OLD Media Moves

Economics reporters struggle to reach non-economists with coverage

October 16, 2006

At a recent panel of economics reporters at Dartmouth College, a number of the top journalists in the profession expressed how difficult it was to reach the average consumer with their stories.

Greg IpAmong those on the panel were CNBC’s Steve Liesman, The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip, and BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy. (Disclosure: I worked with Coy at BW, and Liesman is a friend who has spoken to my classes.)

Wrote Naomi Sosner, a reporter for The Dartmouth, the college paper: “In answer to Samwick’s question about the unique experiences in reporting economics, the panel members all mentioned the difficulty of reaching non-economists with their coverage.

“‘One of the biggest challenges for me is writing about economics in a way people don’t find intimidating,’ Ip said.

Steve Liesman“Liesman elaborated, saying, ‘Economics is a lot more than numbers. To me it’s a way of thinking about the world. If at the end of the day you say, ‘If you’re going to cut taxes these are the effects,’ and have society understand it, that’s good enough.’

“The proliferation of bloggers, or ‘citizen journalists,’ spurred excited discussion on the panel.

“‘Ten years from now there will be a panel of bloggers up here, dressed in pajamas,’ Coy said, when asked what changes he anticipates for journalism in the next decade.

Read more here.

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