Minard winner Blumenstein optimistic about journalism
Here are the comments made Tuesday night by Rebecca Blumenstein, deputy editor-in-chief at The Wall Street Journal, when she received the 2015 Lawrence Minard Editor Award, named in memory of Laury Minard, founding editor of Forbes Global and a former final judge for the Loeb Awards.
This award honors excellence in business, financial and economic journalism editing, and recognizes an editor whose work does not receive a byline or whose face does not appear on-air for the work covered.
Thank you so much, Gerry. You are so generous with your praise and I will do my best to live up to it. Congratulations to tonight’s winners and finalists.
Thanks also to Loeb committee and the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.
It is humbling to receive the Minard award, in memory of Larry Minard, a selfless, excellent editor at Forbes.
I am feeling optimistic about our chosen profession after some tough years. I recently attended the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Philadelphia. I was heartened to see reporters from all over the country and the world there — including many from smaller news organizations. The numbers of journalists attending IRE hit a new record this year at 1800, a big jump from years past.
Although the Internet has long been feared a “journalism killer,” digital journalism is conferring increasing value on the most original work — and stories that are must-read.
Every day at the Journal, it’s our most original work that draws in our readers and – importantly – leads to more people to sign up to do something truly radical — pay to consume journalism.
I believe there has been a sea change in the ambition of many news organizations. To be relevant, we realize that we must produce quality, original work that is trusted by our readers.
I was also excited and hopeful to see the diversity of the IRE attendees, including that half were women.
This reminded me of an obligation that I share with others in this room to tell these journalists — that they CAN do it. That it’s possible to combine career and family, if you chose to have children — especially if you have both a supportive partner and a supportive workplace. Which I do.
I was promoted every time I was on maternity leave.
I remember going to Paul Steiger after learning I was pregnant with a third child, worried that it would push my career onto a slower track. I found myself apologizing and offering assurances I was still serious about my career. He cut me off and put me at ease with one simple observation: “I’ve been watching this for a long time. If you come back after one child, you will be fine. If you return after two, you may as well have 50.”
Two years later, he sent me to China, with three young children.
After becoming editor, Robert Thomson brought me back from Beijing, the start of a dizzying array of 4 jobs in 5 years. I was often hesitant to take the new role, but Robert prodded me and others.
Gerry has pushed the Journal to aggressively embrace digital and invest in our core, in-depth reporting. He offers strong leadership and guidance, while not being afraid to let others take charge – and has given me tremendous opportunities to lead, especially on our tech push with WSJD.
Women too often these days hear about what that they CAN’T do — be the perfect mom, work a full-time job, be a good daughter, wife and friend. I think that young women — and men — don’t hear enough that they CAN DO IT. Yes, there are rough edges.
But with the right support, I believe that it’s possible – and even preferable to – to combine it all. And to make it possible for others to follow.
Sometimes people ask me how I do this with kids.
I sincerely believe that I don’t think I could do my job if I didn’t have kids – they keep me sane. I must say that managing reporters can be easier than managing teenagers.
I want to thank my colleagues, who have made me better every step of the way – from Detroit, where I got my start at the Journal, to telecom with Almar Latour and Dennis Berman, to China and beyond with Mike Siconolfi and many others.
Thank you to Matt Murray for spearheading my nomination. He has also truly enjoyed watching me squirm, with the attention.
This award feels a bit funny because it is very much a reflection of all of your efforts.
I was in China when the Wall Street Journal was originally sold to News Corp, and there was so much concern — I have to say, it’s clear the Journal has thrived.
My parents are here tonight from Michigan, and I can’t thank them enough for their support. Some of our only significant fights were over their belief that I was neglecting my studies to spend so much time at the college paper. I think tonight I get to say I was right.
And thank you to Alan — my husband and anchor – who keeps me honest and laughing and is always up for anything. He’s never blinked at me coming home at any and all hours and he keeps the family trains running every day. They don’t always have to be on time.
Thanks so much and I will take this as a reminder of the role I can play .. to encourage – to get through the rough spots — and to swing for the fences.