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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Negative Press and the Real Estate Market

I have heard it over and over again from fellow Realtors that the press is to blame for poor market conditions. That statement may seem a little far-fetched but it's not too far from the truth.

I worked in the Television News business for 9 years as an Investigative Reporter and I do believe the press in general tends to hype things up in order to grab attention. I also think some reporters are irresponsible when reporting on real estate market trends or the latest numbers - especially when home sales are down. They seem to focus on only the negative and don't always put things in perspective.

In the newsroom I saw first-hand how it worked - the reporter would get an assignment and the News Director or Producer would determine what to focus on - most often the negative aspects which are usually more sensational and frightening. Often times the only balanced side of the story was written in the 'tag line' which is at the very end of the TV report - it is usually a one or two liner which the anchor reads once the reporter is 'off camera'.

I read the papers with skepticism when I see negative articles about the real estate market and warnings to homebuyers about the risks of buying a home now. The next day it seems everyone takes the opinion they just read in the paper. Their views are formed by what they read. I just wish they also knew the other side of the story or at least more of the details.

The articles that do elaborate on the bigger picture only seem to be printed in the real estate trade magazines and the average 'Joe Public' doesn't read them. Bottom Line: The media has a great responsibility to report the truth in its entirety. In Television News reports are generally no longer than a minute and a half. That's why sound bytes are short and sweet and don't allow the 'boring details' to get in the way. Newspaper reporters are also given a limited amount space but that doesn't mean the important facts should be left on the cutting room floor.

Investigative Reporter Mike Mason

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