OLD Media Moves

When Ben Bradlee hired a deputy business editor

October 22, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Steven Pearlstein, a business columnist for the Washington Post, writes about how former executive editor Ben Bradlee, who died Tuesday at the age of 93, hired him in 1987 to become the paper’s deputy business editor.

Pearlstein writes, “I remember it as if it were yesterday, being ushered into the great Ben Bradlee’s glass-walled office in The Washington Post’s giant newsroom. It was the fall of 1987 and I was an editor at Inc. magazine and a long shot candidate to be the deputy business editor of the Post. Most of the other senior editors had pretty much decided I wasn’t ready for prime time (not enough newspaper experience).

“In those days, business news was something of an after-thought at The Post, where many editors — including Ben — viewed it as arcane and peripheral. So when I made my pitch that the way to make business interesting and exciting was to cover it the way we do sports, most of them looked at me like I was nuts.

“Ben, however, got it right away. And what he really liked was my willingness to stick with the idea despite the wall of skepticism I had encountered. He had also checked me out with his old pal, Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe. We told each other a few Winship stories, reminisced about the North Shore of Massachusetts where he was born and I was then living. And that was it. With the managing editor looking on skeptically, Ben asked me when I could start. As he might have put it, he just liked the cut of my jib.”

Read more here.

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