The experts at IG, an online trading and investments provider, share the story of Forbes Magazine’s founder:
“Did you know that one of the most influential financial journalists of the 20th century began his career in Dundee? Yes, that’s right, the author who founded Forbes Magazine, Bertie Charles Forbes, studied at University College Dundee which was then part of the University of St Andrews.
Forbes, who was born in New Deer, Aberdeenshire, had often been told by his teachers that he had a way with words, urging him to consider a career in journalism. After graduating from the University College, Forbes than gained employment as a type compositor for the Peterhead Sentinel, before returning south again to secure his first reporting role with the Dundee Courier.
It was in Dundee where Forbes would grow in confidence, working his way up the internal ranks within DC Thomson to secure the Courier’s senior reporter title, before opting to make the bold move to South Africa and take up a similar post in Johannesburg. Forbes began work on the Rand Daily Mail, which was widely regarded for its bravery and boldness. Years later, the Rand would go on to expose the Muldergate Scandal and the truth behind the suspicious death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.
Forbes always had a knack for delving deeper and beyond the financial figures to get to the nuts and bolts of stories, despite being in an era when the financial markets used far less sophisticated tools than they do today. Indeed nowadays newcomers to the financial markets can practice trading in the foreign exchange and stock markets using forex trading platforms with virtual money to help get a feel for good and bad investments.
Despite working in Scotland and South Africa, Forbes always had a hankering to live and work in the United States of America. He once called New York the “greatest newspaper town in the world” when he decided to emigrate to the States in 1904. He gained employment as a writer and financial editor for the Journal of Commerce and Commercial Bulletin. His talents were soon recognised by the then media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who promptly employed Forbes in 1911 as a syndicated columnist before being head-hunted in 1913 to improve the engagement and excitement of the financial sector of the New York Journal – American newspaper.
Thanks to the fast-growing and moving economic scene in America at this time, it was an exciting period for Forbes to write about. The prospect of an economic boom made the finance pages increasingly popular among New York Journal – American readers and Forbes was subsequently paid handsomely for his role.
Nevertheless, having developed a substantial contacts book of his own, in 1917 Forbes opted to go it alone and form his very own financial publication. Forbes Magazine was launched fortnightly, available for a mere 15 cents and was written almost exclusively by Forbes himself.
The creation of Forbes Magazine was timed perfectly for the economic boom era of the 1920s, which saw Bertie Forbes at the coalface of the sector. His publication helped make the financial world accessible to the everyone, whilst proving there were personalities behind the biggest names and brands in the corporate world.
Forbes would remain editor-in-chief of his own magazine until his untimely passing in 1954, when ownership of the publication was shared between his brothers who shared a third of the company’s equity. Despite Forbes’ prolific career in the US, his body was returned by plane to his native Scotland, where he was laid to rest in New Deer, where it all began.”