Class of 1971
It was destined by virtue of family circumstance that Joel Dreyfuss would become a well-rounded renaissance man. His father descended from a French-Jewish family while his Haitian mother imbued him with an indelible sense of kinship with a troubled nation and its long-suffering people. These diverse family strains have forever bound Dreyfuss to a broad swath of interests that characterize his life's achievements as a journalist, author, editor and publisher at the intersection of social science, culture, history and innovation.
The synthesis of his life and career experiences have found expression in his role at The Root (theroot.com), an online magazine that analyzes domestic and international issues, arts and culture through the prism of the black experience. Dreyfuss is The Root’s senior editor-at-large. He was its managing editor from late 2009 through 2011.
Dreyfuss was born in Haiti in 1945 and grew up in Paris; Monrovia, Liberia; and New York. At City College, he was a reporter and editor of Observation Post and Tech News, the start of a more than 40-year career that includes all media, from daily newspapers, wire services and magazines to television and the Internet. He was a news producer at KPIX in San Francisco and an on-air reporter for KQED’s “Newsroom” series and WNET’s “The 51st State,” but most of his career has been with print media. He was a reporter at The Associated Press and The New York Post and then spent a year as an Urban Journalism Fellow at the University of Chicago before joining The Washington Post. In 1976, he moved to San Francisco and turned to freelancing. During the late 1970s, he contributed to numerous national magazines and in 1989, Dreyfuss co-authored a book on affirmative action, “The Bakke Case: The Politics of Inequality.”
After two years as executive editor of Black Enterprise magazine, Dreyfuss helped establish the New York bureau of USA Today and subsequently joined Fortune Magazine as an associate editor and as head of its Tokyo bureau, the first of two stints at the publication. He moved on to become editor of PC Magazine, and in 1995 was appointed editor-in-chief of Information Week. During his three years at that publication, it became generally regarded as the industry’s foremost IT trade magazine.
Dreyfuss returned to Fortune as a senior editor and personal technology columnist. He briefly helped launch a now defunct dotcom in 2000, but returned to the magazine world at Bloomberg Markets, covering major tech multinationals. Prior to taking his current role at The Root, Dreyfuss helped re-start Red Herring, the fabled venture capital and tech magazine, as a new internationally focused multimedia property, encompassing online video interviews with chief executive officers and conferences centered on areas of its editorial content.
Dreyfuss is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.