Mejo 541 Economics Reporting 253 Carroll Hall Fall 2017, 3 credits Tuesday and Thursday, 12: 30 p m. to 1: 45 p m. Instructor

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MEJO 541 - Economics Reporting

253 Carroll Hall

Fall 2017, 3 credits
Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Instructor: Professor Chris Roush, 214 Carroll

Phone: 962-4092 (office); 903-8574 (home); 593-3921 (cell)


Office hours: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Other times by appointment.
Objectives: Teach students how to cover Wall Street and the economy, focusing on how stocks, bonds and economic indicators interact and how this information is reported in the media. Emphasis on reporting on the Federal Reserve, labor, consumer, manufacturing and inflation, as well as certain industries. Students will research and write articles in these areas.
Course requirements: Students are expected to attend class and actively participate in the discussions. Classes will include lectures on specific topics. In addition, students should be regularly reading economics-related stories in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times business section and The News & Observer business section.

90-100= Story could be published in a major metropolitan newspaper's business section, or a business magazine.

80-89=Minor editing needed, but is publishable. Conclusions may be weak;
70-79=Needs extensive editing and rethinking. Structure or conclusions may be flawed. May contain spelling error;

60-69=Story needs to be rewritten and re-reported all the way through. May contain more than one spelling error;

Below 60=Story has a fact error, or misstates facts from documents. Seriously flawed in writing and conclusions.

The final grade will be determined as follows:

50%=Writing assignments outside of class.
15%=Stock picking papers;
10%=Book report;
10%=Class participation.
The writing assignments will be strictly graded. Because economics writing involves numbers and names, each fact error in a story will result in an automatic F, and each misspelled word will lower a grade by one letter. AP style errors will count a half-letter grade, or 5 points. There is a business news section in the AP stylebook. I would recommend that each of you review it carefully. We will discuss AP style for economics writing early in the semester.
Deadlines for stories assignment in class will be discussed at the end of the class period, but will typically be at noon the following day. Papers can be turned in by delivering them to my office or by sending them as an e-mail attachment to
Late assignments will receive a 25-point deduction for every day they are late.

Show me the Money: Writing Business and Economics Stories for Mass Communication. By Chris Roush. Taylor and Francis, 2016 (Third edition).

The SABEW Stylebook. By Chris Roush and Bill Cloud. Marion Street Press, 2012.
Writing about Business: The New Columbia Knight-Bagehot Guide to Economics & Business Journalism. Edited by Terri Thompson. Columbia University Press. 2001.

The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media, and Manipulation. By Howard Kurtz. Touchstone Books. 2001. Book report due Sept. 28.

For each of the readings listed below on the course calendar, make sure you have read these chapters by the time you come to class on that day.
In additional, many class discussion topics will be supplemented by articles from newspapers and wire services about the economy. The instructor will provide those during class.
Honor Code:

I expect that each student will conduct himself or herself within the guidelines of the University honor system ( All academic work should be done with the high levels of honesty and integrity that this University demands. You are expected to produce your own work in this class. If you have any questions about your responsibility or your instructor’s responsibility as a faculty member under the Honor Code, please see the course instructor or Senior Associate Dean Charlie Tuggle, or you may speak with a representative of the Student Attorney Office or the Office of the Dean of Students.

Seeking Help:

If you need individual assistance, it’s your responsibility to meet with the instructor. If you are serious about wanting to improve your performance in the course, the time to seek help is as soon as you are aware of the problem – whether the problem is difficulty with course material, a disability, or an illness.


The University’s policy on Prohibiting Harassment and Discrimination is outlined in the 2011-2012 Undergraduate Bulletin UNC is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and does not discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and activities on the basis of age, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Special Accommodations:

If you require special accommodations to attend or participate in this course, please let the instructor know as soon as possible. If you need information about disabilities visit the Department of Disability Services website at

Course calendar:
Aug. 22: Introduction to economics reporting. Basic concepts and topics.

Aug. 24: The basic principles of economics reporting/AP Style. Read "Ignoring the Alarm" for this class.
Aug. 29: The Federal Reserve Board/Janet Yellen/Monetary policy. Chapter 3 in Show me the Money. Bloomberg functions: FOMC and HMHK

Aug. 31: Steve Matthews, Atlanta bureau chief of Bloomberg News. Discussion on covering the Federal Reserve.
Sept. 5: Gross domestic product and gross domestic income. Bloomberg functions: GPD

Sept. 7: Finding economic and company information on the Bloomberg terminal. Meet in Park Library near the terminal, which is in the back.

Sept. 12: Initial stock picks due at beginning of class.

Sept. 14: Unemployment rates and the WARN Act. Chapter 3 in Show me the Money. Bloomberg functions: EMPR . STORY ASSIGNMENT.
Sept. 19: Consumer Price Index/Producer Price Index. Bloomberg functions: CPI . STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Sept. 21: Commodity Prices. STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Sept. 26: Richard Chilton, Chilton Investment Co., on what investors look at when deciding what to invest in.
Sept. 28: Wall Street and the Economy. Read The Fortune Tellers by this class. Book report is due. Bloomberg functions: WEI

Oct. 3: What influences stock and bond prices. Chapter 7 in Show me the Money. Update paper on stock selections due.
Oct. 5: Trade deficits/surpluses. Bloomberg functions: TRBL . STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Oct. 10: Consumer Confidence Index, consumer credit/household balance. Chapter 3 in Show me the Money. Bloomberg functions: CNFC and PINC . STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Oct. 12: Midterm

Oct. 17: New home sales/mortgage rates/existing home sales. Bloomberg functions: HSST .

Oct. 19: NO CLASS. Fall break.

Oct. 24: Stock picking updates. Who's winning and losing? Update papers due.
Oct. 26: New car sales/durable goods orders/factory orders. Chapter 3 in Show me the Money. Bloomberg functions: ATSL and FODG . STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Oct. 31: Banking/financial services reporting.

Nov. 2: Beth Hunt, American City Business Journals,

Nov. 7: Real estate industry/economic development. Chapter 13 in Show me the Money.

Nov. 9: Stock picking updates. Who's winning and losing? Update papers due.
Nov. 14: Health care reporting.

Nov. 16: Jeanna Smialek, economics reporter, Bloomberg News.

Nov. 21: Retail reporting and retail sales/same-store sales Bloomberg functions: RTSL STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Nov. 23: NO CLASS

Nov. 28: Housing starts and permits/construction spending. Bloomberg functions: HSST . STORY ASSIGNMENT.

Nov. 30: Recessions, global calamities and other things that impact the economy

Dec. 5: Final class. Review of stock picking final project.
Final Project: Report on analysis of stock picking due Dec. 11.
This course teaches the following ACEJMC values:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;

  • Think critically, creatively and independently;

  • Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;

  • Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  • Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;

  • Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.

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