A new story from Masters in Business


Being yeah apple bound he is the lead writer on business and economics for the editorial board of The New York Times where he has worked since twenty ten he is the author of a new book the economist our false profits free markets and the fracture of society been yeah ma'am welcome to Bloomberg thanks it's great to be here let's start with your career we we did you begin as a writer out of college my first job was at the Florida times union and Jacksonville Florida I covered the news beat and I county outside of Jacksonville the news beat meant anything that happened was my problem at the right about it so that includes crimes and crime government forest fires county fairs sole reward meetings and you name it it was my problem when did you first start focusing on economics and and business after Jacksonville I I moved to the Charlotte observer and the managing editor called me in one day and asked me if I wanted to cover banking and I was a little skeptical but he tell me how you're the new banking reporter so that's that's how it began did you have any academic background or any training in this sort of they just throw you in blue now I didn't really I got thrown in blind I didn't know much about the subject at all I was really one of the things I love about journalism is the opportunity to learn and to study as you work and so I'd really wasn't immersion experience I learned as I as I worked so what was the process like be coming I'm looking for the right word maybe it's adept at covering banks because they're kind of a squishy yeah groups are hidden down it's not the easiest topic to cover first story I ever wrote I didn't get the millions in the billion straight so there is there is a learning curve for sure it was fascinating you know Charlotte in those years bank of America and Wachovia both there and and warring with each other and I was sort of the center of this rapidly growing industry and it is completely fascinating to be there and writing about it so from covering banks in Charlotte that's not a giant leap to covering the biggest bank of all the federal reserve how did that transition happened so it basically involved through the financial crisis I spent a lot of my time and solid writing about mortgages and and the financial crisis went to the Boston globe where I continue to do that then came to the Washington post at the week that Fannie and Freddie were were taken over by the government as the paper's national banking reporter and I covered the financial crisis for the next eighteen months about two months after I got to the Washington post the paper sent my wife a box of chocolates with a note saying you know we're sorry you haven't seen your recently maybe again some day so that was an intense period and then I came to the times in twenty ten I initially cover financial regulation but then was asked to move over to the federal reserve as as Dodd Frank came into law and those issues started to settle down a little bit so in twenty eleven and I basically began covering the fat and monetary policy and what was that like all of a sudden now you're the New York times reporter for the federal reserve that must've been quite heavy a ton of access I assume to senior said people governors and and chairman and others what what was that like yeah you feel a real responsibility I don't know if I felt so much heavy as as sort of a little scared at first because a lot of people are counting on you to accurately represent what the fad intends to do what it's communicating you do a lot of access that the fed takes very seriously its efforts to communicate and and to convey its messages and one of the ways it does that one of the primary ways it does that is through big media outlets like the times or the journal or Bloomberg and it works very hard to to explain itself to people like me people in my job and so yeah you do get to spend a lot of time at the leading figures in monetary policy talking to them picking their brains trying to understand what they're thinking all rights frankly fascinating and and it was really an interesting experience particularly you know in twenty eleven when the fed was in the middle of this sort of two Malton trying to figure out how to deal with a new set of economic circumstances so this new transparency as some of called it is very much a sea change from what the world was like forty years ago there were no press releases there certainly wasn't a press conference the fed open market activity can effectively be seen and how prices on the short end of the bond market would move that was pretty much the only way anyone had an idea that the fed was doing anything how different is it today then when they seem to be cloaked in in mystery in secrecy I wasn't around back then but I think that a big part of the changes how much the fed is communicating directly with the public if you go back forty years ago the person who had my job was still spending a significant amount of time with Paul Volker had access to him was hearing his thoughts I had the opportunity to question him directly but that wasn't happening in a televised news conference vocal wasn't going out there and talking directly to the public on sixty minutes or you know holding town hall forums you know all these innovations in fed policy that we've seen in recent decades so part of what happened at the fat as it so many other institutions is they realized you know they could step out from behind the curtain and control their own communications and speak directly to their audience and obviously they're doing that much more aggressively than ever before I don't recall vulgar tweeting a whole lot that wasn't he wasn't big on that but okay power doesn't tweet either so maybe that's that the next fed chair will move on to Twitter may but there are a bunch of federal reserve researchers and if you look if you go through any of the regional fed or the main fed there's a ton of stuff it's a ton of content they generate that works its way into Twitter in the blogosphere and eventually in the mainstream media so it's not like the fed is remotely quiet they are very active in trying to communicate their messages and to be clear there was an intellectual revolution the fad at you know forty years ago again really believe that there was some value and mystery that you didn't want to be to clear the you didn't want to tell the public exactly what was about to happen and there's just been a sea change you know Ben Bernanke famously said that ninety eight percent of my trade policies communications is managing expectations that idea that the fed's primary job is to communicate and to communicate clearly is a new thing in the world and they're doing it in every way they can see as you said there on Twitter fed presidents wander around giving public speeches all the time there's a sense that some of this is a bit of a cacophony and and sometimes the message gets lost in the noise but they're trying that this is now clearly the goal in a way that it wasn't in an earlier era coming up we continue our conversation with Binnya apple them of The New York Times author of the economists our discussing.

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