I recently saw the documentary "Mike Wallace is Here" which was a rather impressive overview of his career and his impact on journalism. He started outside the field of journalism, as an actor and pitchman, but he found his calling in hard hitting 1:1 interviews, starting at Night Beat, and he developed his style at a time when most such interviews were fluff pieces.
Certain interviews were iconic, such as this one with General Westmoreland. Some were absurd enough to spawn spoofs like this one about fake novelty joke items on SNL
But two things mentioned in the course of documentary struck me as relevant today.
1. The idea that healthy independent journalism is a reflection of a healthy democracy.
2. The reflection of the interviewer as a surrogate for the viewer.
On this latter point, an un-aired clip from his mid-1980's conversation with Oprah Winfrey was particularly interesting. Despite their differences in styles and presentations, and there's a tangible iciness between them (typical, I think of Mike Wallace interview; Morley Safer interviewed him later in life and asked him "why are you such a prick?") both Wallace and Winfrey said they both felt like surrogates for their viewers.
I think this stuck out partially b/c it reinforces the reality that there are many (many) pathways to success - Winfrey and Wallace followed very different paths - but each one "got there" on the basis of their own identity, voice and style.
But it also reinforced part of what I see as my motivation for writing here: If it interests me, it might interest someone, and I want to promote that community of curious investors. It's partly also why I write letters to management (if I have questions, issues or concerns, so likely does someone else) though on those occasion I am much more tangibly a surrogate for my clients, to whom I act as a steward of their capital.
On that note of capital stewardship, I recently posted my 2Q19 letter on my firm's website, which includes a few comments on long time holdings QRHC, CTEK, DAIO, SIFY and INS.
I always welcome the (non-spam) feedback from this growing community.
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- This is written with serious investors in mind, though sometimes they're just drafts in progress. I'm a former reporter, private investigator and institutional equity analyst who digs deep to find niche undervalued and undiscovered securities. I manage money for individuals, institutions and family offices via my business Long Cast Advisers. This blog is part decision-diary, part investment observations and part general musings about Philadelphia sports. It should not be viewed as a solicitation for business or a recommendation to buy or sell securities.