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The Maker's Mark Story
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Joel Whitaker was an experienced prize winning newsman when he acquired "Frank Kane's Weekly Letter." He had been editor of the world's oldest high school daily and editor in chief of the Indiana Daily Student. After graduating from Indiana University, he went to work at the St. Petersburg Times as a reporter, and later as an editor responsible for national news coverage. He moved to New York in 1968, the same year Frank Kane died, as an editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote the Page One news summary. In 1973, he was hired as business news editor at the Philadelphia Bulletin, then the nation's second-largest newspaper with a circulation exceeding 625,000. While in Philadelphia, Whitaker graduated from Temple University School of Law. After taking his bar exam, he joined the staff of Institutional Investor as managing editor of Bank Letter. He bought "Frank Kane's Weekly Letter" in 1982, and has been writing it ever since. Over the past quarter century, he has broken a number of important stories. He beat all other reporters, including those at The Wall Street Journal, with the news the federal government would raise the federal excise tax on beer, wine and distilled spirits. He warned of the impact Mothers Against Drunk Driving would have on the alcohol beverage industry. At a time when many industry leaders believed the alcohol beverage business was threatened with death, Whitaker accurately predicted the "French Paradox" would change the image of beer, wine and spirits to products which, when consumed in moderation, actually promote human health. He was the first reporter to detail a pharmaceutical breakthrough - the development of a drug that has the potential for ending alcohol abuse, a drug that reduces the craving for alcohol experienced by alcoholics. And a story he wrote about a proposal to eliminate a Federal agency resulted in the Obama Administration launching an investigation in an attempt to discover Whitaker's source. His reporting has been honored by the University of Missouri, New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Newsletter Publishers Association (now the Specialized Information Publishers Association.

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