OLD Media Moves

Former BusinessWeek chief economist Wolman dies

December 16, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush


William “Bill” Wolman, a long time chief economist at BusinessWeek magazine, and a frequent commentator on CNBC, died earlier this month, according to former BusinessWeek staffers.

In his career, Wolman received a number of awards. The magazine’s 1980 “Reindustrialization of America” special issue garnered Wolman a National Magazine Award for best single-topic issue as well as a Deadline Club Award, a John Hancock Award and a University of Missouri Journalism Award. Wolman also won a Champion Tuck Award for the magazine’s 1984 exploration of the U.S. deficit.

Upon his retirement in 2001, BusinessWeek editor Steve Shepard wrote, “He helped to build a tradition at the magazine that continues today and remains one of our great strengths.”

On CNBC, Wolman often paired with Neil Cavuto, acting as a taciturn foil to Cavuto’s more outspoken demeanor.

Wolman graduated from McGill University and earned his doctorate at Stanford University. At the time he was hired by BusinessWeek in 1960, he was an assistant professor of economics at Washington State University in Pullman.

He is co-author of books such as “The Beat Inflation Strategy,” published in 1975; “The Decline of U.S. Power,” 1980; and 1998’s “The Judas Economy: The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work.”

When contacted by Talking Biz News on Friday afternoon, Shepard — now the dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism — stated: “Bill Wolman helped pioneer the reporting of economics  as news in the 1950s and 1960s.  At Business Week magazine, along with Leonard Silk, he wrote stories about economic theory and economists long before such coverage became widespread.

“Later, when I was editor-in-chief of Business Week, Bill served as chief economist, generating many creative cover story ideas.  A PhD in economics, Bill became a terrific journalist — a brilliant thinker and strong writer and editor.  He was a witty, talented man.”

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