Why former WSJ ME Steiger doesn’t like comparisons

Paul Steiger

Dean Rotbart has published an excerpt of his new book “Steiger: A Journalist in the Public Interest” (Coming 2023) on The Poynter Institute website.

Rotbart writes, “As a child, Steiger’s mother, Mary Walsh Steiger, a schoolteacher, counseled her son — a polio survivor — that ‘comparisons are odious.’ She told him he shouldn’t weigh his attributes against the other boys, either academically or on the athletic playing fields.

“It’s guidance he embraces to this day.

“Nevertheless, one of the critical attributes of successful journalists is competitiveness, and that demands a healthy amount of measuring oneself against one’s journalism peers and rivals.

“Steiger is reluctant to compare his record to that of others who are widely acknowledged to own a place in the pantheon of great 20th and 21st-century newspaper editors.

“Any such comparison is an imprecise undertaking because, in several respects, The Wall Street Journal isn’t like other respected newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.”

Read more here.

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