OLD Media Moves

Covering the mortgage industry

December 12, 2008

Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review interviewed Mike Hudson, an investigative reporter who now works for the Center for Responsible Lending, about how business journalists have covered the mortgage meltdown.

Here is an excerpt:

TA: How has the press done in its job over the last decade or so — you’d know the timeframe better than me — since the gears that led to this crisis started turning? How has the press done overall in connecting the dots and showing the whole picture?

MH: That’s one of the most key questions is the timeframe. Because there have been columns and essays about how the press has done covering the crisis and they tend to talk about things that were done in 2007 and 2008. Which is important — it’s an important function of the press to react to a crisis after it’s happened or while in the middle of it — but the problem is that the causes go back many years. Writing about bad mortgages in 2007, it was too late to stop the crisis.

We really needed more in-depth reporting and more exhaustive reporting back in the mid-to-late 90’s and early 2000’s through 2003-2004. That’s when the run-up was really happening, and that’s when things could have happened to have stopped or at least softened the blow of what was to come.

Read more here.

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