Monday, October 23, 2006

Beyond the Macro Headlines

On the course syllabus I stated that “(Y)our Discussion Board posts will allow you to demonstrate that you are a discerning on-line media consumer. A lot can be learned by on-line media interpretation: institutional facts, common misunderstandings, alternative perspectives, political and social realities, policy conundrums, as well as how theoretical concepts are applied. Your posts should show how macroeconomics can be used to interpret the often puzzling changes in economic conditions, and understand how these changes are covered in the on-line media. This is your chance to apply problem-solving skills rather than rote learning. By inviting active student participation in understanding macroeconomic behavior as it unfolds day to day, we can paint a collective picture of our evolving economy.”

I recently came up upon an interesting discussion of the current state of economic journalism carried out by some of our country’s most prominent economic journalists. The journalists participated in a panel discussion held at Dartmouth College titled "Beyond the Headlines" moderated by Andrew Samwick, an economist at Dartmouth who runs his own blog, called Vox Baby. The panel, which included reporters from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Fortune Magazine , discussed how economic issues are covered in the media. They also discussed the explosion of blogs and how that proliferation is impacting the traditional media. Convincing the public of TANSTAAFL was cited as a major challenge facing journalists who cover economics.

If you would like to share with the class some of the challenges that are encountered by journalists in covering economics in the media that would be a fine subject for a Discussion Board post. Click here or here to watch or listen to the discussion. The panel lasts about ninety minutes.

Extra Credit: What is “TANSTAAFL”? You’ll know if you have read your book. You can either e-mail me, or post your answer and source directly to the blog under comments. If you are the first to e-mail or post, and have not received extra credit in the past week, you will get the points.

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