Paul Steiger, The Wall Street Journalâ€™s longest-serving managing editor, will receive the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers at its 44th annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., May 22.
Steiger will be honored for decades of service to the Journal, the nationâ€™s top business newspaper, and his tireless dedication to ensuring it remains relevant in a rapidly changing media landscape. He will step down later this year.
â€œIn many ways, The Wall Street Journal has set the bar for high-quality and innovative business journalism,â€? said Orange County Register columnist Jonathan Lansner, head of SABEWâ€™s committee that decided the honor and SABEWâ€™s immediate past president. â€œAnd Paul, as its newsroom leader, deserves this award because too many mornings his product made many of us say to ourselves, â€˜Why didn’t I think of that?â€™â€?
Steiger, 64, has overseen dramatic redesigns of the Journal, additions of popular new sections to broaden readership, plus a push of breaking news to the Web. On his watch, Journal’s reporters and editors have won 14 Pulitzer Prizes.
He led his staff as it mourned correspondent Daniel Pearlâ€™s kidnapping and murder just a few months after the Journal was forced from its offices near the World Trade Center after Sept. 11. After the twin towers collapsed, Steiger and others gathered at a Manhattan apartment of Journal colleague and friend Barney Calame to ensure a well-written and comprehensive paper hit stands the next day. The work won several awards.
It was â€œboth a sad and terrifying day, but it was also a day where I was so proud of my colleagues,â€™ Steiger said.
He joined the Journal in 1966 as a reporter in the San Francisco bureau. Two years later, he switched to the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer and, in 1978, he became business editor.
Five years later, Steiger rejoined the Journal as an assistant managing editor in New York and later was promoted to deputy managing editor in 1985. He became managing editor in 1991. The European and Asian Journalâ€™s editors and news staffs began reporting to him in 2002 and the Journal Online followed four years later.
â€œHeâ€™s really smart and he is straightforward. Heâ€™s extremely honest and that relates not only being a good journalist but to being a good manager,â€? Calame said. â€œâ€¦He knows when and how to compromise without giving up fundamental principles. He has a sense of humor and ability to laugh. Thatâ€™s really important. Things can get really serious in business journalism.â€?
Steiger is the 17th business journalist to receive the SABEW Distinguished Achievement Award since it was launched in 1993. Other winners include Calame, now The New York Timesâ€™ public editor, Stephen B. Shepard, former BusinessWeek editor in chief, Cheryl Hall of The Dallas Morning News and Myron Kandel of CNN.