A friend of mine, Ron Roel, who was a reporter and editor at New York Newsday for more than 20 years, including real estate coverage, recently wrote a piece about the media coverage of real estate. As the co-founder of Real Estate Next, an educational service for the real estate community, he has often pondered the following questions, as have many others in the real estate community (self-included):
- Why do so many people complain that the news media focuses too much on negative stories, when most editors and reporters believe they’re just trying to cover what happens day to day?
- Does the news media really spend more time focusing on the housing bust than it did on the “boom” of the last few years?
- And what impact does the news media have in affecting news trends and shaping public opinion, beyond simply reporting events?
Ron’s white paper is titled Real Estate and the Media: Understanding news coverage and its impact on the housing market and is worth a read.
White Paper: Real Estate and the Media: Understanding news coverage and its impact on the housing market [PDF]
THX for the link. It is a pretty good road map of things that might impact the media’s approach to reporting about real estate.
Personally, I suspect the so-called “negativity” is the result of an incendiary combination of Big Real Estate’s cheerleading smashing into natural cynicism of Media (in general). Spun another way, it is the coincidence of (a) the (five year) real estate boom and the (b) boom in real estate bloggers (Small Media being viral), which Big Media followed rather than led.
If I had been chewing gum while reading the White Paper, I think I would have spit it at my screen when I got to this quote:
“People say we’re cheerleaders,” [NAR VP of PR Steve] Cook says, but it was the Realtors’ chief economist, David Lereah, who was predicting that prices would drop since 2001. “It was actually the boom that caught people by surprise.”
Maybe I wasn’t paying attention in 2001 (and soon thereafter) to Lereah’s price-dropping predictions, but I thought I was paying attention the last couple of years, when I remember Lereah talking more about not missing the boom….
I agree Sandy. Lereah was proactively cheerleading the market right until the end. The damage he did to NAR was significant, in terms of goodwill. I passed along your comments to Ron.