James Flanigan, whose twice-weekly column was a mainstay of enterprise coverage at The Times for some two decades, died Aug. 19 right after a transient ailment. He was 85.
From the mid-1960s — when he was lured west from a superior-degree modifying career at Forbes to improve The Times’ company and money coverage — right up until 2005, Flanigan guided Periods audience by means of a interval of dizzying improvements in organization, current market booms and crashes, bubbles and bursts, scandals and triumphs.
“He turned an immediate star in Los Angeles for the two his investigative reporting and his potent producing,” recalled Paul E. Steiger, the former Moments small business editor who recruited Flanigan and later served as managing editor of the Wall Avenue Journal and, until finally 2020, executive chairman of ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism firm, which he aided identified in 2008.
Steiger referred to as Flanigan “an outstanding expertise. His was a person of the finest combinations of reporting insight, human empathy, and producing flair that I at any time encountered in enterprise and financial journalism.”
Audience knew to anticipate in a Flanigan column percipience and foresight, expressed in swish, unaffected prose. His colleagues at The Times try to remember him for his generosity of spirit, previous-college colleagueship and his optimistic outlook on existence — and for giving cookies to the enterprise news employees every single Thursday, invariably accompanied by a stanza or two of impressed topical verse.
As early as 1983, Flanigan warned that the hole in between abundant and lousy in The us was widening. The ethos of “Neiman Marcus for the privileged, K-Mart for the rest,” he wrote then, was “reversing an egalitarian trend of fifty percent a century.” He known as for a redoubled expenditure in training “to maintain us a culture with possibility for all.”
That exact same calendar year, pondering Pope John Paul II’s protection of the Solidarity trade union in the course of a take a look at to his Polish homeland, Flanigan reminded his viewers that “the striving for dignity in the American do the job power is in our oldest tradition — way back over and above the increase of labor unionism in the late 19th Century, to the extremely beginnings of our field in New England.”
A recurrent theme in Flanigan’s perform was the added benefits of immigration. On July 3, 2005, in his last Sunday column for The Situations, he placed that in a personal context.
“Eighty many years in the past James Flanigan, my father, immigrated to New York from County Clare,” Eire, he wrote. “He was 21 several years previous with just 7 several years of schooling. He located do the job loading vans in a warehouse. In 1927, Jane Whyte arrived from the similar tiny city of Lahinch. She was 23 with six yrs of education and learning. She went to work — as most of the Irish ladies of that day did — in dwell-in domestic provider.”
In the 1930s, he recounted, his father turned one of the founders of New York’s Grocery Warehouseman’s Union (later on to develop into element of the Teamsters), but continued to do the job nights in warehouses all his everyday living, constructing an The usa that “gave me a wonderful instruction and the option to be a fellow who could stick to goals and appreciate the get the job done every day that I have carried out.”
All those who experienced come to The usa, he wrote, “observed perform and instruction for their children. And with the education and learning, their little ones got improved do the job. As it was then, so it is now and will be. As the Irish say, God bless the operate.” Flanigan’s 1st wife, Anne, was also an immigrant from Ireland. She died in 1992.
Flanigan’s abiding religion in the function of immigration in creating The united states served make him a most perceptive chronicler of the new immigrant expertise — that wave of Asian and Latino entrepreneurship that has created California in modern a long time.
The explosive, tumultuous emergence of Asia as an economic power he noticed as something to be not feared but comprehended, and he used much of 1999 on prolonged tours of Japan, Korea and China to make the phenomenon intelligible to the readers of The Moments.
In his final book, “The Korean-American Desire,” released in 2018, Flanigan traced the rise of that ethnic neighborhood to the position of “both a piece of the American cloth and a light shining towards America’s potential.”
Flanigan’s operate brought him several awards, capped in 2014 by the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Gerald R. Loeb Awards, which are deemed the highest accolades in American organization journalism.
“Jim is, by mother nature, assured in the potential — in Southern California’s and in the country’s, also the world’s,” observed Martin Baron, who not long ago retired as government editor of the Washington Article and was enterprise editor of The Instances for portion of Flanigan’s tenure as its organization columnist, in supporting Flanigan’s nomination for the award.
“He does not dismiss the obstructions, the failures, and the follies,” Baron pointed out, “but he has witnessed again and again how they are conquer as a result of innovation, push, and entrepreneurship, here and in a lot of the creating entire world.”
Recollects Flanigan’s daughter, Siobhan: “My father had two sayings that he recurring to me all my lifestyle, all the time: ‘Life is pleasure,’ and ‘there are no uninteresting folks in the entire world.'”
“Business journalism is a demanding but knockabout trade,” Flanigan would say, “full of mystery clues and pink herrings.” Questing for those insider secrets led him close to the environment, which include to the Soviet Union during the Cold War and to Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia right after the Gulf War. “He chased tales in Japan and Egypt and all over Europe and the United States,” Siobhan recalled.
James Joseph Flanigan was born in the Bronx, New York, on June 6, 1936. He graduated from New York’s Cardinal Hayes Substantial University and in 1961 from Manhattan College or university, which he done just after a two-12 months stint in the Army. In 1963 he secured his job as a company reporter at the Herald Tribune, where he had worked in the course of college or university as a evening copy boy and immediately after graduating as an editorial assistant and a New York-primarily based reporter for the Tribune’s Paris edition.
There he arrived less than the wing of his initial vital mentor in journalism, Tribune business editor Ben Weberman.
“I went to Ben and confessed, ‘I really don’t know substantially about business enterprise,’” Flanigan recalled.
Weberman replied, “So I’ll train you, and you are going to study how the real globe functions.”
After the Herald Tribune folded in 1966 Flanigan moved to the business magazine Forbes. There he fulfilled his next mentor, the magazine’s famous editor, James W. Michaels.
Michaels demanded that the writing be clear and advanced conditions be stated to the reader merely and immediately, Flanigan recounted. “’Readers are anxious people today,’” he would say. “’You should take them by the elbow and stroll them as a result of.’ A story must be ‘dulce et utile,’ sweetly or wittily instructed but occur to the place.”
A couple of several years following becoming a member of The Occasions, Flanigan was recruited back to New York by Michaels for a top-degree composing and enhancing part. The Occasions obtained him back, nonetheless, with an provide to come to be a columnist. Right after retiring from The Occasions in 2005, Flanigan continued to create, contributing a regular column to the New York Instances. His 1st reserve, “Smile Southern California, You’re the Middle of the Universe: The Financial system and Men and women of a Worldwide Region,” appeared in 2009.
Flanigan is survived by his daughter, Siobhan, of Portland, Ore., son Michael, of Chino, Calif., and his wife, the previous Patricia Quatrine, whom he married in 1997. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and a few stepdaughters, Gina Quatrine of Redondo Seaside Pamela Haase of Plymouth, Mich. and Christine Conway of Malibu.
This tale originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.