Perhaps the most celebrated quote by an economist, and a clear favorite of economic journalists, is John Maynard Keynes’ warning:
“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”
Keynes suggested a conspiracy of intellectuals, insidiously determining the affairs of men. Economic journalists take this warning seriously. They are the most vigilant observers of the border crossings between academia, government and business.
I am interested in how economic journalists work. How do they make economics newsworthy? How do they interact with their sources?
I am interested in how the public reads economic news. What is economic news good for? and for whom?
I am researching the life and work of economic journalist Leonard S. Silk.
Silk joined Business Week in 1954. After a short spell as a staff writer, Silk became editor of the “Economics” section of the magazine. In 1959 he became Senior Editor and in 1967, editor of the magazines’s editorial page.
He was also at the New York Times from 1970 to 1992.