Reporting on Social Security not easy

By Jesse Millard
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University

CHICAGO – Readers and viewers tend to spend only about three months following Social Security coverage because they only retire once, according to Social Security experts who spoke at the SABEW 2015 conference.

Reporters should not treat Social Security stories not like breaking news, because a reporter could never be finished with the topic, said Philip Moeller,  author and past SABEW president.

Moeller, Larry Kotlikoff and Paul Solman wrote, “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets of Maxing Out Your Social Security.” The book explains how people should approach Social Security and its complexities.

“No one can get it (Social Security) right because they made it so complicated,” Kotlikoff said.

Since Social Security is so dense, Moeller said, journalists should report on Social Security in pieces. Trying to cover all faucets in one story would be difficult and tends to contribute to the confusion.

Moeller pressed journalists to do their homework about Social Security and to begin reporting on it because there is indeed a strong interest.

“You have to get people to invest in the time to look at their financial status,” Moeller said.

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