Watchdog Blog

Barry Sussman: Reporting on The Collapse, a New Nieman Watchdog Project

Posted at 7:34 am, October 8th, 2009
Barry Sussman Mug

In financial reporting as in other areas, news organizations too often lose sight of the issues and focus on politics, or diversions that pass for politics. With some exceptions, that’s what has happened in covering the economic collapse. Thus, citizens and voters are consistently left with little sense of their own interests, or the country’s. The press can do better.

Nieman Watchdog hopes to help it do better. In the coming weeks we will be running articles by independent experts or interviews with them, pointing editors and reporters to basic issues and to questions they should ask.

On the main section of the site is a piece by Henry Banta titled “Doing a better job coping with economic disaster”, that lays out the issues. In Banta’s words, “The shock wave from last year has shaken the foundations of conventional economic thinking. But save for the analysis of a handful of writers, the story has never made it into the news. Yet, without that story, it is impossible to have a rational political debate about what do to get out of the trouble we are in and prevent it from happening again.”

Also in the main section is the first of several stories from an interview of economist James Galbraith by writer John Hanrahan. Galbraith’s ideas are well thought-out and, in some instances, almost never mentioned in the mainstream media. For example, there is always a great deal of talk about reining in Social Security and Medicare. But Galbraith, in a tightly reasoned piece, argues strongly for increasing benefits. It’s an argument the press should study and report.

We think experienced financial journalists and everyone else covering the economic collapse will find these pieces instructive and useful. We’ll be running more of them day by day with other experts.

As we do, we invite and welcome broad participation, including ideas and commentary from reporters, columnists, editors, bloggers, academics and others who want to take part. Add your comments, or send a note to

5 Responses to “Reporting on The Collapse, a New Nieman Watchdog Project”

  1. Pat Davis says:


    As usual, where’s the meat. . .

    May be hard to capsulize, but w/o it, how is the general society to understand what is really happening, to know whom to support. . . particuarly with a changing society.

    And, better before a crash than after. . .

    Seems to be a growing gap in decent info available for those between the academic, corporate circles and those who just watch trash TV. Continuing need for info and analysis that the large groups in the middle can fathom and grasp.

    Hope the cable news folks can tweak their product upward, with time.

  2. FilipeAlvesFerreira says:

    I agree. It is great. But, good is better than great.
    All the problem about economics, is very easy to find :
    - If folks may not invest because no expertise …
    - If folks may not save because bank-finantial conditions…
    - Folks are reduced to spend making consumptions actions the one way modus to go, head under sandstorming.
    The recipe to resolve the Classic Economy, is the upgrade by the money datevaluation practice. Datevaluation being the first investment’s substitute to reach gains in cash phasis. As proposed to the President Barak Hussein Obama :

  3. lambert strether says:

    See here for our daily record of The Big Fail from the fall of Lehman onward. May be useful for research/timeline purposes, if nothing else.

  4. Laurie Stern says:

    American Radioworks did three reports about poverty and education that should be airing around the country this fall and winter. Additional reporting is on the web site for each project. More to come this spring. Check them out and let us know what you think.

  5. Kate Tande says:

    I’m doing a research paper on the cause of the great depression and your website is really alot of help, but I am looking for even more information. I found this article cause of the great depression but I’m not sure I believe the ‘official’ story… I’m trying to find the ACTUAL cause of the great depression, if you have any tips of some other alternative sources for info please hit me back.Thanks

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