American History of Business Journalism

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In: Lives 08 Mar 2014 0 comments
Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl

By Dree Deacon

“I remember him one time playing the piano and he stopped in desperation saying, “I will never learn how to read!”

Ruth Pearl recounted a childhood memory of her son, Daniel Pearl, who would go on to become a renowned journalist and exceptional writer for The Wall Street Journal.

“He meant text,” Ruth Pearl said, “since he was already reading music.”

Daniel Pearl quickly exhibited a passion for music, and soon after, a gift for writing.

“Danny was born easy-going and happy with himself, no show-off baby,” Ruth Pearl said. “We thought he might be smart.”

He demonstrated his aptness for journalism upon his attendance at Stanford University where he co-founded the student newspaper Stanford Commentary, according to the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Following graduation, Pearl interned for the Indianapolis Star and later joined the Berkshire Eagle, formerly the North Adams Transcript, and the San Francisco Business Times. In 1990, Pearl joined The Wall Street Journal, excelling in both hard-hitting investigative journalism and lighthearted pieces that explored and celebrated cultural differences.

Perhaps Daniel Pearl was determined to educate his readers about the greater world because he, himself, experienced an extensive Jewish heritage.

“He believed he could change the world and that man is not a predator,” Ruth Pearl said.

As his talents in foreign correspondence were realized, Pearl was appointed South Asia bureau chief at the Journal in 2000. From Bombay, he probed the role of the U.S. government and its interactions abroad. For example, Pearl eventually made the discovery that the government had mistakenly bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, believing it to be a weaponry factory.

One duty of Pearl’s included covering the existing “war on terror,” which led him to intermittently visit Pakistan.

Daniel Pearl was ruthlessly murdered on Feb. 1, 2002, after a group of Pakistani militants under the command of Al Qaeda kidnapped him and impelled him to condemn American foreign policy by means of a propaganda video.

The nation was still recovering from the all-to-recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Though it was certainly tragic, Daniel Pearl’s friends and relatives make sure that his legacy is not defined by his death but by what he left behind.

Ruth Pearl invited me to truly “meet Danny” by suggesting that I read several articles he wrote for the North Adams Transcript of North Adams, Mass., specifically “Going to the top won’t get you to the bottom of bureaucracy” and “Registry Saga, Part 2: Intrepid reporter-driver outlasts chief.”

“I insisted that these articles be included in the book, since he wrote them in the first person about his encounters with bureaucracy,” Ruth Pearl said about the posthumously published At Home in the World, a compilation of Daniel Pearl’s writings. “You will see his humor.”

She was right. Daniel Pearl’s wit and ingenuity give his writing a narrative voice that makes you wonder if he is there with you, at the other end of the table, telling you his story himself, only to come to the realization when the last sentence is read that it is just black and white text on paper.

Daniel Pearl’s knack for seeking out quirky business journalism and investigative stories and reporting them in such a colloquial way drew readers in. His understated, yet abundant, intellect and fair analysis are what kept them there.

According to an opinion article written by Daniel Pearl’s father Dr. Judea Pearl for The Wall Street Journal, “The Daniel Pearl Standard,” Dr. Pearl holds the media to be at least partially culpable for his late son’s tragic death.

“One of the things that saddens me most is that the press and media have had an active, perhaps even major role in fermenting hate and inhumanity,” Judea Pearl said in the article. “The media cannot be totally exonerated from responsibility for Daniel’s murder, as well as for the ‘tsunami of hate’ that has swept the world and continues to rise.”

Paul Steiger, former longtime managing editor at the Journal, friend and colleague of Daniel Pearl and member of the Daniel Pearl Foundation’s Honorary Board, does not blame the media for his violent death.

“He was a scrupulously fair reporter who was brutally murdered by an Al Qaeda chief who wanted to make a propaganda video,” Steiger said. “That is who bears responsibility.”

Steiger does, however, recognize the role that contemporary media plays in spreading cross-cultural hatred.

“Certainly, hate and callousness are on the rise and some elements of media bear some responsibility for that,” Steiger said. “But Danny hated no one.”

