Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trillion Dollar Tangle

I've been keeping up with the news, I've been listening to commentators and I've been reading the charts. Still, I cannot make sense of the almost trillion dollar stimulus bill.

Economy journalists certainly have their work cut out for them. I don't envy anyone who has to sort through the 700 pages of proposals. However, as we touched upon in class this morning, I do find it frustrating that journalists haven't figured out how to chart this information effectively.

One of the goals of a journalist is to contextualize the news. Maybe I just need to dig deeper, but I'm not seeing it in the newspapers or even on their websites. Meanwhile, one side defends the proposed spending as stimulative, while the other claims it's just more "pork." Based on what I've read, it's very hard for me to come to any conclusions.

For instance, at one point, the bill included tax breaks for Hollywood studios. Now, I can understand how some would be weary of giving millions of dollars to arts and entertainment when other industries are on the verge of collapse, but American movie exports remain very lucrative in foreign markets. I wish we would hear more about the reasoning behind these measures and how they would or would not be effective.

Perhaps this is too much to ask. An exhaustive, line-by-line analysis of the bill is admittedly unrealistic. Still, we can certainly come up with something more decipherable than this:

On a completely unrelated note, a 1981 glimpse at the online journalism fad:

Quick Update: The Chicago Tribune apparently just cut at least a dozen newsroom staff members. Not surprising given the Tribune Company's financial problems, but still quite the bummer.

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