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1 Burnside Journalism- General

Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism

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Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paper—The Wall Street Journal—and turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgores story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

Richard J. Tofel is general manager of ProPublica, a not-for-profit investigative reporting venture, and previously was an assistant managing editor and the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Sounding the Trumpet (2005), about JFKs inaugural address; Vanishing Point (2004), about the disappearance of Judge Crater; and A Legend in the Making (2002), about the 1939 Yankees.

Richard J. Tofel's Restless Genius tells the story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media.

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paper—The Wall Street Journal—and turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

“Barney Kilgore is a legend to those of us who work in journalism. Now Richard Tofel brings him to life for a wide audience in this vivid, insightful, compelling biography. With traditional journalism under siege from the Internet, the story of how Kilgore created and implemented new and higher standards of reporting and writing couldnt be more timely. More than any single person, Kilgore made The Wall Street Journal the pillar of journalism it is today and hopefully will remain for many generations.”—James B. Stewart, author of Den of Thieves and DisneyWar

Restless Genius, Richard J. Tofels compelling biography of Barney Kilgore, recounts the growth of The Wall Street Journal from narrow trade publication to national business daily. It is a must read for anyone who cares about business journalism and the business of journalism.”—Norman Pearlstine, Chief Content Officer, Bloomberg, and author of Off the Record

“Richard J. Tofel has given us an original, fascinating, and vivid account of the life of an original, fascinating, and vivid man—Barney Kilgore, who, Tofel brilliantly argues, created modern journalism. As the architect of The Wall Street Journal, Kilgore, beginning at an amazingly young age, invented much of what we take for granted in newspapers, magazines, and online today. Too little known, Kilgore is one of those American figures who needed a great writer to bring him out of the mists of history, and Tofel has done it splendidly. Kilgore would be proud.”—Jon Meacham, editor, Newsweek, and author of American Lion

"Short biography of the man who turned The Wall Street Journal into the most successful paper in America. Having taken only a single economics course at DePauw University, Barney Kilgore arrived in New York City in 1929 to accept a reporting job at the Journal a mere seven weeks before the biggest market meltdown in the nation's history. During the course of his nearly 40-year career he would hold every important position at the paper, revolutionize the notion of business news and turn the enterprise founded by Charles Dow and Edward Jones into a national force. As a field reporter during the Great Depression, Kilgore wrote not for bankers, but for bank depositors, for and from the perspective not of insiders, but of readers, believing business news should be broadly understood as affecting everyone who makes a living . . . The author supplies a potted history of the paper, a look at the Bancroft family (especially C.W. Barron), who owned the Journal for 105 years, and mini-portraits of Bill Kerby, Vermont Royster, William Henry Grimes and Casey Hogate, all instrumental to the rise of Kilgore and the Journal. The changes Kilgore wrought, stylistic and substantive, included using anecdotal leads and 'nut grafs' to give stories a magazine feel, employing front-page news summaries, establishing nationwide printing plants, adopting the Electric-Typesetter and attending to the new science ofopinion polling. All helped shoot the Journal ahead of competitors, giving the paper sufficient clout and credibility to prevail in a memorable 1955 face-off with the country's largest corporation, General Motors, when the unhappy giant threatened to pull advertising over a dispute with the paper's coverage. Good reading for students of journalism and for general readers interested in the history of an extraordinary institution, acquired last year by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation."—Kirkus Reviews

"While Barney Kilgore might not be widely known to many outside of the newspaper industry, the Wall Street Journal, which evolved out of his lifetime of hard work, is certainly known to businesspeople and informed readers around the world. The story of Kilgore and this influential newspaper is captured in a compelling biography by Tofel, former managing editor and assistant publisher of the Journal. This is not only an account of one man's life during the Depression and the New Deal but also a history of the Journal in particular and business and financial newspapers in general. The cutting-edge ideas and writing style that Kilgore developed transformed the paper from a narrowly focused financial bulletin to the leading business news source it is today. What makes this work especially appealing is the incorporation of the many letters Kilgore wrote to his father, giving the reader a glimpse into this esteemed newsman's way of thinking about his newspaper and the news of the day."—Donna Marie Smith, Library Journal

"One of the forgotten titans in American journalism, Barney Kilgore is the subject of a new book by Tofel, a former assistant publisher of the Wall Street Journal and author of Sounding the Trumpet. A Midwesterner from Indiana, Kilgore emerged from smalltown America to rise through the ranks at the Wall Street Journal on the eve of the Great Depression. Through the war years of the 1940s into the Cold War era, he reshaped the publication's news focus, visuals, composition, circulation and advertising. He championed a unique style of journalism as its top executive, with keen instincts, intelligence and a progressive view, transforming the broadsheet into a first-class national business newspaper. Innovative and unyielding, Kilgore had one of his finest moments when he faced down General Motors in a controversial 1954 advertising spat, bolstering the newspaper's reputation. Tofel's excellent work on this pivotal figure in journalism is a significant addition to the seminal books on American media."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paperThe Wall Street Journaland turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgores story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

Synopsis:

The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paper—The Wall Street Journal—and turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgores story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

About the Author

RICHARD J. TOFEL is general manager of ProPublica, a not-for-profit investigative reporting venture, and previously was an assistant managing editor and the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Sounding the Trumpet (2005), about JFKs inaugural address; Vanishing Point (2004), about the disappearance of Judge Crater; and A Legend in the Making (2002), about the 1939 Yankees.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312536749
Subtitle:
Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism
Author:
Tofel, Richard J
Author:
Tofel, Richard J.
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
BIO025000
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Media Studies - Print Media
Subject:
Journalists -- United States.
Subject:
Newspaper editors -- United States.
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090203
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Plus one 8-page bandw photo insert
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.51 x 6.47 x 1.06 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Journalism » General

Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312536749 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paperThe Wall Street Journaland turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgores story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

"Synopsis" by ,
The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paper—The Wall Street Journal—and turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgores story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

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