Bob Hoig launched the Omaha-based Midlands Business Journal in 1975, pinning its survival on telling the growth stories of area businesses in a fair and interesting way.
His 20-year news career to that point had been mainly as a crime or so-called ‘investigative reporter” with larger organizations, such as United Press International, the New York Daily News, the Miami (Fla.) News, the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal.
That experience helped lead to two conclusions guiding the mission of the Business Journal: (1) The Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs area did not need yet another media outlet targeting corruption, vice, greed and failure. (2) Readers would welcome a fresh weekly business voice telling about area organizations, their leaders and the economic facts propelling their success.
Hoig has interviewed nationally-known figures such as business legends Peter Kiewit of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Company and V.J. Skutt of Mutual of Omaha; famed WWI flying ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, later chairman of Eastern Airlines; former Presidents Nixon, Johnson and Ford; and Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to conquer Mt. Everest. He has interviewed hundreds of Nebraska businessmen and women since founding the Business Journal.
In 2012, Hoig received multiple civic and professional honors. He was inducted into the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Business Hall of Fame; named “Omahan of the Year” by the Suburban Rotary Club of Omaha, and, with his daughter Andrea Hoig, owner of Omaha Metro Magazine, became the first father-daughter duo to be honored as “Faces on the Barroom Floor” by the Omaha Press Club.
Other honors have included the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Media Advocate Award for 1981 for the Kansas City District; the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award for 2004, and the Omaha Kiwanis Club “Entrepreneur of the Year” for 2006. His Midlands Business Journal was the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Golden Spike Award honoree in 2002. He was the Omaha World-Herald’s Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1970 for a law-changing series on lax security procedures for sexual psychopaths at the then-Nebraska State Hospital in Lincoln.
MBJ Inc. of Nebraska added the Lincoln Business Journal in 1996. The newspapers’ annual 40 Under 40 Awards have honored hundreds of Greater Omaha and Greater Lincoln entrepreneurs, executives and business and professional men and women since 2002. Hoig said growth of his newspapers has been pegged on the zest of MBJ’s staff for understanding opportunities presented by the region’s economic growth.