From Vogue Magazine ‘Slave’ to a Pulitzer Prize

New York Times business reporter Gretchen Morgenson chats with MinnPost.

VogueSeptember1976CoverAhead of a keynote speech Tuesday at the annual awards banquet of the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, New York Times business reporter Gretchen Morgenson spoke with MinnPost contributor David Beal about her illustrious career.

It all started for the Minnesota grad in 1976, when she moved to New York for an $8,000-a-year job with Vogue magazine. She lasted there for five years, despite the fact that she worked for a very difficult editor. From the conversation:

”I graduated during the Watergate era. Here I was reading all of these really great stories. I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be great to be a political reporter covering Washington. I sent my résumé all around. The silence was deafening. Nobody was interested in hiring me. The only job I could get was as a slave at Vogue magazine. I could type more than 35 words a minute, so there were reasons why they hired me. I kind of elbowed my way up to writing a personal finance column there, which nobody read and probably nobody even knew they had.”

After a stint with Dean Witter Reynolds, Morgenson landed at Forbes and in the company of a tough but much more nurturing boss: Jim Michaels, who a colleague at the magazine joked had the ability to sum up the Lord’s Prayer in six words without anyone knowing the difference.

Morgenson joined the New York Times in 1998 and won the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting four years later for her coverage of Wall Street. Read the rest of her Q&A with Beal, also the treasurer of the SPJ MN Chapter, here.

P.S. The Pulitzer Web folks need to correct their listing of Morgenson’s prize. They’ve got her last name severely misspelled.

Update (May 20):
MinnPost has published Morgenson’s remarks.
[Pictured, via Pinterest: Patti Hansen on the cover of the September 1976 issue of Vogue]