Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Austria's banking worries

I was in Austria recently in connection with a series of stories on how the Great Recession is playing out in East-Central Europe. There many countries had only just emerged from their post-Communist recession when they got whacked hard by an uber-Capitalist one.

One of the casualties has been Austria, whose banks loaned heavily to the region during the go-go years, so much in fact that many experts say the country is vulnerable to a Greek-style meltdown. Read my piece on this topic in the Christian Science Monitor to find out more.

One thing to be aware of: reporters generally don't write the headlines and subheads that go with their story, and the ones the Monitor wrote for this piece don't accurately reflect the article. A better headline would have been "Austria fears wave of bad banks loans tied to Eastern Europe" and the subhead should have focused on the Hypo bank failure (in December) rather than the Austrian state's massive bank rescue (more than a year ago.)

Memo to journalists: always ask to see headlines and captions beforehand.

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