Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Beat Reporting: The New York Times

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Beat Reporting: The New York Times

Article excerpt

Morgenson's the Word on the Street

Humility is not always on the agenda of a reporter on the day she wins a Pulitzer Prize. But last week, hours after her award was announced, the honoree returned a call to E&P saying simply: "Hello, this is Gretchen Morgenson. I'm a reporter for The New York Times."

While the Times won a record seven Pulitzers, Morgenson's award stands out because it's one of the few that cited individual achievement - for her writing about Wall Street, both in the daily newspaper and as "Market Watch" columnist in the Sunday paper - rather than a team effort. But Morgenson would not indulge in self-congratulation.

"You're never alone when you win a Pulitzer Prize," she says. There's Deputy Business Editor Winnie O'Kelley ("my daily inspiration she sees where I'm going with a story before I do"); Sunday Business Editor Judith Dobrzynski (who "always makes my stories better"); and Business Editor Glenn Kramon ("a great advocate for the stories I write, which are arcane sometimes - Wall Street tries to make things seem impenetrable").

What makes Morgenson stand out among business writers is a relentless advocacy for clarity and fairness in Wall Street's murky waters. As a storyteller, she can be as smooth as Flannery O'Connor - yet as scary as Stephen King - as when she described how two Morgan Stanley Dean Witter brokers took a Microsoft Corp. executive's $700,000 nest egg and left him with $403.95 and a $40,000 tax bill ("One Investor. Two Brokers. An Account Runs Dry," July 22), and when she detailed how stock-market analysts kept raising share-price targets, despite evidence to the contrary, so that "investors were emboldened to stay at the party even after the band had gone home" ("Price Targets Are Hazardous to Investors' Wealth," Aug. 5).

Morgenson, 46, was raised in State College, Pa. …

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