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Longtime biz journalist Pinkerton dies at 76

October 29, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Stewart Pinkerton

Stewart Pinkerton, a longtime business journalist who worked at The Wall Street Journal and was later managing editor at Forbes, died Monday at the age of 76.

Pinkerton was an engaging and congenial colleague and a fine journalist, widely admired for his deft touch as a writer as well as for his mentoring of younger colleagues.

“He was a great writing coach,” said Paul Steiger, former managing editor at The Journal. “He was a great reporter at the Journal for many years.”

He started his career with The Journal on the copy desk in San Francisco, but quickly became a reporter in the Journal’s Los Angeles bureau in the mid-1960s after graduating from Princeton University.

He was later assigned to take over and shape up the paper’s Canadian coverage, and later was applauded for having significantly improved it. He rose in the 1980s to become one of two top editors just below managing editor Norman Pearlstine. His titles included New York bureau chief, assistant managing editor and deputy managing editor.

Steiger remembered a story where a hotel fire in Westchester County killed a number of executives at a company. Pinkerton ordered a number of reporters to cover the story. An hour later, he encountered one of them still in the newsroom, waiting for the company’s head of public relations to call back.

According to Steiger, Pinkerton replied, “The flack is dead. Get your ass up to Westchester and start reporting.”

At some point in the 1980s Pinkerton also was the head of the paper’s money and investing coverage. He left the Journal in 1988.

After working for a year or so at Kidder Peabody, he joined Forbes, where he was managing editor for 19 years. After leaving Forbes in 2009, he wrote a book about the magazine called “The Fall of the House of Forbes.”

In retirement, Pinkerton lived in rural Ulster County, New York, with his wife, Meredith Nicholson.

The funeral is to be Saturday, Nov. 4, in Stone Ridge, New York. A memorial service is expected at a later point.

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