Covering Ohio’s Changing Economy

Columbia Journalism Review - April 25, 2012

Can reporters connect the candidates’ rhetoric to on-the-ground reality?

Writing for the Columbia Journalism review, former Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter T.C. Brown took at look at media coverage of Ohio’s economy in an election year.

“… And the coverage of the visits was generally solid, led by Steve Koff’s good advance look in The Plain Dealer at the candidates’ differing plans for job-retraining programs.

To carry the coverage forward, though, reporters here will have to help voters put those visions in the context of Ohio’s changing economy. Unfortunately, getting a handle on what those changes are—or even what the state of the economy is—can be a challenging task.”

As part of his review, he checked in with Policy Matters for our perspective on what’s happening in Ohio and how journalists are covering it.

“The upshot, Amy Hanauer, executive director of the think tank Policy Matters Ohio, said in an interview, is that journalists should take the longer view.

‘I know you’ve got to put out a paper every day, but the month-to-month numbers change so much it is too much of a temptation to take a one month change as meaning more than it does,’ Hanauer said. Her takeaway? ‘It’s been a really slow economic recovery by any measure and anyone saying the Ohio economy is doing well, well we would really contest that.'”

Brown wrote that reporters also should look at what kind of jobs Ohio’s economy is producing, and what the candidates can do to influence, for example, whether we create more manufacturing jobs or more in the service sector. “You need a strong manufacturing sector,” Amy told him. “Even if that story is boring, it does not mean it’s not true.”

Check out the full story on CJR’s website.



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