So What Do You Do, Jeff Macke, Author and Investment Reporter for Yahoo Finance?


The media world is filled with personalities who started out in other fields entirely and were able to use their previous experience to break into TV news or publishing. For Jeff Macke, the reverse was true: when he started writing on investment site The Motley Fool in the 1990s, he saw it as a way to advance his career in finance. That’s when he discovered a need he could address: spot information holes and fill them. When Macke looks at a stock, he sees its backstory: where a company has been, where it’s headed, what it’s doing right, what it’s doing wrong. That ability to see the story behind the symbols on the rolling stock ticker, combined with an innate on-screen comfort, made him a natural fit for the world of stock punditry. Soon, the former hedge fund manager found himself making the jump from finance show guest to one of the founding hosts of CNBC’s Fast Money.

Now a reporter on Yahoo Finance, and with a new book, Clash of the Financial Pundits, co-authored with Joshua Brown, under his belt, Macke still views himself as a trader exploring the intricacies, trend lines and possibilities of various investments, albeit publicly. And because his stock tips and investment advice are playing out in front of an audience, Macke sees a dual mission for his work as “trying to educate and inform at the same time.”

Macke talks with Mediabistro about how hosting on a digital site differs from broadcast TV and how he follows his own instinct and curiosity as a way to stand out from the competition.

Name: Jeff Macke
Position: Yahoo Finance business and investing reporter
Resume: Started hedge fund Macke Asset Management in 1998. One of the founding hosts of Fast Money on CNBC in 2006. Reporter and host on Yahoo Finance since 2011.
Birthday: April 7, 1969
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota
Education: B.A. in psychology, Dartmouth; M.B.A., Stanford
Marital status: Married
Media mentors: “I think that the spiritual godfather of modern punditry is really [Jim] Cramer. In terms of just strictly media, Dylan Ratigan is someone I have gotten to know [that] had a lot of insight over the years.”
Best career advice received: “A lot of the best advice you don’t realize is good advice until after the fact, unfortunately. But I think that for me, something that’s been a theme is trying to always keep exploring different ideas, and different angles and concepts.”
Guilty pleasure: “I’m just trying to get rid of guilt entirely. I truly, genuinely don’t believe in guilt all that much.”
Last book you read: Batman; Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell
Twitter handle: @jeffmacke

You started writing about your craft when running a hedge fund. What led you into writing?
I started writing before that. I’ve always been writing to a degree. People started paying attention when I was running the hedge fund. There was this early kind of wave of investment writing that took place in the mid-90s, when I started writing for the The Motley Fool. Frankly, I was just going there because it was an easy way to get information before I had set up my hedge fund and was paying for all the top-notch information. Through communicating with people in forums I started writing about stocks just to fill gaps that seemed to exist. I was trying to fill voids and trying to both learn and help people at the same time.

Dylan Ratigan, former host of CNBC’s Fast Money, reached out to you about appearing on his show. How did that happen?
I got to know Dylan from doing hits on CNBC. I started doing his show Bulls Eye as a relatively regular guest with weekly or twice-weekly hits. There used to be a segment of it called ‘Wine and Cheese,’ where I was in New York and I would hang and they would serve wine at the end, which was ironic because Dylan and I don’t drink. As a function of that, we started talking about the limits of financial media as it existed then and the ways it could be made better and the ways it could be more exciting. They were building [Fast Money], which Dylan and Susan Krakower were developing together, and I got put into the mix for that. They flew me out weekly for the better part of the year and we would come out and work with different people and beat the show into shape, and try to come up with a way where there would be an advancement on the idea of, ‘Here’s a box. This guy’s a bull. This guy’s a bear. Let’s have them fight for a while.’