Exactly a decade ago, the world was hit by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in the United States. Trillions of dollars were sucked out of the global economy, tens of millions of people lost their jobs, and austerity economics was imposed across numerous countries.

For governments, regulators, financial institutions and the journalists who reported on them, 2008 was a year of reckoning. The financial press were cheerleaders for a bubble that eventually burst, showed a lack of scepticism about Wall Street claims and failed to expose what was in effect mass fraud on their own beat, namely the selling mortgages to millions of Americans who should not have been eligible. 

"Most of the coverage leading up to the crash ignored the really central problem which was that fraud and predatory tactics were rife and they were really what drove the crash," according to Michael Hudson, global investigations editor at AP.

In the aftermath, some outlets apologised for the shortcomings in their reporting. Ten years on, how much has changed?

"The media are still very obsessed with the issues that created the last crisis," says Gillian Tett, US managing editor at the Financial Times. "The one thing we can count on is that the next crisis won't come from exactly the same area, it will be something else...there are other areas of our life where you have once again geeks in control of a technology that no one else understands."

Probing the culture of the financial press is central to any critical examination of its performance. In the years after the crash, critics on the outside and voices from inside the newsrooms pointed out some of the most problematic aspects of how the financial media operates.

Since then, there's been a lot of introspection by the media.

"I think there is a strategic mismatch between much of journalism and the kind of world that we live in," explains Paul Mason, a former economics editor at Channel 4. "Business journalism cannot be like sports journalism. It has to ask the question, should this match even be being played to the rules it's being played? Sports journalism cannot ask that of a football match. We must ask that of a banking system. Are the rules right? Are the players all crooks? Is the game futile? Is it destroying the society we live in?"


Contributors

Gillian Tett - US managing editor, Financial Times 

Margaret Popper - Former reporter, Bloomberg TV

Michael Hudson - Global Investigations editor, AP

Paul Mason - Former economics editor, Channel 4

Source: Al Jazeera