Could City editors have done a better job?

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City editors should have predicted the financial crisis, according to the Daily Mail’s City editor Alex Brummer.

Talking to The Observer, Brummer argues that few journalists grasped the enormity or scale of the crash, adding that many young journalists weren’t working during the last financial crisis in the 1970s.

He said: ‘They were slow off the mark originally. That has something to do with the age profile. They’ve been brought up in a period of non-stop output and growth. I cut my teeth as a financial journalist in the white heat of the 1976 financial crisis, when 25 banks went under. Having lived through all of that you learned a [crisis] spreads from one institution to another and [governments] need to do something very quickly to stabilise the system.”

Dan Bögler, managing editor at the Financial Times, admitted some fault at the paper. ‘We believed the bankers when they said derivatives were making the world safer by spreading risk. But in reality it became a game of pass the parcel and the parcel ended up in the hands of those who least understood it. We take our share of the blame for that.

‘Why didn’t we spot it? Unfortunately, financial journalists – and the FT has better-trained financial journalists than others – don’t really understand this stuff, and they join a long list of people that starts with bank regulators, central bank regulators and money managers.”

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