OLD Media Moves

Bloomberg’s Matthews on covering economic trends

October 22, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Lauren Meller of Bloomberg’s public relations staff interviewed Bloomberg News economics reporter Steve Matthews on how he covers economic trends.

Here is an excerpt:

You recently wrote a story about how some states have been slower than others to recover from the economic downturn. Is there any pattern to the successes and failures of different states
A: When I started work on the story, I knew some of the states that were at the center of housing bust — Nevada, Florida, Georgia and Arizona — suffered more than others and had yet to fully recover. And the data we gathered, with Alex Tanzi leading the effort, really supported that. And some energy-dependent states — North Dakota stands out, but there are others – have had a great run the past few years. What was surprising is how many other states were doing poorly for a variety of reasons. New Jersey has struggled with casino closings in Atlantic City and pharmaceutical industry layoffs. New Mexico has been hurt by government spending cutbacks. I could go on.

Subjects like job loss and economic recovery can be sensitive topics, especially for the people living them. How do you balance telling a story with data with getting the personal angle from the people affected?
I want to be sure that a story holds up both, as I talk to people who are involved in the subject and with hard data. I cover the regional Fed banks and travel a lot for the job, and make an effort to talk to people wherever I go — taxi drivers, hotel clerks, local folks who attend the Fed speeches, economists and others. I am very interested in regional economics and often will come up with an idea as I talk to local folks. While job loss is definitely a sensitive subject, I have interviewed dozens of unemployed people — and lots of underemployed folks too — and am always struck by how determined and optimistic they are.

Read more here.

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