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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Restless Genius

Restless Genius

Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism

Richard J. Tofel

St. Martin's Press



The story of the man who transformed The Wall Street Journal and modern media

In 1929, Barney Kilgore, fresh from college in small-town Indiana, took a sleepy, near bankrupt New York financial paper—The Wall Street Journal—and turned it into a thriving national newspaper that eventually was worth $5 billion to Rupert Murdoch. Kilgore then invented a national weekly newspaper that was a precursor of many trends we see playing out in journalism now.

Tofel brings this story of a little-known pioneer to life using many previously uncollected newspaper writings by Kilgore and a treasure trove of letters between Kilgore and his father, all of which detail the invention of much of what we like best about modern newspapers. By focusing on the man, his journalism, his foresight, and his business acumen, Restless Genius also sheds new light on the Depression and the New Deal.

At a time when traditional newspapers are under increasing threat, Barney Kilgore's story offers lessons that need constant retelling.

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Richard J. Tofel

RICHARD J. 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 is the author of Sounding the Trumpet (2005), about JFK's inaugural address; Vanishing Point (2004), about the disappearance of Judge Crater; and A Legend in the Making (2002), about the 1939 Yankees.

image of Richard J. Tofelo
© Lars Klove

St. Martin's Press

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