Business journalist and author James Stewart is leaving Dow Jones to become a New York Times business columnist.
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Stewart will succeed Joe Nocera, who left the business desk to become an op-ed writer for the Times. Stewart’s column will appear on Saturdays. In order to take the job, Stewart is walking away from the company that has been his home for the past 27 years in Dow Jones. “I just think the Times is a great institution,” he said.
“I can write on a broader subject at the Times,” he continued. “The Journal, the way it’s structured, I don’t think could have offered me the same kind of column. In the many years that I’ve been connected to Dow Jones, there’s been a good deal of change. I was happy here. It was really the opportunity to do something new, with a somewhat different audience and a new challenge. That’s how you stay young, really.”
Stewart said that it was “healthy to make a change,” but also said his decision was influenced by the fact that he knows so many more people at the Times now.
“I think as you get older working with people you really like is a big plus,” said Stewart, who is 59. “I don’t know most of the people at the top of the Journal anymore. But the people at the top of the Times, I know really well. Larry Ingrassia, [managing editor] John Geddes and [managing editor] Jill Abramson were all extremely close friends of mine from years past at the Journal.”
He said his Times column will be a broader column about business. “One thing I liked about Joe’s column is he skillfully within the context of a column was able to develop some narrative,” he said. “I want to keep doing that. I want to look at the impact of real people. I want to focus on some of my traditional themes, which include ethical behavior, transparency, fair dealing, but maybe give it a little bit more of a corporate focus.”
The column begins in June.
The move is a big one in many ways for the Times. For starters, it adds a marquee name at a time when the Times has had some talent retention issues. In the last six months, the paper has lost op-ed columnist Frank Rich to New York Magazine; foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins to The New Yorker; op-ed editor David Shipley to Bloomberg, and Sunday business editor Tim O’Brien to the Huffington Post. And in the growing narrative of Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones vs. the Times, score a big one for publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Stewart has had a long and distinguished career at Dow Jones. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, and was a former Page One editor. He also won the George Polk Award in 1987 and Gerald Loeb awards in 1987, 1988 and 2006. He will continue writing for The New Yorker.