Our Own Hall of Fame
WILLARD M. KIPLINGER
THEN CAME DEWEY!
Financial Pundit Kiplinger Rarely Wrong in 38 Years
DAYTON DAILY NEWS MARCH 19, 1961
BY MARY ELLEN LYNCH
Daily News Staff Writer
The Chicago Tribune wasn’t the only one that boo-booed on the 1948 election. The next day Willard M. Kiplinger’s magazine, Changing Times, came out with this cover story: “What Will Dewey do?”
But the Bellefontaine native Kiplinger has been right much more often than he has been wrong. In 38 years as a financial and political pundit, he has built a punchy, prophetic prose style into a $5 million-a-year-plus publishing business.
“KIP” (who’s now 70) attended Logan county schools, then got an AB at Ohio State in 1912. He stayed in Columbus four years working as a reporter on the Ohio State Journal and for the Associated Press.
Then, after four more years as a financial writer for the AP in Washington and a stint at freelancing, Kiplinger took a $1,000 nest egg and established his now-famous Washington Newsletter.
HIS IDEA was to fill the gaps in normal news reporting—to let business men know how the Washington winds were blowing and what the economic trends were.
The going was rocky at first, but Kiplinger, a hard-working (70 to 80 hours a week), astute reporter, gradually built his weekly newsletter into a leader in a rapidly crowding field.
(Today subscribers range from an Arkansas sharecropper to three Abyssinian business men.)
IN 1916 Kiplinger branched out again. This time he rented two barren rooms over a typewriter repair shop in the capital, bought some second hand desks, hired four helpers and launched “Changing Times.”
After hard birth pangs, the fist issue of the monthly magazine appeared in January 1947.
“I wanted,” Kiplinger said, “to bring the economic guidance I had been dishing out to business men down to the family level… At first hardly anyone but the staff read it, but we read it over and over…”
THE MAGAZINE accepted no advertising and it took six years to get out of the red. But today “Changing Times” reaches an estimated five million people, and Kiplinger publications are housed in a new 10-story office building.
Phi Beta Kappa Kiplinger has surrounded himself with other Phi Betes (none of them wear their keys). They don’t attend press conferences, but dig most of their material out of talkative second-string government officials.
Kiplinger himself is quiet, modest, limelight avoiding. But when he speaks, business men, financiers and housewives worrying about he family budget are inclined to listen.
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