The Guardian Small British paper makes big impact with NSA stories

first_imgFor a newspaper that’s small and underweight even by British standards, the Guardian has a knack for making some big noises, both in its home market and across the pond.The venerable paper (founded in 1821) was one of five news organizations to publish stories based on WikiLeaks’s trove of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables in late 2010. The only U.S. newspaper to publish the leaks, the New York Times, did so thanks to the generosity of the Guardian, which shared the documents.Next, the Guardian’s revelations about the extent of illegal phone tapping by journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in 2011 helped bring down the massively popular British tabloid and led to a wave of criminal prosecutions in Britain.In late May, the Guardian was at it once more. The newspaper raced The Washington Post to break details of a massive National Security Agency surveillance program. It subsequently posted the first and only video interview with Edward Snowden, the young American security contractor who was the source of The Post’s and Guardian’s stories.Not a bad run of scoops for a financially struggling, frankly liberal newspaper with a newsprint circulation of fewer than 160,000 copies daily (which makes it roughly the size of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) but with a significantly larger digital following worldwide.The NSA stories, in particular, raised the Guardian’s profile to an Everest-like peak. Its video interview with Snowden, conducted by its star U.S. columnist Glenn Greenwald, attracted nearly 7 million unique views worldwide in one day. The total was a record for the paper’s website, which is already one of the world’s most heavily trafficked news sites with a high of 41 million unique monthly visitors.The NSA and WikiLeaks revelations also raise a question: Why is a London-based news organization revealing so many secrets about the United States government?“We’re just doing what journalists do,” replies Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s longtime editor and architect of its global digital strategy. “We were contacted, just as The Washington Post was contacted, [by a source] with some very interesting documents. No journalist in the world wouldn’t have been interested in this.”The Guardian, he points out, is equally dogged about domestic spying; it published revelations last month that the British equivalent of the NSA monitored the computers and phone calls of foreign officials during two G-20 summit meetings in London in 2009 — a story that embarrassed the British government on the eve of hosting another international summit.Since 2008, the Guardian has been making a major push to appeal to the U.S. market. After a bout of layoffs, it now employs 29 journalists in the United States, primarily in New York and Washington. Online visitors from the States are channeled to the Guardian’s U.S. edition, which features America-centric news. Monday’s page, for example, carried articles about the deaths of firefighters in Arizona and a retrospective of photos from the Battle of Gettysburg.Along the way, the paper has hired a succession of U.S. pundits such as Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff, NPR host Bob Garfield and former Wonkette blogger Ana Marie Cox.Its biggest hire, arguably, has been Greenwald, the crusading columnist who broke (along with The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman) the NSA surveillance stories.Greenwald joined the Guardian as a regular columnist and blogger last August. He said the decisive factor in his decision to leave Salon.com for the Guardian wasn’t money, but rather the newspaper’s approach to the powerful.“For at least a couple of years before I went there, I found myself citing Guardian articles quite frequently in the work I was doing,” Greenwald said in an exchange of emails from Rio de Janeiro, where he resides with his Brazilian husband. “They were extensively covering vital stories that most U.S. media outlets were either ignoring or downplaying in areas of U.S. foreign policy, civil liberties, secrecy, whistleblowing and the like.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds up a copy of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as he addresses media on the grounds of Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, eastern England, on Dec. 17, 2010. Carl Court/AFP In Greenwald’s view, U.S. media outlets “tend to be far more reverent of and accommodating to political power than British media outlets, including the Guardian.”Then again, the Guardian has its own sacred cows. Unlike its U.S. media cousins, which have traditionally sought neutrality in their news reporting, the Guardian hews to the British model of identifying with a political party. The paper has been liberal since its founding by Manchester mill owners and cotton merchants; in the last British elections it supported the minority Liberal Democrats.It has played politics here, too. In 2004, it enlisted its readers to write to undecided voters in Ohio, advising them to vote against President George W. Bush. The campaign elicited a thunderous rebuke from U.S. and British readers alike and was scrapped.Rusbridger explains that some of the Guardian’s willingness to experiment, and much of its independence, is a result of its unusual ownership structure. The newspaper has been owned for decades by a charitable foundation, the Scott Trust Limited, whose “core purpose” is to secure the paper’s editorial independence “in perpetuity.” The trust also owns a sister newspaper, the Observer. (On Sunday, the Observer posted and then quickly withdrew a story that alleged the United States had worked with European Union countries to collect personal communications data; the piece was based solely on information from Wayne Madsen, a U.S. conspiracy theorist who has suggested that President Barack Obama is gay.)For all its nominal success abroad, the Guardian is troubled at home. Circulation of its domestic print edition has tumbled by more than half since the beginning of 2006; according to British media accounts, the paper lost about $1 million a week from 2009 to 2012. It continues to lose money, according to Rusbridger. “We’ve been through lean times like everyone else,” he says. “Last year wasn’t great.”But he notes that the paper is subsidized by other ventures owned by the trust, including Auto Trader, a highly profitable British car-sales site.Rusbridger isn’t blind to the irony. The next round of globe-rattling government-secrecy revelations, he says, may be brought to you by “a secondhand car magazine.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

