A course I'd love to take

Brad DeLong’s Covering the Economy:

Nobody goes into journalism to write bad stories that mislead their readers and omit or downplay the important news of the events that they are covering. Journalists, especially daily journalists have a very difficult job. They are under ferocious deadline pressure. They are beat reporters–which means that they cannot afford to alienate their sources too far, for they have to go back to them again and again. They are dealing with complicated and subtle issues. And at least half the people they talk to are telling them subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) lies.

So what has gone wrong? And how can journalists–and those among their sources who are interested in public education and in raising the level of the debate–make things go right?

We plan to spend about the first six weeks looking at how the bread-and-butter economic news is covered and how it should be covered. What the standard statistical releases suggest about whether the economy is going up, down, or sideways–and what “up,” “down,” and “sideways” mean.

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