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U.S. business journalists optimistic their local economies will improve

U.S. business journalists – who keep their fingers on the economic pulse of their communities – said they expected business conditions in their local areas to improve in the next six months, according to a new survey commissioned by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. | Business Journalists Study 2011 (PDF)

In a telephone survey of 300 business journalists conducted nationwide in mid-July, many described their local economies as suffering:

  • One in three said business conditions were bad.
  • Four out of 10 said jobs were hard to get.

But they expressed optimism that their local economies would improve, with only 6 percent saying they expected things to worsen in six months.

When asked about their local housing market, about one in four said the residential real estate market was better now than six months ago. Only about one in 10 thought it would be worse in six months.

Conditions were toughest in the West, where half the business journalists said their local economies were bad and jobs were hard to get.

“Analysis of Business Journalists Survey on their Local Economies 2011” from Reynolds Center on Vimeo.

In Seattle, economics columnist Jon Talton of The Seattle Times said business conditions are mixed. “Apartment construction is rebounding: I can see four cranes out my window for high-rises now,” he said, but “many small businesses continue to struggle with weak consumer spending and tight credit.”

Pamela Yip, personal finance writer for The Dallas Morning News, agreed on the mixed economic picture. “Dallas-Fort Worth added more jobs than any other U.S. metro area during the six months ending in June,” she said. “But…unemployment is 3.6 percentage points higher than it was three years ago.”

ABOUT THE SURVEY
Business Journalists Study 2011 (PDF) was conducted by the Behavior Research Center Inc., using questions similar to those in The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey®. The phone survey conducted July 18-21 has a margin of error of +/- 5 percent. Talton, Yip, DiStefano, Maynard and Tobin were not among the 300 randomly selected business journalists surveyed, who came from print, online, broadcast, wire services and freelancing.

ABOUT THE REYNOLDS CENTER

The Reynolds Center is based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix. More than 12,000 journalists have benefited from the Reynolds Center’s free training since 2003. Its mission is to help journalists cover business better.

For more information, email Linda Austin, Reynolds Center executive director, or call 602-496-9187.

About the Author

Linda Austin is the executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. A former business editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, she spent a decade as a top newsroom leader, serving as the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky; executive editor of The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and managing editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. She offers business-story ideas and notes good #bizreads @LindaAustin_

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