Housing Market Recovery Questionable Due to Contradicting Data

first_imgIt’s much harder to qualify for a mortgage.  The default risk of mortgages originated in 2001 was about 12.5 percent. As the housing bubble began inflating along with riskier lending, the expected default risk increased to nearly 17 percent. Post-crisis however, as lenders switched to originating only the safest mortgages, the expected default risk fell rapidly to just 4.6 percent in 2013. Access to credit has since started to improve slowly with default risk increasing to 5.7 percent in early 2015. August 10, 2015 509 Views 2001 Contradicting Data Housing Market Recovery Urban Institute 2015-08-10 Staff Writer There are fewer mortgages being originated. Approximately 4.7 million first-lien purchase mortgages were originated in 2001. In contrast in 2013, the latest year for which HDMA data are available, only 3 million such mortgages were originated. Our previous research shows that a big reason for this decline is the extraordinarily tight lending standards of the post-crisis period. Housing Market Recovery Questionable Due to Contradicting Data Share The rate of seriously delinquent mortgages is much higher. Although the rate of seriously delinquent mortgages has declined recently as house prices have recovered, it still remains high relative to 2001. Loans that are more than 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure comprised 4.2 percent of all outstanding mortgages in the first quarter of 2015, down from nearly 10 percent in 2009, but still elevated from 2.4 percent in 2001.”We continue to move in the right direction, but progress has been uneven,” Kaul said. “So how will we know when the mortgage market has recovered enough and is healthy once again? When the government share of the mortgage market is closer to 50 percent, when the expected default risk is closer to 12.5 percent, when first-lien mortgage originations are closer to 5 million, and when the rate of seriously delinquent mortgages is closer to 2.4 percent. In other words, when it looks more like 2001.” in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Market Studies, News Normalizing housing market conditions such as home sales increasing, prices rising, credit access easing, and private capital gradually returning appear to be imminent signs of a full recovery. However, contradicting data such as tight credit, high delinquencies, and taxpayers still backing most of the mortgage market reveal otherwise.Karan Kaul, research associate at the Urban Institute addressed the looming questions surrounding the housing market health in a report released Monday, determining that no single indicator can gauge market health.According to the report, in 2001, home prices were rising moderately, mortgage credit was easier to obtain, underwriting was sound, private capital was abundant, and default and foreclosure rates were low. Compared to today’s market, this was definitely a healthy housing market.The government has a much larger share of the market. In 2001, the Federal Housing Administration, (FHA) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the government sponsored enterprises together backed about 52 percent of all first-lien mortgage origination while private capital financed the remainder. In 2014, the government-backed share was 71 percent after peaking at nearly 90 percent in 2009.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter The worlds elite trav

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterThe world’s elite travellers have a new secret hideaway to call home in Dubai, with the launch of Desert Palm PER AQUUM‘s Villa LAYALI.The just-unveiled villa takes Arabian luxury into strikingly imaginative territory. Villa LAYALI welcomes guests to a world where designer geometries and sensory pleasures await behind closed doors and patterns of light shift across courtyard walls and panes of water. The three-bedroom 845-square-metre villa hides amongst tall palm trees in a location some jet-setters will recognise as the site of the hotel’s original royal villa. The property’s original award-winning designer Isabelle Miaja brings her artistry to the new Villa LAYALI, evoking the Arabian avant-garde aesthetic that has set Desert Palm PER AQUUM apart since its opening in 2008.Just 15 minutes from the spires of Downtown Dubai, Desert Palm PER AQUUM is one of the UAE’s better-kept secrets. The verdant resort hotel feels a world away from the urban energy and bustle. Set in a 6.4-hectare polo estate, nature prevails and sophisticated design attracts the discerning. Travellers and in-the-know locals lounge amidst the peaceful grounds and rarefied surrounds. Guests arrive via a private entrance, strolling a Jordanian stone pathway adorned by water features and manicured hedges.The large courtyard evokes the sanctuary of a modern riad. Mashrabiya screens over the pool and all around the walls of the courtyard cast intricate shadows onto the pool blue and courtyard’s white tiled expanse. Across the courtyard, the glass-enclosed Great Room entreats with its solid oak floor, private palm enclave, elevated terrace and impressive views of the championship polo field. The long oval marble table of the dining area sets a chic tableau, perfect for dinners created by a private chef.During Dubai’s October to April polo season, the equestrian action takes place just metres from the villa. Its guests enjoy a VIP viewing platform from the Great Room’s balcony. Luxury on Reserve Villa LAYALI guests enjoy complimentary limousine transfer on airport arrival and departure, 24-hour stays (subject to availability), priority reservations for fine dining restaurant RARE and the acclaimed treatments at LIME Spa, as well as a private six-seat buggy for their own use to traverse the estate. Upon booking Villa LAYALI, guests are contacted to select the wines and Champagnes they desire to have stocked in their private wine fridge, to prepare any personalised luxuries and to pre-book butler service and other exclusive on-request indulgences.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more