OLD Media Moves

Verity, longtime Businessweek and computer journalist, is dead

April 28, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

John Verity, the former information management editor at BusinessWeek who wrote the acclaimed Nov. 14, 1994, cover story “Doing Business on the Internet,” died this weekend after a long bout with colon cancer.

Verity had been writing about computers since 1976, with a special interest in the social and cultural impact of computers and of technology in general. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1976 with a degree in physics and English.

After graduation, Verity spent four years writing about Electronic News, a Fairchild publication, and then was co-author of “Big Blue, IBM’s Use and Abuse of Power” (Dodd, Mead, 1986), a book that revealed for the first time the workings of IBM’s long-standing monopoly in computers.

From 1981 to 1987 he was a senior writer and news editor of Dun & Bradstreet’s Datamation magazine. He joined BusinessWeek in 1987 and spent 10 years there. He reported and wrote features, covers, and breaking news stories about all aspects of the business, from PC’s challenge to mainframes to the revolution in object-oriented programming to the explosion of the Internet.

John’s job was one of the toughest in the magazine, trying to stay ahead of fast-paced development,” said Joe Weber, a former BusinessWeek colleague who also attended Rutgers with Verity. “He had to master the technical wizardry of the time – things such as massively parallel computing (one topic I remember him writing about) – and the growth of giant networks that led to ATMs and such. He also had to grasp the corporate machinations. Both were necessary for BW stories.

“He ushered in some of the most distinguished technology reporting of the era, working with a fellow named Bob Arnold as his supervisor. He and Bob did some remarkable work. The tech franchise was crucial to BW and together they set a high bar for it.”

From 1997 to 2004, he was managing editor and senior writer of ComputerLetter. He then spent three years as a contributing editor to its successor, Venture Capital Analyst, Technology, a Dow Jones publication.

For the past few years, Verity has been writing the IT Software Community blog for United Business Media.

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