Louise Story is a media leader with a track record of helping news companies grow and a journalist with a passion for great storytelling and incisive reporting that impacts the world. She is an expert on the future of the news business (which she teaches and consults on), race and money in America (the topic of her book) as well as international corruption and the 2008 financial crisis (two topics she covered as a reporter).
Louise has worn many hats in the media — investigative reporter, masthead editor, technologist, filmmaker, manager of large reporting and video projects, media and audience strategist, radio production, design thinker, product leader, head of innovation projects, builder of large teams and senior editor with responsibility for a large daily news report. She takes on projects that she feels will move the needle in helping the world have more journalism that matters. This podcast describes Louise’s impact-oriented approach to life and career.
Louise is currently working on a book project on the history of race and money in the United States. (Sign up here to keep up to speed on that.) And she is teaching at Yale University and Columbia University. (Information on her Yale course here.) She also takes on select consulting work for media company leaders focused on content, product and technology strategy and best practices.
The feature-length film Louise wrote and executive produced in 2018 — “The Kleptocrats” — debuted at NYC Doc Fest, aired on the BBC and toured to festivals in Australia, Europe and elsewhere. It was sold to Sony and Starz and can now be streamed on Apple and Amazon. The film grew out of one of Louise’s investigations, which led to a grand jury investigation, a $3.9 billion fine levied on Goldman Sachs, the criminal conviction of Malaysia’s prime minister and other impact around the world.
Louise most recently was the Chief News Strategist and Chief Product & Technology Officer at The Wall Street Journal. That job included scope across the full WSJ with a significant operational and strategic mandate. In the newsroom, Louise was one of the top five news editors and she oversaw the news strategy as well as its digital transformation. For the full WSJ (content and commercial), Louise oversaw the product engineering, design and product management teams. As the WSJ’s editor in chief wrote upon Louise’s departure, Louise “played a central role in advancing our digital transformation and broadening the reach and impact of our journalism. She has brought in new skills, capabilities and ways of thinking that have elevated our journalism and greatly improved our product, technology and data experiences for our members. Her work has helped guide our coverage and accelerate our growth in audiences and subscribers over the past three years.”
Prior to this role, Louise spent more than a decade at The New York Times. During that span, she helped lead multimedia and strategy initiatives and worked on ground-breaking projects as an investigative reporter that led to multiple billion-dollar plus financial settlements, government reforms and legal convictions.
Among her strategic role at The Times, she served as executive producer of the Times’ live interactive journalism managing a team that worked with more than 300 reporters to create and program original live video from the field and in studio. In 2015, she worked on a committee studying the Audience of the Times. In 2013-2014, she was a member of the Innovation Committee, which authored the Innovation Report. In 2012, she hosted and helped The Times create a live video news program for its web site. From 2009 until 2012, she produced live radio segments about business topics for “The Takeaway,” a national radio program that was partnered with The Times.
While at The Times, Louise’s investigative reporting work spurred major reforms and law enforcement cases.
From 2014-2015, she worked on a project about the rising use of shell companies to purchase high-end real estate. That project, which traced shell companies to places as far and wide as Malaysia, Russia, Mexico and China, can be read here. Louise was honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and her work resulted in: a federal program to track high-end real estate buyers, changes in New York City real estate regulations, a federal complaint in the U.S. against family members of a Chinese politician and a record setting Department of Justice kleptocracy case involving friends and family of Malaysia’s prime minister, who was found guilty of many charges of fraud as well as a $3.9 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs.
In 2012, she worked on a project about state and local business subsidies that was awarded the Silver Barlett & Steele award and helped lead to major reforms in financial reporting standards for local governments, requiring them to publicly disclose subsidies for the first time.
From 2008-2012, Louise wrote about Wall Street and finance and was one of the lead reporters in chronicling the financial crisis of 2008. Her articles about Wall Street also spurred change. One series on the advantages bankers enjoy over other investors and customers led to a major SEC case against Goldman Sachs and also to a $1.87 billion settlement paid by banks in the derivatives industry. Another series was on the lack of prosecutions related to the financial crisis.
While covering Wall Street, Louise contributed to a project that was a finalist for the 2010 Emmy Awards and to one that was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. She was also a finalist three times for the Gerald Loeb Award and was named one of the Huffington Post’s Game Changers for 2010.
Prior to covering Wall Street, Louise wrote about advertising and marketing for the Times. In 2005, she spent several months studying the motherhood plans of Ivy League female students and wrote an article on that topic that became the most e-mailed story of that year.
She has also written hundreds of articles for other news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
Louise earned a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University and an M.B.A. as well as a B.A. in American Studies at Yale University. She lives in New York City with her husband and two small dogs. In her free time, she bikes, runs marathons and is a rock climber. She occasionally posts on Medium.
Re: The recent New York Times piece about the future of the Journal.
I am a 67-year-old retired (white) cardiologist, thus a member of the Wall Street Journal’s traditional readership. Though I have appreciated the Journal’s news coverage and financial insight over the years, I stopped my subscription because I simply could not stomach the editorial tenor any longer. The prevailing ethos became “What is the reflexive conservative stance … What conservative though relatively peripheral elements of this story should I cleverly bang away at today, to the gross neglect of reason and overarching truth?” Enough was enough.
Hi Louise, I read the NYT article re your report to WSJ to broaden the reader base. If WSJ is resistant to covering social issues as justice issues, why not cover them as economic issues, in line with WSJ’s traditional focus? Bent is inclusion is good for business.
Ms.Storey, was always a fascinated reader when you were at the NYTimes, but could not stand to subscribe to WSJ to read Morgenson. Did not know you were at WSJ too, thought you were off living your life. So glad you are free again yourself. I do not use social media in any form. Be assured I will watch out for your book and monitor your site hence. So glad your brains and integrity are available again, Nancy