Economic Podcast

In the podcast “The Giant Pool of Money” with Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg they explain the complex situation that affected many people during the 2007 – 2008 housing bubble and subsequent recession that followed. The type of reporting used for this podcast was done very well because it created the scene first and it then broke the story into different fragments to give us the small details of who was involved during this time. By starting with the different moving pieces first we get to see first hand some of the different examples of people who were involved with the subprime mortgages, the NINA loans, and the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO).

I think having Clarence Nathan on the show put a face to those on the other side of the housing bubble, which were the individuals borrowing the money from the banks. He was one of many people who were brought into the fold when they signed their name on the dotted line of a contract that was a slap in the face for homeowners. The fact that the banks knew the risks of loaning money to people without having to check out FICO scores, monthly income, and if the person was even still living was very telling of how unethical the system was. Both sides knew the implications of loaning out money to individuals they knew could not pay on the loan and borrowers who also knew that they too could not keep up the obligations of the loan created a ripple effect that changed everyone’s piece of mind about the global financial system.

The type of storytelling that both Ira Glass, Adam Davidson, and Alex Blumberg used to explain what brought down the global financial sectors was put together creatively and smoothly so that the listener could still stay with the timeline of events and know all the people involved in the reporting. Writers like Thomas Friedman have also talked about the excesses of banks and those who helped contribute to the financial meltdown. Having an open discussion on what caused the mess in the first place with examples of one of many individuals in the same situation helps to unravel the intricate parts of the whole so that the audience can get a better understanding as to what culminated into a bubble so large that it ruined many lives in the process.

Some of the issues maybe with this type of reporting is some listeners could get sort of lost in who the reports are talking to if the back and forth style of story telling does cue or restate who they are talking about in the story. There has to be the right balance of movement in the story, but not too much or you could lose your listeners and then they spend more time trying to figure out who the people are instead of listening to the content of the story. In this case I think the reporters did a really great job of ensuring that the reporting was fluid and provided many case examples of what contributed to the global financial crisis that many people are still recovering from even today.


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