Real estate downturn is not media's fault
Orange County Register business columnist Jon Lansner, the former SABEW president, responded in his Wednesday column to the readers who believe that it is the media’s fault that real estate prices are beginning to fall.
Lansner wrote, “Gary Watts, the Orange County industry’s widely watched forecaster, cites news coverage as a major, depressing market force in his latest outlook.
“‘I think the media, in general, needs fear-driven articles to keep readers interested or viewership up,’ Watts told me. A bold headline highlighting what Watts sees as minor market trends ‘makes everybody’s think is this the beginning of the end.’
“I can’t say that all coverage of housing’s gyrations is 100 percent fair. Or that reporters who cover the industry â€“ or the editors who chose what stories get the best display â€“ never exaggerate the importance of statistical housing trivia.
“Basically, we’re reacting to our own consumer surveys that say our audience can’t get enough real estate information. Plus, any market at a turning point is an appealing tale â€“ whether the asset in question is a stock, commodity or a house.
“However, after two decades in this town â€“ a journalism era that encompasses two remarkable housing cycles â€“ I’m keenly aware that ‘shoot the messenger’ is a popular real estate endeavor.”
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