Why the FT didn’t report on a bank run a decade ago
John Authers of The Financial Times writes about why he didn’t report on a bank run that he saw happening 10 years ago during the financial crisis while visiting his Citibank branch, which was full of Wall Street employees worried about their deposits.
Authers writes, “I was finding it a little hard to breathe. There was a bank run happening, in New York’s financial district. The people panicking were the Wall Streeters who best understood what was going on.
“All I needed was to get a photographer to take a few shots of the well-dressed bankers queueing for their money, and write a caption explaining it.
“We did not do this. Such a story on the FT’s front page might have been enough to push the system over the edge. Our readers went unwarned, and the system went without that final prod into panic.
“Was this the right call? I think so. All our competitors also shunned any photos of Manhattan bank branches. The right to free speech does not give us right to shout fire in a crowded cinema; there was the risk of a fire, and we might have lit the spark by shouting about it.”
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