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Three New Essays Addressing Media, Business, and the Economy Published

Essays examine the history of the business press, the economics behind it, and how business journalism is taught today

5/12/2009

Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ project on Media, Business, and the Economy has published three new essays that consider how well the media inform the public about the economy, and how that role could be improved.

The study, which brought together economists, business leaders, and journalists, is an outgrowth of an earlier Academy project on Corporate Responsibility and was launched during a period of relative prosperity and stability in the world’s financial markets. Today the global economy is far less settled, making the need for sound economic information even more crucial. Participants in this project realized that any discussion of how the media cover economics cannot be separated from the economics of the media business, which faces unique challenges in the current environment. This collection of papers illuminates three key factors in understanding the role of a changing media amid a changing economy.

Princeton economist Alan Blinder explores what Americans already know about economic policy, and how the media contribute to that understanding. His paper, Popular Opinion about Economic Policy: The Role of the Media, is based on work Blinder conducted with his colleague Alan Krueger at Princeton University.

Veteran financial journalist Jeffrey Madrick describes the evolution of his craft over the past 30-plus years in a paper titled Credulity in Business Journalism: A History of the Business Press Since the 1970s. Primarily a print editor and reporter, Madrick desires healthier skepticism from his compatriots, lamenting that many in the financial press act more like cheerleaders than watchdogs, to the detriment of solid financial reporting and a well-informed public.

Lou Ureneck, a former daily newspaper editor who now chairs Boston University’s journalism program, surveys the formal training programs in this country that specialize in the preparation of newspeople for the finance and economy beat. Business journalists interpret the economy and inform us about how it affects our lives, and in The Teaching of Business Journalism in the United States Today, Ureneck describes the university-based programs that are training the next generation of business journalists.

The Academy is grateful to the Fellows and other experts who participated in this study, and to the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and its director, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, for their support of the project.

 

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