Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic News from the Inside Out

On this week’s Lincoln Avenue, I’m talking with Marilyn Geewax, the senior business editor for National Public Radio news. But just as important, a local girl. Marilyn grew up in Campbell, and she was finishing college when the mills started to close down. Coming home from an internship in Dayton to write about the mill closings started her on a career of covering business and industry, and she brings to her work, and to our conversation, both a Youngstown perspective and the experience of years working as a journalist, including reporting on Youngstown.

Equally important, she is both covering and experiencing the struggles of the current economic crisis. As a business editor, she’s working with NPR reporters to identify important stories and examine them thoughtfully, to help the rest of us understand a confusing and frightening time. As an individual, she’s also beginning a new job, in a new part of her industry. She moved from print journalism to radio when she was laid off from the company for which she’d worked for many years – not because she wasn’t doing her job well, but because the company was adjusting to changes in the industry and to the economic situation.

Add to that experience an MA in international economic affairs, and we’re talking about someone who is in a unique and valuable position to understand and comment on the current economy – an issue with which I think many of us are struggling. How should we understand the economic shifts that are creating such havoc? As Geewax suggests in our conversation, we have to see the big picture – past and present, local, national, and international.

The topic is sobering, but her perspective is refreshing. She brings realism and optimism to the conversation, personal experience and an analytical view. It’s too bad that we don’t hear editors’ voices on the radio more often, because what Marilyn Geewax has to say is worth listening to.

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