How self-proclaimed 'Fed geek' Ben Winck covers the economy without getting whiplash
- Business Insider is taking you behind the scenes of the best stories in our series "
The Inside Story."
- It's an in-depth look at how these stories came together and a peek inside the reporter's notebook.
- Reporter Ben Winck talks to Sarah Belle Lin about being a "Fed geek" and how his work has influenced his spending habits.
Sarah Belle Lin: You write about the
Ben Winck: I covered financial
Lin: You talk to experts on both sides of the recession debate. So what do you think, is a US recession inevitable?
Winck: I definitely don't think a recession is inevitable. Yes, there are several factors that could plunge the country into a downturn sometime in 2023, and a growing number of economists see a recession as increasingly likely. Yet I still believe there's a decent chance that the Federal Reserve can bring inflation lower without tanking the economy. Much of it relies on factors the Fed can't control like tangled supply chains, but I think it's possible! Then again I've always erred on the optimistic side.
Lin: You've reported about how renters of color spend hundreds more on average than white renters. How and when do you try to incorporate race in your reporting?
Winck: Knowing how uneven the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis was, I felt that I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't cover the disparities of today's recovery. It's easy to say that the country has fully healed when you only look at the privileged groups that are likely to rebound the fastest. I need to consider all perspectives and the structural disadvantages in our economy if I'm going to accurately cover the economy as it exists today. I also like to think that by calling out racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequities, I can help educate readers about how many parts of our economy aren't equal playing fields.
Lin: What topics have been the most challenging to report on? How did you work through them?
Winck: Everyone on my team knows I'm a massive Fed geek. I absolutely love covering central banks and monetary policy, but it can be difficult to explain how a slight change in
Lin: Walk us through a day in your work life (be they one of the busier ones or typical ones).
Winck: Many of my days start right at 8:30 a.m. ET, since that's usually when new economic data drops. If my editor and I decide it's worth covering, we'll write up a story on that report, and typically we'll follow that up with a step-back analysis of the data and what it means for the economy overall. If there aren't any relevant speeches or hearings to cover then I'll usually spend the rest of the day working on longer analysis pieces, either by interviewing sources, combing through the FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) site, or reading some research papers. And if there's an important report dropping the following morning, I'll prewrite a story on that so we can publish ASAP.
Lin: For folks trying to understand the current market landscape, what books or shows would you recommend?
Winck: Great question. For understanding markets, reading a variety of daily market wraps (stories that sum up what's going on in markets) is the best way to quickly get a handle on what's going on. Having Bloomberg TV or CNBC on in the background is also a great way to get a read on the biggest financial and economic stories of the day. Markets Insider does a fantastic job at covering both the major trends in markets and the day's biggest stock moves. As for TV shows and movies, I'd recommend "Industry," "The Big Short," and "Too Big to Fail."
Lin: How does your reporting at Insider influence your own spending or investing habits?
Winck: It's actually made me more passive than active with my investing! I didn't do any active trading when I covered markets, just because of the obvious conflict of interest issues that would emerge. That's not as much of an obstacle on the economy team (no, I'm not getting the monthly jobs report ahead of everyone else), but covering the economy broadly has made me appreciate just how futile active trading would be for me. So I'm more focused on investing into a handful of broad ETFs when I can and then forgetting about it, instead of letting it distract me. As for spending, I just try to steer clear of spending on things that I know have seen very strong inflation. I don't think I've ever been happier to not have a car I need to fuel up!
You can read some of Winck's stories here:
- Culinary odyssey: Exploring Kochi's 10 famous cuisines
- Scientists have finally figured out what happened to the lost continent ‘Argoland’ that went missing 155 million years ago
- Revamp your health in 2024: 10 Essential food habits for a better life
- Consistent inflows push small-cap funds AUM past Rs 2 lakh cr mark in Nov
- Ola Electric aims to raise nearly Rs 5,800 cr via IPO, to file DRHP