The Daniel Pearl Freedom of Press Act was introduced by the United States Department of State on Oct. 1, 2009, as a means of protecting journalists from the antagonistic reach of terrorism.

“There have been many journalists killed, alas, in the dozen years since Danny’s murder,” Steiger said. “There were lists of precautions then and lists now, but unfortunately there are no foolproof precautions.”

Steiger says that he is far from alone in the way he remembers Pearl — admirably.

“What I remember is the joy he took in his life, his infectious smile, and the way everyone who worked with him—in Atlanta, Washington, London, South Asia, wherever—was deeply fond of him.”

Dree Deacon is a junior business journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill who is actually from Chapel Hill, N.C.

In: Lives 08 Mar 2014 0 comments
Bob Dallos

Robert “Bob” Dallos

By Nick Lamanna

In college, students often hear the saying, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.” For many this will go in one ear and out the other, but Robert Dallos took this idea and turned it into a 33-year career in journalism.

“He would often tell people he was lucky because he got paid for his hobby,” said Carol Dallos, Dallos’ wife.

Born Sept. 9, 1931, in Berlin, Germany, Robert “Bob” Dallos moved to New York City with his family at the age of 5 to escape the prosecution of the Nazi regime. After growing up in New York, Dallos went on to study journalism at Boston University and was quickly able to find a job with United Press International upon graduation.

“At 5 p.m. on June 8, I graduated from Boston University, and at 6 a.m. on June 9, I started at UPI,” Dallos told Editor & Publisher magazine in a 1972 interview.

When people decide to pursue a career in journalism they must be prepared to travel in order to follow the news. This was a lesson a young Robert and Carol Dallos learned quickly.

“Every time I would put new curtains on the windows he would say ‘Guess what? We are being transferred, or we taking a new job or we are moving,’” recalls Mrs. Dallos.

After leaving UPI, Dallos went to The Wall Street Journal where he would eventually be transferred to the organization’s London’s bureau in 1961.

While stationed in London, Dallos would sometimes travel to Bonn, the capital of West Germany, in order to chase certain stories. The Journal did not have any offices in Bonn so in 1963 Dallos would share an office with Myron Kandel, who was working for the New York Herald-Tribune at the time and would go on to become the first financial editor for CNN.

Kandel recalls his first impression of Dallos and immediately identifying him as a “hard working, contentious, and capable journalist.” The two men formed a friendship in Bonn that would last from sharing an office in 1963 until Dallos’ death in 1991.

While at The Journal, Dallos would showcase is passion for journalism by competing with his colleagues to see who could get more stories put on The Wall Street Journal’s “A-hed” column. This column includes stories that greatly differ from the serious nature of The Journal and highlight the (often funny) absurdities of life.

In 1964, Dallos would come back to the United States to work for The  Journal in Philadelphia. Dallos returned to New York in 1965 to work for the New York Times where he would work for four years.

The Los Angeles Times hired Dallos as its first financial correspondent based in New York City in 1968. He would remain for 23 years, the last 10 covering the airlines industry, until his death while vacationing in Budapest in 1991

During the course of 23 years Dallos would write many cover stories and collaborate with many journalists, one of whom being Paul Steiger who was hired by the Los Angeles Times in 1968 as a business reporter based in Los Angeles.

“I would meet him in New York, Washington, or Wilmington, Del.,” recalls Steiger. “He was fun to work with as a reporter because he was so relentless. If somebody could be gotten on the phone, Bob would get him.”

It was also apparent to all those that met him that Dallos loved not only practicing journalism but speaking and teaching it to others. He would serve as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, and Manhattanville College. He also held mini-conferences for young, aspiring journalists during his one-year term as president of the New York Financial Writers Association in 1971.

“He was a hard worker in improving the standard of journalism as represented by the fact he encouraged young people to get into the career,” says Kandel.

A successful journalist must have persistence, which is something Dallos had in abundance. He would not take no for an answer, he would send out dozens of phone calls a day looking for information, and he would call again if his call wasn’t returned in half an hour. Once he got them on the phone, Dallos would often get his story, as Steiger recalls Dallos “had a way of keeping people on the phone until they gave him.”

