BusinessWeek 'Recession Blog' Inactive a Whole Month as GDP Jumps 1.9 Percent

     Just a couple shorts months ago, the media were preaching a doom-and-gloom scenario about the economic downturn – feeling a need to illustrate various ways of economic hardship.

      BusinessWeek magazine even went as far as to launch a recession blog on its Web site in May to give this personalized glimpse into people’s lives.

      “This blog is one of the places we’ll tell these stories,” reporter Tim Catts wrote on the blog’s first post on May 2. “Here, we’ll jump into the conversation about where the economy is and where it’s going. Yes, sometimes we’ll look at the latest data. Sometimes we’ll share observations from the road. The goal is to give readers real stories about how the downturn is affecting individuals, businesses, and communities.”

     But, the economy is doing better than some in the media predicted and the blog has been neglected. Nearly three months later, there are just 22 posts. Meanwhile, the preliminary gross domestic product grew at a 1.9 percent pace for the second quarter of 2008 on July 31. The last post was made on July 3 by John A. Byrne about the ailing job market. The blog has only been updated three times since June 4.

      On CNBC’s July 30 “Mad Money,” nearly a year after his on-air meltdown about Fed monetary policy and the pending repercussions – which some turned out to be true, host Jim Cramer called the bottom to the stock market. He said it occurred on July 15 and things are rebounding – a sign which could be interpreted as an improving economy.

     “It smells to me like something, in fact many things have at last changed for the better,” Cramer said.

    Overly negative views of the economy are a typical media problem. Even comparing current economic conditions to the Great Depression has been a theme for the media. A recent report by the Business & Media Institute, “The Great Media Depression,” found networks made the comparison more than 40 times in early 2008.