OLD Media Moves

The watchdog that forgot to bark?

April 27, 2009

Anupreeta Das from Reuters has some additional coverage of the panel at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference in Denver on whether business journalists did enough to warn consumers about the economic crisis.

Das writes, “Maybe journalists couldn’t do more than they did. ‘The job of the press is most effective when it stirs people up so they can exert political pressure,’ said Greg Miller, who teaches at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. But financial journalism has become much tougher to do in recent years, he added.

“‘There are no longer just investment bankers doing everything today,’ Miller said. ‘Everyone’s a specialist. No one banker could explain the entire process of how securitization worked. So it’s asking an awful lot of journalists to break it down and explain when bankers don’t know.’

“And if journalists do begin to understand how it all works, Miller said a further challenge is: ‘How do we make this simple enough for people who don’t spend their lives in this to understand?’

“The panelists — and moderator Paul Steiger, a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal who now runs the investigative journalism outfit ProPublica –- all agreed that understanding the nuts and bolts of the housing and securities markets and how it all led to the meltdown is a tough call for reporters. But they did take journalists to task for not being enough of the curious skeptics they are supposed to be.”

Read more here.

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