OLD Media Moves

Former Newsday editor on Sloan winning biz journalist of decade award

January 4, 2010


Howard Schneider, the former Newsday managing editor and editor who now runs the journalism program at SUNY-Stony Brook, sent Talking Biz News the following comments about Fortune senior editor at large Allan Sloan, a former Newsday business columnist, after hearing that Sloan had been named Talking Biz News’ business journalist of the decade:

“Allan and I have known each other for more than 40 years, since we were classmates at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 1967. We also briefly worked together as colleagues at Newsday, when I was a managing editor and Allan was our business and financial columnist.

“Here are some things you need to know about Allan. By temperament, he is fiercely independent and happily argumentative. He also is unforgiving. He has a long, long memory — and offers no statue of limitations — for fools, miscreants, rogues and hypocrites, especially when they operate at the expense of the little guy.

“All of this serves him well in his role as a business journalist, but it could have served him equally as well as a sheriff or bounty hunter.

“Here is what makes Allan a special journalist: He is an obsessive reporter. It is easy to get fooled by his intelligence, analytical skills, cutting humor and remarkable ability to explain the arcane in every day terms (all undoubtedly important elements in his success). But the power of Allan’s journalism ultimately lies in his ability to get to the bottom of complicated stories. He is a tenacious and relentless reporter.

“People don’t really read Allan for his point of view. They read him to learn something. And that something is fact-driven. It is easy to forget this in a journalistic culture of assertion increasingly masquerading as verification.

“The result is this: In an 800-word conversation with his readers, Allan Sloan can take a spectacularly, complicated business deal and step-by-step methodically and convincingly reduce it to one four-letter word — ‘dumb’ — in a manner that leaves you saying, ‘Of course! Why didn’t everybody see the same thing?’ He is like a magician who always shows you how the trick is done.”

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