From college colleagues to business colleagues, college sweethearts to office suite-mates, Karen Blumenthal and Scott McCartney keep it all in the family.
Karen is bureau chief for the Dallas bureau of the Wall Street Journal, and Scott is deputy bureau chief. Together, they supervise 11 reporters covering news in eight states.
This busy Lake Highlands family – including daughters Abby, 12 and Jenny, 10 – balances everyday life with working parents in a partnership. Scott compares their situation to that of a “mom and pop bakery” since their work is always with them. Their kids say they don’t leave work at work.
“Because we are married,” Karen says, “we probably don’t talk much in the office so when we are home, we catch up.”
Karen and Scott met at Duke University while writing for the school newspaper; in fact, Karen gave him his first writing assignment. She graduated in 1981 and came back to Dallas to work for the Dallas Morning News.
When Scott arrived in 1982, the News was under a hiring freeze; however, he soon found work with the Associated Press wire service. Scott was a roving correspondent for 11 years, covering such stories as the Los Angeles riots, sporting a flack jacket.
Karen moved to the Wall Street Journal in 1984 and worked there until she was hired back by the News as business editor. That’s when Scott replaced her as technology writer at the Journal.
“At my first meeting with the managing editor in New York, he told me he wanted my wife back,” Scott says. And by 1994, they were again working together at the Journal.
Scott and Karen married in 1983, settling in Dallas where she had grown up, graduating from Lake Highlands High School. (Scott was raised in Boston.) They wanted a good education for their daughters and hoped to send them to a neighborhood Montessori school. But when the school stopped offering that curriculum, they began looking for another situation.
“I went to the Richardson School District and read the curriculum for each elementary and found that Moss Haven’s style was what we liked. We love the school and the neighborhood. The neighbors are close and are there when needed with flowers or a meal,” Karen says.
Karen volunteers at the school, and Scott coaches soccer. Of course, working for a newspaper sometimes challenges their ability to juggle job, family, school and volunteering.
During Spring Break, for example, Scott was required to fly to New York on a Wednesday and return on Thursday. At the same time, Karen gathered information and dealt with reporters as she stayed home with the girls. When Scott arrived home, the two stayed up all night editing. Then, Karen turned around and caught a flight to New York at 6:55 a.m. The story was published on Friday.
Scott also has completed three books during the past nine years. His most recent is Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World’s First Computer: It’s the story of the first two men to invent the computer at the University of Philadelphia.
His other books include Defying The Gods, about organ transplants at Baylor Hospital, and Trinity’s Children: Living Along American’s Nuclear Highway, written with Ted Bartimus.
Twenty-four/seven works for Scott and Karen. “Some people tell us that they couldn’t work together,” says Karen.
“It works for us.”