Auletta at Pen America/Free Expression Literature, May 2014.

Ken Auletta (born April 23, 1942) is an American writer, journalist and media critic for The New Yorker.

Early life and education

Auletta, the son of an Italian-American father and a Jewish-American mother, grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended Abraham Lincoln High School.[1]

Auletta is a graduate of State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego) where he was a member of Sigma Tau Chi fraternity, and received his M.A. in political science from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.[2]

Writing career

Auletta worked in government and on several political campaigns, and taught and trained Peace Corps volunteers. He was also the first executive director of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation. In 1974, Auletta became the chief political correspondent for the New York Post. Following that, he was a staff writer and weekly columnist for the Village Voice, and then a contributing editor at New York magazine. He started contributing to The New Yorker in 1977. Between 1977 and 1993, he wrote a weekly political column for the New York Daily News. He was the guest editor of the 2002 edition of The Best Business Stories of the Year.

Auletta has written the "Annals of Communications" column for The New Yorker since 1992. He is the author of ten books, including Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of The House of Lehman (1986), Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way (1991), The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Superhighway (1997), and World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies (2001). His book Backstory: Inside the Business of News (2003) is a collection of his columns from The New Yorker. His book, Media Man: Ted Turner’s Improbable Empire, was published in the fall of 2004. His most recent book, "Googled: The End of the World As We Know It," was published in November 2009 and released in paperback in October 2010.

Auletta was among the first to popularize the idea of the so-called "information superhighway" with his February 22, 1993, New Yorker profile of Barry Diller, in which he described how Diller used his Apple PowerBook to anticipate the digital future. He has profiled the leading figures and companies of the Information Age, including Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, AOL Time Warner, John Malone, and the New York Times. His 2001 profile of Ted Turner won a National Magazine Award.

Auletta has been named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. He has won numerous journalism awards, and was selected as one of the twentieth century’s top one hundred business journalists. He has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, and for nearly two decades has been a judge of the annual Livingston Award for Young Journalists, one of the National Journalism Awards. He has twice served as a board member of International PEN, and is a trustee of The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival.

Personal life

Auletta lives in Manhattan with his wife Amanda Urban, a literary agent.

Portrayals in Popular Culture

He was satirized as "Ken Fellata" in The New Republic by Jacob Weisberg and future New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell.[3]


Ken Auletta, centre, in conversation with Amanda Urban and Nick Denton


  • Auletta, Ken (1983). The underclass. New York: Random House. 
  • — (1991). Three blind mice : how the TV networks lost their way. New York: Random House. 
  • Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman
  • The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Superhighway
  • World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies
  • Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire
  • The Art of Corporate Success: The Story of Schlumberger
  • The Streets Were Paved with Gold
  • Hard Feelings: Reporting on Pols, the Press, People, and the City
  • Backstory: Inside the Business of News
  • The Best Business Stories of the Year, 2002 edition (with Andrew Leckey)
  • Googled: The End of the World As We Know It (2009) ISBN 1-59420-235-4

Essays and reporting


  1. ^ Hechinger, Fred M. "ABOUT EDUCATION; Personal Touch Helps", The New York Times, January 1, 1980. Accessed September 20, 2009. "Lincoln, an ordinary, unselective New York City high school, is proud of a galaxy of prominent alumni, who include the playwright Arthur Miller, Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, the authors Joseph Heller and Ken Auletta, the producer Mel Brooks, the singer Neil Diamond and the songwriter Neil Sedaka."
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