The digital media revolution powers a lifelong journalist’s sharp, business-minded autobiography.
Former Newsweek senior editor and BusinessWeek editor-in-chief Shepard, now in his 70s, acknowledges the inevitable replacement of traditional media with digital, portable formats. He writes that he foresaw the progression but never imagined its enormity. These musings fittingly accentuate his memoir, a chronicle that recalls a 50-year history as a distinguished journalist, beginning in the Bronx as a Jewish child born to a depressive mother and a hardworking father. A pretty grade school penmanship teacher helped foster an early love of writing, though Shepard misguidedly majored in engineering in college. In 1966, he became a 26-year-old rookie at BusinessWeek, married the first in a line of fellow journalists and penned stories as a foreign economic correspondent. Throughout a breezy wealth of anecdotes, truisms and historical asides, Shepard writes of spending a defining five years at Newsweek, a stint at the doomed Saturday Review, overseeing seminal investigative pieces and advocating an online version at BusinessWeek. While he firmly considers the Internet a destructive “Category Five storm for journalism,” Shepard concedes he’s come full circle in the understanding and even the advocacy of the great migration to digital formats. The author reports rather than complains or bemoans this media acculturation and feels the industry would be best suited by “a convergence of traditional and revolutionary.” Celebrating a two-decade tenure at BusinessWeek and a founding deanship at CUNY’s top-tier graduate journalism program, Shepard’s authoritative and cautionary blessing on the journalism world is both fitting and resolute.
Insightful and convivial account of a bright, bountiful life dedicated to words, information and wonder.