Teletraining 1/23/12: Fresh ideas for Covering the Housing & Foreclosure Crisis

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Fresh ideas for Covering the Housing & Foreclosure Crisis

Jan. 23, 2012- 12 p.m. MST

Five years into the housing crash, plenty of reporters are worn out. How else can you say that homes aren’t selling? That’s where SABEW aims to help.

Spend an hour listening to “Fresh Ideas for Covering the Housing and Foreclosure Crisis,” and you’ll come away with a fresh eye to write about the residential crisis – and the recovery.

Listen to the Call
Click below to hear the call.



Matthew Strozier, The Wall Street Journal

Matthew Strozier, online real estate editor at The Wall Street Journal. He edits the Developments blog and oversees other online real-estate features. Prior to, he was deputy managing editor at The Real Deal in New York and an assistant city editor at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He started as a planning and zoning reporter for the Stamford Advocate in Connecticut.






Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac


Daren Blomquist, is director of marketing communications at RealtyTrac Inc., a leading source of foreclosure statistics nationwide. The company, which collects and aggregates foreclosure data covering more than 90% of U.S. households, is considered the media’s go-to source for foreclosure information. Blomquist is a graduate of Trinity International University.


Kerry Curry, HousingWire

Kerry Curry, is executive editor of HousingWire, a national trade publication based in Dallas that covers the housing economy with a focus on real estate, mortgage lending, investing, mortgage servicing and macro economics. Prior to that, Curry spent 12 years with the Dallas Business Journal, an American City Business Journals’ publication where she worked as Fort Worth bureau chief and later as managing editor. Her background includes reporting for several daily newspapers, including the Austin American-Statesman.

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Additional presentation information:

Dig into the quarterly reports and 10Ks (including supplements) of public companies in the housing and lending business.

You’ll find original stories that no one else has if you’ll take the time. Example: “Countrywide, AGs and the BofA turning point.” This story talks about how BofA quietly reassigned 13,000 employees to its legacy servicing dept. while cutting jobs elsewhere.


Ask for customized data.

There are several national companies will provide customized data as long as you credit them for the information in your stories and charts. Figure out what want to find out and then find a data provider that can crunch those numbers. I mention RealtyTrac since they are on this call. But there are many others.


Do ridealongs.

Cops reporters do this. Why not housing reporters? Find the city in your coverage area that has the biggest foreclosure problem. Spend a day riding along with a code enforcement officer. Spend an afternoon with an REO real estate broker. Go along with a property preservation company when it does a “trash out.”


Cover the booming foreclosure support industry. Sure, homebuilders and mortgage brokers are hurting. But hundreds of entrepreneurs have formed businesses to address the housing crisis and are making money. They preserve properties, they manage rentals. They rescue the pets left behind after a foreclosure. They create the latest, greatest technology. They build lock boxes.


Mine the flip side. For every down, there is an up. Find the people who are trying to make things right, the people and companies who are part of the solution.


Get to know the Federal Reserve districts and their macro/micro housing economists.

The Fed regularly publishes informative reports about housing that often get missed by mainstream media. Develop sources at the district covering your region and look for reports that provide a national perspective.


Develop a fresh perspective with new sources

Untapped stories can be found via reports, studies and white papers from universities, nonprofits, think tanks, cities, financial services firms, credit ratings agencies and investment bank reports. Call these people to chat. Make it a goal to develop a couple of new sources every week.


Pay attention to federal and state legislative actions and lawsuits.

Bloomberg Law, as an example, allows you to set up keyword searches enabling you to get pinged in your email when legislation of interest is filed or when lawsuits involve companies you follow. Several states also have robust state legislature sites that allow you to track legislation.


Cover the industry angle. Even if you are at a consumer-oriented daily newspaper, consumers want to know what’s happening behind the scenes with those who work in the mortgage/housing the industry. How are lenders impacted by new rules and regulations?


Attend industry events to learn from the insiders. The Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Securitization Forum and various real estate trade groups put on conferences every year. Attend those that are open to the media for a strong grounding on housing and mortgage finance issues.


Cover housing as it intersects with the broader economy

Look at consumer sentiment, jobless claims, debt-to-income ratios, credit card debt, student loan debt, etc. and connect it up to its effect on the housing sector.



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