OLD Media Moves

Firefighter of financial hysteria

July 13, 2009

Sarah Simpson of the Toronto Globe and Mail profiles CNN chief financial correspondent Ali Velshi, who grew up in Canada, about how he got into business journalism.

Simpson writes, “He chose business journalism ‘because I thought it would be a nice life – no nights and weekends,’ he jokes. ‘The reality is they needed someone to do it. I had something of an interest in business, and they had people who could teach me what I needed to know.’

“When he moved to CNN, the need to explain the ins and outs of the business world — the strength of his journalism, he believes — was an obvious niche. ‘When I got here and looked at the American health-care system, I thought, ‘I’m a relatively smart guy and I really don’t understand how this works.’ And I looked at the 401K system for retirement … and I found that a little bit complicated.’

“The economic collapse revealed the ignorance many people had about both personal finance and larger economic issues. ‘I think the system has not been built for people to have great economic literacy,’ he says, adding that the media has to fill in the knowledge gap as well as schools. The leading audience response to his broadcasts, he says, is ‘Thanks for the explanations, for the context.'”

Read more here.

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