OLD Media Moves

Harper's covers the housing bust

October 10, 2008

Elinore Longobardi of Columbia Journalism Review likes the story in the latest Harper’s that covers the housing bust from the perspective of those who come into to foreclosed homes to clean them out after the owners have been evicted.

Harper'sLongobardi writes, “We have noted excellent reporting on this unenviable job in the past, but this piece stands out because the reporter has a personal connection to it: It is his father’s job.

“Reporter Paul Reyes is in the unusual position of being both a participant in the sad, often seamy side of the mortgage crisis, and a writer. His piece is a testament to the importance of that rare species: first-person journalism on the credit crisis (we ran one of those yesterday).

The junk left behind has fascinated me since I began working for my father ten years ago—during holidays, or between jobs, boomeranging between his home in Tampa and wherever I ended up next—tagging along with his regular crew, a pair of Puerto Rican laborers who start the day at six and call it at three. I’ve always been the crew’s weak link, both because I flinch in places that, after a year of abandonment, have become so gloriously foul, and because I can’t help but read a narrative in what has been discarded.

“What follows is a chain of searing anecdotes as Reyes, an editor at The Oxford American, tags along with his father’s crew.”

Read more here.

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