We spoke to Sarah O’Connor (Financial Times) about the work journalists really need to go into and why experts shouldn’t fear the media.

 

 

Spreadsheets

 

It might be painful to do the “deep, gritty economic analysis” but it’s vital that you get to grips with the numbers and work out “what’s happening, where it’s happening”. Not only does it let you uncover stories which other people might miss, it also lets you fact-check what’s going on without the risk of just repeating the same myths everyone else might already believe.

 

Shoe Leather

 

Numbers can give you a sense of “what” and “where”, but the only real way of working out “why” is to go out and speak to real people. Take a notebook and go where the story is – find the people involved, and find the people affected. You have to understand their lives before you can really convey that to your readers, and this will also help build a story around the issue at stake.

 

Advice for Experts

 

If you’re an economist, policymaker or any other kind of expert don’t be afraid if journalists come to you. They’re normally just looking to understand the issue in more depth, and they’ll be grateful for whatever advice you can give them. It’s also a great way to get more research on your own research!

 

By Raphael Fischer