In Memoriam: Marshall Loeb, former editor of CJR, dies at 88

Marshall Loeb speaking at the Detroit Economic Club. (Photo by Bettmann, Getty Contributor)

Marshall Loeb, a former editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, died December 9 at the age of 88.

The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said his daughter Margaret Loeb. 

Loeb was an editor, commentator, columnist, and author who helped create modern business journalism and spent 38 years working for Time Inc., which included serving as managing editor of both Fortune and Money magazines.

Loeb was managing editor of Fortune from 1986 to 1994, managing editor of Money from 1980 to 1984, and writer, business editor, nation editor, economics editor, and columnist for Time, between 1956 and 1980. He won every major award in business journalism, and his reporting took him to more than 70 countries.

During his tenure, both Fortune and Money flourished, with Money becoming the country’s fastest-growing magazine. Over the course of his career, he interviewed US presidents including Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Carter, and Clinton, as well as world leaders, such as Mandela, Thatcher, and Gorbachev. He spotted rising investors and business executives such as Warren Buffet and Jack Welsh, and covered the space program, the Watergate scandal, and a dozen national political conventions. He considered his work at Fortune to have been his most satisfying.

While leading Fortune, Loeb was credited with expanding the traditional focus on business and the economy with added graphs, charts, and tables, as well as the addition of articles on topics such as executive life and social issues like education and homelessness. Loeb stepped down as managing editor of Fortune in May 1994 upon hitting Time Inc.‘s mandatory retirement age of 65. 

Loeb expanded his reach through radio and television. While running Money’s editorial division, he took over as host of “Your Dollars,” a daily two-minute CBS Radio Network feature broadcast nationally. He also appeared in a weekly five-minute segment for CBS television; and a 30-second segment, “Money Tips,” for WABC-TV in New York. His “Your Money” column was published in many newspapers. He served briefly as host of Wall Street Week on public television.  

He worked as editor of CJR from 1996 to 1999, and helped shape it into an influential publication followed by leaders of the US media industry. In 1999, he also was a juror for the committee that awards the Pulitzer Prizes, journalism’s highest honor.

He served as a member of the Board of Overseers of New York University’s Stern School of Business; a fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; a member of the International Advisory Council of the British-American Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; chairman of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Board of Advisors; and a former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Overseas Press Club.

Loeb began his career in journalism in high school, earning $15 a week as a sports reporter in Chicago. He was awarded a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. After graduating, he worked as a foreign correspondent for United Press in Frankfurt, Germany. He then was hired as a reporter by St. Louis Globe-Democrat, before he decided to move to New York in 1956, and joined Time Inc.

Loeb was born on May 30, 1929, on the West Side of Chicago. He is survived by two children, Michael and Margaret, and six grandchildren: Michael, Katie, Marc, Caroline, Jeremy, and Jason Loeb.  His wife Peggy Loeb, to whom he was married for 56 years, died October 27, 2010. They lived in Scarsdale, New York.

A memorial service will be held in New York in early 2018. Donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

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The Editors are the staffers of the Columbia Journalism Review.