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Covering the Crisis: Every angle Covered

2 November 2009 | PRESS RELEASE


Estonian Finance Minister, Jürgen Ligi, financial futurist, Bernard Lietaer, and former Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, lead the programme for Covering the Crisis, the EJC Interface conference on the role of the media in the financial crisis.

This event also features a cartoon exhibit on the financial crisis by Kevin ‘Kal’ Kallaugher, the editorial cartoonist for The Economist magazine. The two-day event takes place on 9 and 10 November in Brussels.

Covering the Crisis brings together top business reporters, academics and bankers to draw lessons from how the crisis was covered both in financial and general media in Europe and the US. Our speakers include: Asgeir Jónsson of Iceland’s Kaupthing Bank; Financial Times associate editor Wolfgang Munchau; Dean Starkman of the Columbia Journalism Review; and Chris Hughes, editor of Energetic conference moderator Eithne Treanor, herself a former correspondent for ABC, Bloomberg and CNBC, will ensure a lively debate.

Our full lineup can be found on a dedicated conference website:

Jónsson will kick off with a keynote speech tagged, Did the media and the market let down Iceland?. The Kaupthing Bank chief economist recently published a book, Why Iceland?, on the demise of Iceland’s economy, suggesting that Iceland took on the role of the canary in the global coal mine. Another author, Wolfgang Munchau, who writes a weekly column about the European Union and the European economy for the Financial Times, will attend. Munchau’s latest book, The Meltdown Years: The Unfolding of the Global Economic Crisis, is a comprehensive analysis of threats to the global economy. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, president of the Party of European Socialists, will speak on financial regulation in the European Union. His views are considered an alternative to the plans currently being pursued by the European Commission. On the second day of the conference, the director of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Karel Lannoo, will update participants on the state of the EU’s new regulatory landscape.

Our conference coincides with the November meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels. Before this Ecofin meeting formally starts on Tuesday, Estonia’s Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi will stop by Covering the Crisis to speak about how the crisis was dealt with in his country and how he perceived media coverage on the crisis. A number of people working for finance ministries in the EU member states and for the European Central Bank will attend the conference as participants.

‘The Crime of Our Time’

Media coverage of the financial crisis will be analysed throughout the conference as we work to draw lessons for the future of financial journalism and reporting in general. Among the journalists speaking are vocal critics including Dean Starkman, editor of the financial blog The Audit at Columbia Journalism Review, and Danny Schechter, the News Dissector. Schechter will present his new movie, The Crime of Our Time, during a get-together at The Claridge multimedia venue on Monday evening. His movie exposes the financial crisis as a crime story.

More highlights

Robert Teitelman, editor-in-chief of The Deal; Mark Gilbert, global capital markets columnist for Bloomberg News; editor Chris Hughes; and Robert McLeod, founding editor of, will discuss the need to reinvent financial journalism as a commentary, analysis and intelligence service. Ethical issues will be addressed by Melisande Middleton, director of the Center for International Media Ethics in Paris.

The financial services sector will be represented by Eclectica hedge-fund manager Hugh Hendry; Jason Schenker of Prestige Economics in Austin, Texas; Tim Johnson of City-based reputation management firm Regester Larkin; and former Dutch business journalist Willem Middelkoop, who now offers a gold trading service. Hendry is one of the UK’s best-known fund managers, famous for his bold, contrarian views. He is a familiar face to viewers on CNBC, BBC and Channel 4. Schenker worked as risk specialist at McKinsey, and as economist at Wachovia bank. His inside views will inform his presentation, The Story Not Reported, on the second day of the conference.

Academic input will come from Damian Tambini of the London School of Economics, author of a groundbreaking research report on the rights and duties of financial and business journalists; professor Steve Schifferes of London City University, who will analyse how the BBC called the crisis; and Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, professor of organisational behaviour at the Open University Business School, adviser to the BBC’s Aftershock series, who will discuss the role of media in social amplification processes. Karel Williams of Manchester University and Ewald Engelen of the University of Amsterdam will deliver a joint presentation on Storytelling by Distributive Coalition.

The prospect of a new money paradigm will be addressed in a session with presentations by Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of the Bruegel thinktank and Bernard Lietaer, financial futurist and research fellow at University of California-Berkeley. This session seeks bold ideas to challenge the economic practices and premises that caused the financial meltdown.

For more details and to watch the livestream:


Bianca Lemmens

The European Journalism Centre is an independent, international, non-profit institute dedicated to the highest standards in journalism, mainly through the further training of journalists and media professionals. Building on its extensive international network, the Centre operates as a partner and facilitator in a wide variety of projects.

Covering the Crisis
This conference aimed to identify the role journalists played in the economic and political constellation that enabled the economic crush of 2008. Bringing together media professionals, financial experts, and politicians, Covering the Crisis also examined the relationship between the press and the financial sector, and suggested a blue print for best practices in the field of financial journalism.