Steiger can still remember a story where Dallos’ relentless pursuit of the truth was on display:

“Some time in the early 1970s, we broke a story that the Nixon administration was going to seek a bailout for Lockheed. I wrote the story, but more than half the reporting was his, particularly one board member who he caught at around 10 p.m. east coast time, after he had returned from a night out,” said Steiger. “That was only 7 p.m. in LA, so the paper had plenty of time to make it the lead on page one that night.”

In 1974, along with Ronald L. Soble, Dallos released the book “The Impossible Dream — The Equity Funding Story: The Fraud of the Century,” an investigative journalism piece detailing the computer manipulated securities fraud at the Equity Funding Corp.

The book was written sandwiched in between his full-time job at the Los Angeles Times, so there were many interviews that occurred in a variety of places. Steiger remembered Dallos telling him about a particularly strange interview that left quite an impression.

“He loved his interview with international swindler Bernard Cornfeld at Cornfeld’s Swiss castle with actress Victoria Principal, his then girlfriend, draped over him,” said Steiger

When somebody thinks of creating the ideal journalist, the ability to find the newsworthiness out of a story would be near the top of the list. This was never a problem for Dallos, who Kandel said would “come up with feature ideas many of his colleagues totally missed.”

This interest was something that always stayed with Dallos – even when he wasn’t on the clock.

“If we were in Italy he would do a freelance story where he would talk to a leather craftsman and he would find something he could make newsworthy,” recalls Mrs. Dallos. “He could create a news story about anything.”

Dallos would suffer through a variety of heart problems during the last 10 years of his life but they never stopped him; they only slowed him.

“I remember visiting him after his first heart attack, in New York, and watching him drive the nurses crazy trying to make phone calls,” said Steiger.

While Dallos’ drive and passion led to many sharing Kandel’s sentiment that Robert Dallos was a “good friend, a terrific journalist, and really the best of our profession,” there is one thing that Robert Dallos loved more than journalism – his family.

“As hard as he worked at his job, as much as he loved it, he loved his family even more,” said Steiger.

When Dallos received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s College of Communications, but his wife recalls that he was “especially proud” that all three of his children were able to attend the ceremony.

Robert Dallos had a large impact on the lives of his children as two of his three children attended their father’s alma mater of Boston University’s College of Communication and all three majored in a field relating to communications. Each of his children can attribute their career path and success to the values their father instilled in them.

“I believe that my work ethic is a result of me watching my father doing his job, doing what he loved to do,” says Jeffery Dallos, Robert Dallos’ son who is currently a management/program analyst working for a U.S. government agency.

“I learned all the basics of good journalism, story telling, media relations and PR in the shadow a great journalist,” says Lisa Dallos, Dallos’ daughter and current CEO of High10Media, an integrated communication firm. “I will always be indebted to him for what he taught and how he guided me.”

“All we knew in our family was the news business,” says Dallos’ son Andrew who is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. “My whole life was just seeing my dad run off to cover stories, come back and file stories, and be on the phone with his editors in Los Angeles. ”

In 1989, Eastern Airlines held a press conference where the company announced it would file for bankruptcy. As part of his duty to cover the airlines industry, Robert Dallos arrived to the press gallery only to be met by his son Andrew, was assigned to cover the conference for “Good Morning America.”

“It came full circle there, growing up with my dad covering the news and I got to go to a press conference with him,” recalls Andrew Dallos. “It made him very proud and it was very exciting.”

Looking back at the career of somebody as successful as Robert Dallos it is easy to get lost in his long list of achievements or awards, but when telling the life of Robert Dallos is crucial to understand that family was always the most important thing in his life.

“He loved his family, and he loved his children,” said his wife. “Each time they achieve something now I remark, ‘if your father knew about this we would be so happy for you.’”

