Michael Peltz, Institutional Investor magazine, wins 2011 Stephen Barr Award Winner

Business journalist honored for “Inside the Machine,” a first-person story on events leading to financial crash.

Photo: Michael Peltz
Michael Peltz won the Barr Award for outstanding feature writing.

Aug. 12, 2011 — Michael Peltz — now the editor of Institutional Investor magazine, overseeing all editorial operations, including its magazine and digital properties — from July 2009 to July 2011 was executive editor for II’s America’s Edition.

Mike joined Institutional Investor more than 20 years ago as a young copy editor fresh from Dartmouth. He later moved on to Worth magazine and Bloomberg Markets, where he wrote and edited a wide range of features. He was recruited back to II in the early 2000s to create a new magazine devoted to the hedge fund industry called Alpha.

Soon after the 2010 “flash crash,” the mysterious technical event that sent financial markets plummeting globally, Mike was assigned a cover story to explain how this could have happened. He immersed himself in the project, visiting trading centers, and learning the technology from inside. He boldly chose to write his piece in the first person. His editor at the time compared his exploration of the subject to the travels of Howard Kutz, the trader who ventured down a dark river in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” In this case the river was technology. And the story was “Inside the Machine: A Journey Into the World of High-Frequency Trading,” in the June 2010 edition of Institutional Investor.

The story had an enormous impact, says Mike’s former editor, William H. Inman, reverberating throughout the Internet, and among specialty bloggers who called it “the bible.”

It is the sort of journalism that has defined Institutional Investor magazine over the years, says Inman. A tradition of excellence proudly embodied in the work of Michael Peltz.