On my desk in my office here at Money Map Press is a yellowed newspaper clipping from mid-November 1997 - a Page 1A story featuring my byline.
I've kept this clipping for all these years because it was the last big "scoop" that I got for Gannett Newspapers in Rochester - right before I left for a job here in Baltimore.
I'd been covering the corporate flailing of the once-great Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: KODK) for nearly five years - a journalistic vision quest that took me from Upstate New York to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Japan, and even China.
The story that I broke that November was about a soon-to-be-announced corporate "restructuring" - a $1 billion, 10,000-layoff cost-cutting plan that Kodak was planning to share with Wall Streeters at a New York "event" the following Tuesday.
I didn't realize it at the time, but what I'd really written... was Kodak's epitaph.
The company's prospects had seemed much better four years earlier, after a huge shake-up at the top.
I still remember that brighter moment, when I was seated in the executive offices on the top floor of Kodak Tower in Rochester, N.Y.
Across the conference table from me was George M.C. Fisher, Kodak's just-appointed CEO and a vaunted "fix it" guy who was the first-ever outsider to lead the company.
I was there to interview Fisher. The topic on the table: the film giant's possible turnaround.
I was sitting in the room with a very shrewd executive, brought in from "outside" to right the ship...
About the Author
Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning at Money Map Press.