Nick Lamanna is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


In: Lives 08 Mar 2014 0 comments
Davud Morrow

David Morrow

By Michael Leibel

In what seemed to contradict the serious, busy attitude of Wall Street, David J. Morrow brought a calm, steady hand and a witty, sharp voice to a then-struggling financial news website and led it to success. co-founder and writer Jim Cramer credits Morrow for the website’s turnaround. Not only did Morrow value the input of his readers, he was also able to turn this feedback into news that mattered to his audience.

“He insisted on the highest quality journalism,” Cramer said, “and he always wanted to give the readers what they wanted – actionable, honest news that they could profit from.”

Morrow was born on Dec. 18, 1960, in Spartanburg, S.C. He attended the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications and graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree.

Morrow worked as a reporter for Fortune upon graduating. In a story in 1988, he was tasked with interviewing real estate mogul Donald Trump. In his reporting, Morrow was able to talk his way into pulling Trump’s bizarre hair to see if it was real.

“Squealing ‘Ooooh, you’re bad,’ he will let a reporter tug on his hair to test the rumor that he wears a rug,” Morrow wrote about a usually humorless Trump. “He doesn’t seem to; he does use hair spray.”

In 1993, he worked briefly with the Detroit Free Press as the Japan bureau chief, covering the automobile industry. After his stint in Japan, Morrow became a feature writer and articles editor for Smart Money Magazine.

Toni Simonetti, former executive director of corporate communications for General Motors, remembered Morrow’s thoughtfulness, recollecting advice he gave her in Detroit before she left to work in New York City.

“We had a parting lunch that week,” Simonetti said. “I still have the paper tablecloth upon which he sketched a guide for living in the city.”

Morrow was offered a job with the New York Times in 1996 as a business reporter. There, he covered personal finance, aviation and the pharmaceuticals industries.

In 2001, Morrow was hired by Cramer to become the editor in chief of Cramer hoped Morrow would bring the same performance and voice to the website that he did when working for Smart Money.

Earlier in the year, the website had laid off 40 people, roughly 20 percent of its workforce, in a restructuring attempt to reach profitability. In addition to the layoffs, which saw several senior editors and writers being dismissed, Morrow had to deal with the butting personalities of many of the analysts and bring a sense of unity to the newsroom.

“He steered us through some real tough times,” Cramer added.

Morrow undertook several initiatives to improve He created a premium section spinoff of the website called Real Money, which featured asset investment advice from well-renowned analysts and portfolio managers. Readers could access this content by paying a monthly subscription fee.

Morrow also created several columns, which gave a unique, sharp voice. Among them, “The Five Dumbest Things On Wall Street This Week,” became a reader favorite. The weekly feature ridicules the stupid and sometimes insane actions of Wall Street and corporate America.

Another column, “Mutual Monday,” gave readers an in-depth look at decisions made by fund managers. The daylong event also gave advice on funds to buy and sell, as well as interviews with leading fund managers.

“People like a little levity with their business news,” Cramer said when asked why he believes the columns became so popular. “Dave got that.”

Inside the newsroom, Morrow was able to get his writers to believe in the website. People began to have fun. Morrow’s leadership gave staff a sense of trust in the organization and allowed him to hold writers to higher standards.

And this effort produced results. reported its first profit in 2005, partially due to the new content that attracted readers to the site. A year later, “The Five Dumbest Things On Wall Street This Week” won SABEW’s Best in Business Award in the column category.

Under Morrow’s guidance, became a trusted and reputable financial news source. During his tenure as editor in chief, won five SABEW awards, one Loeb award, two New York Press Club awards and four awards from the Media Industry Newsletter, in addition to numerous nominations. Morrow also received MIN’s Best Editor of a Web Site Award in 2007.

Morrow ended his position with and became the first Donald W. Reynolds endowed chair in business journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno in the summer of 2009. Shortly after, Morrow died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 49 in 2010.

Morrow’s legacy continues to live on, however. In honor of his contributions to business journalism, the University of South Carolina, with the help of SABEW, created a fund that supports undergraduate or graduate students interested in business journalism.

It will be hard for any business journalist to follow Morrow’s act, which brought humor, wit and, most importantly, fun to Wall Street.

Michael Leibel is a business journalism major from Chapel Hill in the Class of 2014 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.