Morrow, RSJ professor, passes away at 49

2/2/2010 - By: John Trent

David Morrow, the first Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the Reynolds School of Journalism and a nationally respected figure in the journalism world for his eight-year tenure as editor-in-chief of TheStreet.com, died Monday evening from pancreatic cancer. He was 49.

Morrow’s death came about a month after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, the news was greeted with widespread support and words of encouragement throughout the world of journalism and business.

Morrow joined the RSJ faculty in August. Dean Jerry Ceppos said on Tuesday that even in that short time, Morrow’s influence was keenly felt by the school’s faculty, students and staff.

“Although he began work only in August, it feels as if Dave has been here for years,” Ceppos wrote in an e-mail Tuesday morning. “His gregarious nature, his enthusiasm and his desire to move quickly made him an important part of the faculty from his first day here.”

Morrow, during a 27-year career in journalism, made friends quickly, wrote and edited award-winning stories and helped re-define how business news, commentary and analysis are presented in the digital era.

In a story posted on TheStreet.com on Tuesday, Glenn Hall, editor of TheStreet.com, wrote that, “Dave left his imprint on many of the most influential media of our time, including SmartMoney magazine, The New York Times, The Detroit Free Press and Fortune magazine.”

Hall added of Morrow’s editorship of TheStreet.com, “During his eight years as Editor in Chief, Dave’s uncompromising drive for journalistic originality and success brought considerable growth and acclaim to the Web site. With Dave at the helm, TheStreet.com won five Society of Business Editors and Writers Awards, one Loeb Award, with five nominations in total, two New York Press Club awards, one Webby nomination, two Codie Award nominations, four Online Journalism Award nominations and four awards from the Media Industry Newsletter.

“These accomplishments culminated in Dave winning Min’s 2007 award for Best Editor of a Web Site and subsequently being inducted into Min’s Digital Hall of Fame.”

Morrow’s renown was such that national tributes began pouring in almost immediately from throughout the country when news of his death broke. Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” and founder of TheStreet.com, wrote of his former colleague:

“I miss Dave. I miss being on his page, a signature phrase that I would often smile at — after all we sometimes weren't — but I always felt comforted by. I liked being on Dave's page. It meant that I was doing it TheStreet.com way, which was his way, a way to stay together and keep the institution going forward with meaning and import. No matter what.

“Like so many others, I can't believe that he's not here, can't believe he will never walk in that door again, can't believe we will never hear that song again, out loud, in his voice. Yet, Dave, we're going to have some fun again at TheStreet.com. Not here, not now, not today. The sting and sadness of your passing is too terrible to sing along with your memory. But we will again sometime soon, because you have told us and taught us, even in the depths of our most difficult moments here, that we are supposed to have fun while we put out the best financial journalism there is, and we will do so, to honor your memory. “

Ceppos, in his e-mail, recounted his own favorite memory of Morrow: “In the proposal for his chair, we said that we’d use this academic year to plan our business program and then begin classes in September 2010. Dave’s reaction: Why in the world would it take a year to plan our courses? He posted notes in December to lure students to his introductory class in business journalism, which he called ‘Money, Money, Money’ – and the class began a few days ago, albeit without Dave.”

Ceppos said that a memorial service may be held next month in Morrow’s native South Carolina. “We don’t know the family’s wishes for memorials and such but will, of course, defer to them,” Ceppos wrote.

Ceppos added that notes can be sent in care of one of Morrow’s sisters, Beth Hammond, 305 Lake Road, Inman, SC, 29349.


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