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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Distinguished Speaker Series > Steven Pearlstein

Distinguished Speaker Series

Steven PearlsteinSteven Pearlstein
Pulitzer Prize-winning Business Columnist
The Washington Post

The Morning After
The Economic Mess Facing the New President

November 6, 2008


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About Steven Pearlstein

Steven Pearlstein is an award-winning  business and economics columnist for The Washington Post. He joined the Post in 1988 as deputy business editor, overseeing the paper’s daily and Sunday coverage. He returned to reporting in 1991 to cover the defense industry following the end of the Cold War. Two years later, he became the newspaper’s chief economic correspondent. In 1998, Steve moved to Toronto as the Post’s Canadian correspondent, returning in 2000 to Washington and the business sector to cover the bursting of the tech and telecom bubble. He began writing his twice-weekly opinion column for the Post in the spring of 2003, and quickly got a reputation for unpredictable, hard-hitting commentary on a wide range of issues, from business and management to economics and economic policy. Steve won the Gerald Loeb Award for his columns in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008, the first business columnist ever to win that award.

Steve started out in journalism in 1973 right out of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where he was editor of the school newspaper. He worked is first job was at Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, N.H., an afternoon daily that is last newspaper in America to still bear the name of its owners. He later moved to the Concord, N.H. Monitor where he covered local, state and federal courts. One story caught the eye of John Durkin, the newly elected U.S. senator, who invited Steve to Washington to join his staff. For the next two years, Steve served as Durkin’s press secretary and administrative assistant before jumping to the House of Representatives, where he served as administrative assistant to Rep. Michael Harrington of Massachusetts.

With Harrington’s retirement from politics in 1978, Steve moved to Boston’s public television station, WGBH-TV, where he was a writer and on-air reporter for the nightly Ten O’Clock News. In 1982, he left the station and launched the Boston Observer
a monthly journal of liberal opinion for which he held the official title as editor and publisher but unofficially was also the ad salesman, circulation director, and typesetter. The Observer was a critical success but not a financial one, and closed its doors in 1986. For the next two years, he worked as a senior editor at Inc., the business monthly magazine, until being recruited to The Washington Post.

Steve grew up in Brookline, Mass., where he attended public schools. Later, while working in Boston, he lived in the small town of West Newbury, where he served two terms as the elected town moderator. He now lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Wendy Gray. His daughter Laura works in advertising in New York. His son Eli majors in broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California.

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