reporters nowadays do double duty filing dispatches for DJN.

While the Journal’s readership is large and diverse, subscribers to DJN’s various news services typically are full-time, professional investors, money managers, traders and other professionals who pay thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars annually for DJN’s specialized brand of financial news and data.  DJN is a healthy profit center for Dow Jones.

Although Lipschutz, who turned 56 years old this week, is not as well known publicly as Bloomberg’s Matthew Winkler or Reuters’s Stephen J. Adler, Lipschutz is a major force in American and global financial news and easily one of NewsBios’s 100 Most Influential Business and Financial Journalists for 2012.

Increasingly, under the ownership of News Corp. – which acquired Dow Jones & Co. in December 2007 — all the DJN news brands have more closely coordinated their coverage and integrated their staff with The Journal.  Indeed, the lines between the print and electronic editions of the Journal and DJN are more blurred than ever under News Corp.,which has only increased Lipschutz’s influence during the past five years.

With Lipschutz’s guidance, in 2011, the company launched DJ FX Trader, a major news and data product that provides wall-to-wall coverage of the foreign exchange market.

Unlike competitors Winkler, 56, and Adler, 57, Lipschutz has chosen to operate as a kind of player-coach at DJN, appearing frequently in streaming videos on WSJ.com, blogging and writing a news analysis column, “Point of View” that is distributed electronically.

The column was nominated for a 2011 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, although Lipschutz was not selected as a finalist.

Stephen Wisnefski, senior editor for the Americas at DJN, wrote the Loeb nomination letter on his boss’s behalf. In the letter, Wisnefski noted that Lipschutz’s articles “provided clear insight… [were] published multiple times a week… within an hour of significant developments… [were] timely, to-the-point and free of gratuitous opinion.” Lipschutz was commended for taking “an unconventional angle” to whatever he reported on. At one point, according to the nomination letter, Lipschutz “logically built a case that industrialized nations would need to raise the age at which their citizens retire… ahead of a G-20 meeting, when the issue was on the front-burner.”  Wisnefski did not mention in his nomination letter that he reports to Lipschutz.

In his columns, Lipschutz has called on the Federal Reserve to hold open and frequent press conferences, which Lipschutz said would “help demystify the Fed and make it more democratic… [and increase] the Fed’s standing with the public.” In an attempt to encourage the Federal Reserve to be more open, Lipschutz wrote, “If you wind up in Rome, do as the Romans do. Find a lectern and state your case. Take on questions and defend your positions. Get your sound bites distributed far and wide.”

Lipschutz has spent a great deal of time writing about the Federal Reserve. In one of his Loeb-nominated columns, Lipschutz wrote about the effectiveness of Federal Reserve’s plan to stimulate the economy by buying Treasury bonds. Lipschutz felt that joblessness in this country “may be due to ‘structural’ factors and would thus be immune from monetary policy.”

Lipschutz regularly attends the World Economic Forum in Davos and participates in various industry and professional conferences around the globe.

Lipschutz, himself, has yet to win any significant individual journalism awards during the course of his career, which began in 1978 at the Paper Trade Journal in New York.  At least three times his work has been included in a group of DJN entries that received honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Lipschutz, a native of Brooklyn who owns a home in White Plains, is married to Jessica Lipschutz, 59. Jessica is the daughter of the late Boris Yavitz, a former dean of Columbia University’s Business School (1975-1982). Yavitz, who was born in Russia, raised in Israel, and served in the British Navy during World Ware II, died in 2009 at the age of 85.  From 1976 through 1982, he was a director and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The couple has three children, Eric, Kenny, and Claire.

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