by Max Fox
The Huffington Post is a free online publication with a very larger following than most news papers. It’s easy accessibility ,online user interaction and large staff of talented writers attributes to its large success. I sat down and talked with Shahien Nasiripour, one of the staff reporters for the Huffington Post’s Business section.
Max: How long have you been writing for the Huffington Post?
Shahien: I’ve been a staff writer for three months now.
M: How are you liking it?
S: It’s great, I really enjoy writing for the Huffington Post. It’s a really important job writing for their business section with the ongoing housing crisis and the current state of the economy. There’s no better time to write for a business beat, we’re at a imperative point in the economic crisis and the rules of the game are changing. Its great to write for a publication with such a large reach, influence and fan base. I also have such a large free dome to cover an array of topics, from politics to the economy, there’s a lot of freedom and latitude. It’s very appealing and fun, it makes going to work fun.
M: What other Business publications have you worked for, and what draws you to it?
S: This is actually my first gig writing for a business beat, I did some investigative journalism for ESPN and publications in Florida. I’m drawn to the business beat because I have to report on what’s constantly going on in the world with the economy. I have to keep up with it and its ever changing nature. It’s a cycle of not being able to learn enough fast enough. I wanted to get paid to learn.
M: Does the current state of the economy make your job easier or more difficult?
S: Well I have to report on how and why in real time, I have to move as fast as possible, which makes it difficult. I have to read it and learn it then turn it around to the readers. However its easy in that everyone is interested. Anyone with any sort of loan is being effected by the economy. More and more people are realizing that everyone took a hit on this one. 1 in 7 homeowners are in foreclosure or in danger of doing so. Wall Street is effecting Main Street, people are becoming more engaged because the recession is becoming more tangible. When you know people want to know what you’re writing it makes you want to be better, It pushes you. There’s a insatiable need for information.
M: What do you think is the most important thing to report on?
S: What’s going on on capital hill is very important, they’re re writing the rules on how you get credit or a mortgage. The rules of the game are being re written because of the fall out of the economy. There’s also the failure of the bailout, it hasn’t been working like the government said it would. Banks took money to patch themselves up and didn’t give enough credit out to people who are in need. Now there’s less spending and more staff cutes, its a vicious circle.
M: So is the blame to be put on the banks?
S: Well Banks aren’t totally to blame, they aren’t seeing great opportunities to lend. Consumers need cash so they can spend it, but the banks are too optimistic. Why make a loan on possibly losing money? Its not as easy as saying banks are at blame. DC folks say that the banks should be pushed on making loans, crappy loans. Its not as easy as saying the banks should lend more. Don’t throw good money after bad.
M: where do you think the economy will be in a year?
S: There’s no way I can answer that. It’s an upward climb. We have national debt, folks aren’t lending, the public is over leverage, peoples debt is at a higher level than their income.
M: Where are you going to be in a year?
S: I may stay here or jump ship, I don’t know. I like what I’m covering.
M: any advice for young aspiring journalists out there?
S: If you want to be a foreign correspondent, move there and immerse yourself and write for whoever. If you want to cover business start writing as much as you can now. There are tons of papers out there and a lot ways to get involved. I can’t tell you how important tech skills are. Having basic skills and knowing how to access data bases and paint a coherent picture are imperative. And also just an overall point for reporting: find people responsible and effected and talk about it.