VOL. 126 | NO. 215 | Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wealth of Experience
By Andy Meek
Paul Tudor Jones loves the feel of newsprint in his hands.
The Daily News celebrates its 125th anniversary with speaker Paul Tudor Jones, right, brother of Daily News president Peter Schutt, from left, their father John Paul “Jack” Jones and publisher Eric Barnes.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
Get a newspaper business veteran talking – especially one from the pre-digital business, when the typing on newsroom keyboards sounded more like a clacking – and they can still hear the sounds, smell the ink and see the bustle. And they’ll tell you so.
Jones, whom the financial world knows as the founder of Tudor Investment Corp. and one of the richest men in the country, is one of those veterans.
Jones was an editor for three summers during his college years at The Daily News, the newspaper that’s been in his family for four generations. As a featured guest at the 125th anniversary party Tuesday, Nov. 1, for The Daily News, Jones told a crowd of several hundred businesspeople and political leaders he can still smell the “pungent, acrid” scent of the old linotype machines the paper once used.
He also said his time at The Daily News helped provide an invaluable foundation for the high-profile investment world he now inhabits.
Referring to the direct and to-the-point style of newspaper writing, Jones said “it taught me when you’re confronted with a problem to very quickly identify it and to order it.” He also said his time in journalism underscored one of the simple truths that also is a cornerstone of his current business.
“Nothing is more important than the ability to communicate,” he said, lamenting the occasions when subordinates or anyone he interacts with approaches him “magazine-style” – in a meandering way, with important points that could be sprinkled anywhere near the beginning, middle or end.
It’s what the audience should expect when listening to a newspaperman – one like Jones, who was deeply involved with The Daily News many years ago and still fondly recalls even the most passing moments of those days.
“To survive, The Daily News was no fluke,” Jones told his audience. “It had great people in charge.”
Those people in charge today include Jones’ brother, Peter Schutt, the president and CEO of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.
The newspaper business is in the family’s DNA. Jones said whenever he sees his father – John Paul “Jack” Jones, who ran the paper for more than three decades and also ran a law practice for some of that time – many times the older Jones will ask his son, “Did you see the paper yesterday?”
Meanwhile, his family’s newspaper – and, of course, so many others around the country – have tried to make sense of the financial calamity of 2007-2008 and to chase the new details even as they try to make sense of the aftermath of that crisis.
Jones is one of the most influential market gurus in the world. As a measure of his influence today, The New York Times in a 2007 article headline referred to him as “The Man Who Won as Others Lost,” a description of his famous prediction of the stock market crash of 1987.
So, naturally, Jones also had a lot to say Tuesday about the state of the country’s economy.
He addressed Occupy Wall Street, which has morphed into a nationwide movement, by noting the work of the Robin Hood Foundation, the group he founded that fights poverty in New York City.
“At the Robin Hood Foundation, we’re bridge builders,” he said, explaining that the foundation tries to provide a bridge to move disadvantaged people across the “fantastic river of life our economy is” and get them into the mainstream.
“But when you get there today, a lot of times that river is frozen,” he said. “So now, how do we build a bridge so that there’s a sustainable way out of poverty? Andrew Carnegie said a man who dies rich is really a poor man. So I know what I’m going to do.”
He pointed to the nation’s current unemployment picture.
“(Occupy Wall Street supporters) have a good point when they talk about how our system’s busted,” Jones said. “I’m not sure what the answer is. But I plan to step up more so than I ever have in the past.”
His charitable work includes helping raise more than $1 billion to fight poverty in New York. He’s also pursued humanitarian work in Africa and founded a charter school in New York.
During his remarks, Jones lamented the fact the United States is facing what he says is its biggest wealth disparity in more than 100 years – leaving the U.S. perched, he said, somewhere between Rwanda and Iran.
Jones also thinks the markets may end up forcing the federal government to clean up the nation’s balance sheet in as little as three or four years from now. And he said that would present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to own assets.
“I’ve had 35 years of trading with a time horizon of everything from minutes to months,” Jones said.
Whenever that course correction occurs, Jones said “at that point I’ll get to play Warren Buffett and buy whatever I want, smile and crack a few jokes.
“But whatever happens, The Daily News will be there to cover it.”