Norman Pearlstine is an American journalist who has held senior editorial positions at The Wall Street Journal, Time Inc. and Time Warner, Bloomberg L.P., The Los Angeles Times, and Forbes.
After graduating from Haverford College and the law school of The University of Pennsylvania, Pearlstine joined The New York Times as a copyboy. He quit four months later after The Wall Street Journal offered him a staff reporter job.
Pearlstine spent 23 of the next 25 years at the Journal. He worked as a reporter in Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles. He was North Asia bureau chief, based in Tokyo, a founding editor of the Journal’s Asian edition in Hong Kong, and the first Editor in Chief and Publisher of its European edition in Brussels. He presided over the Journal’s global news operations for nine years—1983 to 1992—during which it was America’s largest newspaper. (There was a two-year hiatus when he served as Forbes’s Executive Editor for West Coast and Pacific, based in Los Angeles.)
After leaving the Journal in 1992, Pearlstine launched SmartMoney magazine, a Hearst-Dow Jones joint venture, and in 1993 he became the general partner of a media startup focused on migrating high-value print content to electronic platforms. The partnership had three backers—Barry Diller/QVC, Martin Davis/Paramount Communications, and investor Richard Rainwater. The partnership was short-lived dissolving after Diller/QVC sought to disrupt the Viacom/Paramount merger by launching a hostile takeover effort against Paramount.
Shortly thereafter, Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin named Pearlstine Time Inc.’s fifth Editor in Chief and the first to come from outside the company. Pearlstine spent eleven years at Time Inc. and its parent, Time Warner. As Editor in Chief, he was responsible for the words and pictures in 154 publications, including Time, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, In Style, Entertainment Weekly, and Sunset. For several years, he also had business side/publishing responsibility for Time Inc.’s international, digital, and television efforts.
After leaving Time Warner, Pearlstine worked for two years at The Carlyle Group as Senior Adviser for Telecom and Media.
He then worked at Bloomberg L.P. as Chief Content Officer and simultaneously as Chairman of Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Government.
Pearlstine returned to Time Inc. as its Chief Content Officer in October 2013, a position he held until becoming Vice Chairman in 2016.
After retiring from Time Inc. in 2017, Pearlstine frequently wrote for Time and Fortune. He also served as Chief Information Architect (CIA) of Money.Net, a service for financial professionals that used machine learning, including AI, to replicate essential elements of the Bloomberg terminal at a fraction of its cost.
Pearlstine created an editorial product with licensed market data and without reporters or editors. He left the company at the end of 2017. (Money.net ceased operations in 2021.)
Pearlstine created an editorial product with licensed market data and without reporters or editors. He left the company at the end of 2017. (The company’s president died in 2019, and it ceased operations earlier this year.)
Pearlstine became Executive Editor of The Los Angeles Times in 2018 after Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired it from Tribune Corp. He held that position through December 2020.
Then, in 2018, Pearlstine became Executive Editor of The Los Angeles Times after Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired it from Tribune Corp. He held that position through December 2020.
Pearlstine is perhaps best known for the journalists he hired, trained, and promoted. At one time, the top editors at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, Time, Fortune, Money, People, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Businessweek, Inc, and Fast Company had one thing in common—they had all worked for Pearlstine before becoming editors of their respective publications.
Pearlstine serves on the boards of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Center for Communication, Leadership & Policy at USC Annenberg. He also serves as an advisor to North Base Media, a venture firm that invests in emerging market media companies.
Pearlstine previously served on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation, the New-York Historical Society, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, and Inside Climate News. From 2006 through 2012, he served as President and CEO of the American Academy in Berlin. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Asia Society.
Pearlstine is the author of Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources. In 2005 he received the American Society of Magazine Editors Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was inducted into the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame. He also received a Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in 2000, and he received the National Press Foundation’s Editor of the Year Award in 1989.
Pearlstine is married to Jane Boon, an industrial engineer who writes about technology and policy. Last year Jane published her first novel, Edge Play.
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