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The Kiplinger Letter Celebrates 90 Years of Looking Ahead

The Kiplinger Letter Celebrates 90 Years of Looking Ahead
— Concise, telegraphic style shaped Washington newsletter journalism —

   WASHINGTON (Sept. 16, 2013)  — The Kiplinger Letter, the most widely read business forecasting periodical in the world, is celebrating 90 years of weekly economic and political predictions. The oldest continually published newsletter in the U.S. (if not the world), The Kiplinger Letter pioneered a concise, telegraphic style that was widely emulated by other publications in the decades to follow.

 In the Letter’s “sweep-line” style, key points are underlined at the start of each line, which ends in hard punctuation on the right margin. (Tweeters take note: Two lines of a Kiplinger Letter total about 140 characters.)

 The Letter’s notable financial forecasts include the stock market crash of 1929, the post-World War II boom and inflation, the bursting of the tech stock bubble in 2000, and the strong recovery of stock prices from the depths of the 2008-‘09 bear market.

 With the exception of President Truman’s 1948 comeback defeat of Thomas Dewey, the Letter has correctly called every presidential election since 1924—including cliffhangers in 1960 (Kennedy), 1976 (Carter), 2000 (George W. Bush) and 2012 (the reelection of Obama). The Kiplinger organization is strictly nonpartisan, never endorsing any candidate or program and avoiding wishful thinking that would taint its forecasts.

 But more than its political and market forecasts, “it is the Letter’s practical advice for business managers on their day-to-day decisions that has kept the Letter relevant and valued for 90 years,” says editor in chief Knight Kiplinger. “We don’t have a crystal ball; we base our forecasts on solid reporting with the savviest sources we can find, and our readers reward us with very strong renewal of their subscriptions.”

 The Letter is also known for not identifying or quoting its sources, a practice which encourages public officials to give Kiplinger their most honest and candid judgments (which sometimes differ from their public statements).

 Newspaper journalist W. M. Kiplinger, who had covered economic policy in the Woodrow Wilson administration for the Associated Press, crafted the first issue on his Underwood manual typewriter.

 Five hundred copies of the first Letter—with an enclosed subscription order--were mailed on September 29, 1923, to clients of the “business intelligence” agency Kiplinger had founded three years before.  An annual subscription cost $10...the equivalent of $140 in today’s dollars, compared with the Letter’s current subscription price of $117.

 The Kiplinger Letter has a paid weekly circulation of 116,000--and pass-along readership in America’s offices probably several times that. It is the flagship publication of a media company that includes Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine (the first magazine on personal money management, founded in 1947, now at 600,000 circulation); The Kiplinger Tax Letter (96,000 circulation); the fast-growing Web site; and several other business and personal-finance publications.

 Knight Kiplinger is the third generation of the Kiplinger family to edit the Letter, following his grandfather, who died in 1967, and his father, Austin, who is editor emeritus at age 95.

 In this day of media conglomerates and frenzied mergers, Kiplinger is unusual in being a closely held, family-run business under its original ownership—the oldest such for-profit publisher in Washington.

About Kiplinger

For nine decades, the Kiplinger organization has led the way in personal finance and business forecasting. Founded in 1920 by W.M. Kiplinger, the company developed one of the nation's first successful newsletters in modern times. The Kiplinger Letter, launched in 1923, remains the longest continuously published newsletter in the United States. In 1947, Kiplinger created the nation's first personal finance magazine. is the fastest growing Web site in the personal finance space. Located in the heart of our nation's capital, the Kiplinger editors remain dedicated to delivering sound, unbiased advice for your family and your business in clear, concise language. Become a fan of Kiplinger on Facebook<> or<> and follow Kiplinger on Tumblr<> and Twitter<>.


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Monday, September 16, 2013