Mr. Neil F. Budde
(Inducted in 2005)
In the past decade, Neil Budde has been at the forefront of changes in the high-tech online publishing industry, but his journalism career had a rather low-tech start.
Budde was born in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Ill., but his family moved to the Cleveland area where he launched his first paper -- a hand-written newspaper distributed to neighbors.
When Budde was a ninth-grader, the family moved to Elizabethtown, Ky., which he still considers his hometown and where he got his first real newspaper job at the then-twice-weekly Hardin County Enterprise (now the daily News-Enterprise).
Budde's first experience at Western was as a Junior Scholar during the summer of 1973, while still in high school. When he enrolled full-time at Western a year later, Budde was a journalism major. Throughout his years at Western he worked on the College Heights Herald and served as editor in the spring and fall of 1976. After graduating in 1977, Budde worked for a year at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, then at The Courier-Journal in Louisville and USA Today. During his eight years at The Courier-Journal, Budde completed his MBA at the University of Louisville.
In August 1987, Budde joined Dow Jones News Retrieval where, as deputy editorial director, he oversaw design and development of new information services. In 1993, he developed the initial ideas and business plans for an online version of The Wall Street Journal and was asked to form a team to build it. He was named editor and directed the design, development and evolution of The Wall Street Journal Online, which debuted in 1996.
In January 2000, Budde added the title of publisher as The Wall Street Journal Online defied skeptics and became the largest paid-subscription news site on the Internet with about 700,000 subscribers.
Budde left the online Journal in late 2002 and launched a consulting firm, the Neil Budde Group. In November 2004, Budde returned to online news management as general manger of Yahoo! News, the No. 1 news site on the Internet, with more than 25 million monthly visitors.
In 2002, Budde was named one of four finalists for the World Technology Awards in the category of Media and Journalism. In 1998, he was named Business Journalist of the Year by TJFR, a newsletter covering business journalism.
Budde and his wife, Virginia B. Edwards (editor of Education Week), live in Richmond Hill, Ga., and Washington, D.C. Budde is based in Yahoo's Santa Monica, Calif., office.