Jerry Flint became a Forbes columnist (Backseat Driver) in 1996, writing a monthly column for the magazine and later adding a weekly column for Forbes.com. The few years before 1996, he had concentrated on the auto industry, and because he had covered the industry in the past, he knew many of the leading people, understood the issues, and frankly, found it more fun than many other subjects.
Prior to his transition to columnist in 1996, Flint was hired by Forbes Magazine to be the Washington bureau chief (1979-1983) and then came to New York as an assistant managing editor and later senior editor. In Washington, he did not cover routine political news but national economic and social issues and even foreign affairs. As assistant managing editor, he ran about a third of the reporting staff, helping writers initiate stories and editing them. He returned to writing as a senior editor, which is Forbes’ title for major writers.
Flint worked for The New York Times from 1967 to1979, first, as Detroit bureau chief until 1973, then in New York as assistant to the national editor, then assistant to the financial editor, then national labor writer. His reporting in Detroit covered everything: the auto industry and the emerging issuers of safety and pollution, labor unions, race relations (including the 1967 troubles), urban change and politics. He was on the Times team for the 1968 Presidential election and was mentioned in “The Making of the President-1968” by Theodore White. As labor writer, he developed stories on the great changes taking place in the workplace and the push by women and Afro-Americans for their place. While he was never a foreign correspondent, he did have short time foreign assignments, including a series on Cuba.
From 1956 to 1967, Flint worked for The Wall Street Journal. He was hired by the Journal after his discharge from the U.S. Army and worked a year in Chicago and then transferred to Detroit, his hometown. He covered financial news of all sorts, but there was a heavy concentration on the auto industry, unions and social issues.
Flint enlisted into the U.S. Army in March 1953, serving in a special intelligence unit, the Army Security Agency. He spent most of his three-year’s service in Europe.
Born June 20, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan, Flint received his B.A. with distinction in journalism from Wayne University in Detroit (now Wayne State University) in 1953, graduating in three and a half years. While in school, he worked one year as a copy boy at The Detroit News, and then a year with a magazine, Motor News, which was put out by the AAA of Michigan, and was a reporter and editor on the college daily.