Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991. With Kara Swisher, he currently co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries. In addition to Personal Technology, Mr. Mossberg also writes the Mossberg's Mailbox column in the Journal and edits the Mossberg Solution column, which is authored by his colleague Katherine Boehret. On television, Mr. Mossberg is a regular technology commentator for the CNBC network, where he appears every Thursday on the mid-day Power Lunch program. He is also a regular contributor to Dow Jones Video on the Web.
In a major 2004 profile of Mr. Mossberg, entitled "The Kingmaker," Wired Magazine declared: "Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures." Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. In May of 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Rhode Island. In May of 2002, he was inducted into the ranks of the Business News Luminaries, the hall of fame for business journalists. That same year, he won the World Technology Award for Media and Journalism.
Walt Mossberg: I guess it must have been ’64 and ’65, they started this experiment. And they gave . . . They provided space for a column for every high school in their metro area. And it was not a democratic process. The English department or the principal or somebody in all these high schools appointed the columnists. And in my case, out of the blue they asked me to do it. And they asked me to do it together with the guy who was, at the time, my best friend in high school. And it’s somebody whose name is now well known. It’s James Woods, the Hollywood actor who went to high school with me. And he and I started to write this little column together. It was a completely uncontroversial column. All of them were. It was just like what was going on at the school; but not really what was going on. It was sort of officially what was going on. And he was then and now very interested in acting. So he dropped out of doing this after about a month and I kept it up on my own. And at the end . . . And I got bitten by the bug of journalism. I mean I think that, you know, if you’re a journalist your job is to question authority. And certainly the entire political climate in which I grew up, culminating really in Watergate, by which time I already was a journalist. But I mean that whole feeling that the government and authority could not be wholly trusted, that there was something noble about questioning authority played heavily into my attraction to journalism, yes.
Recorded on: 9/13/07