Biography of Bernard Kilgore '29 Reviewed in Philadelphia Inquirer
March 22, 2009
March 22, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "As Philadelphians wonder about the future of their daily newspapers, a biography of the man who transformed the Wall Street Journal into a well-reported, superbly written, extremely profitable publication seems to border on nostalgia," begins a Philadelphia Inquirer book review. "The biography need not be read with eyes toward the past, however. The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News, and other newspapers across the nation could regain their vital place in municipal life if their owners and editors followed the example of Bernard 'Barney' Kilgore: Give readers what they need and what they want, all the while aiming for a profit margin that never spills over into greed."
The book, Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal and the Invention of Modern Journalism, was authored by Richard J. Tofel. Kilgore, a 1929 graduate of DePauw University, was the publisher of the Journal and the longtime president of Dow Jones & Company. He was named "Business Journalist of the 20th Century."
In today's Inquirer, reviewer Steve Weinberg notes, "Kilgore began life in 1908 in a tiny Indiana town. Obviously a prodigy, he skated through adolescence before entering DePauw University. After becoming infected with the passion for journalism while working on the student newspaper, Kilgore joined the Wall Street Journal in 1929. A connection with a DePauw University alumnus provided the opening."
Weinberg states, "Kilgore invented much of what is best about modern journalism." He adds, "Relying heavily and wisely on correspondence between Kilgore and his father previously unavailable to prospective biographers, Tofel builds a newly rich account of his subject's achievements."
Access the complete text at the newspaper's Web site. Restless Genius was also reviewed in the March 9 Wall Street Journal. Learn more about the book in this story. [Download Video: "Bernard Kilgore Video Biography" - 9509kb]
Richard 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 will visit DePauw on April 17 to discuss Restless Genius and what Kilgore might do about the state of modern newspapers as part of a day-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi. Tofel's lecture will begin at 2 p.m. in Meharry Hall of historic East College and is free and open to all.Back