Best-selling investigative journalist Barbara Ehrenreich and the Institute for Policy Studies have launched an Economic Hardship Reporting Project to force this country’s crisis of poverty and economic insecurity to the center of the national conversation. Unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed Americans need to know that they are not alone, that the current economic crisis is not their fault and that they are not always getting the information they need to find solutions. Just telling compelling stories of individuals and families isn’t enough. We want to link such stories to the large picture, as we explore extreme — and deepening — inequality and the decline of the middle class.
Inspired in part by the Depression-era Federal Writers Project, we are working with several unemployed or underemployed journalists who have strong backgrounds in the kind of coverage we seek. They will produce original stories in exchange for fair compensation which will be published in various outlets and collected on this site.
This project also grew out of an IPS-led collaboration of human needs research and advocacy groups that produced the Battered by The Storm report in late 2009. Partners in that effort came back together in the summer of 2011 and, after talking with journalists and others concerned about the paltry nature of poverty coverage, affirmed the need for this project. Many remain on the roster of EHRP advisors.