Katie Couric and Children of the Recession

There’s been plenty written about the banks, mortgages, Tim Geithner, AIG and other esoteric aspects of why our world economy is in the tank. So you might be a little recession-fatigued when it comes to news coverage. But bear with me. There are some stories you should see that might actually make a difference for real people.

There’s still a pretty big elephant in the room that many have been ignoring when it comes to this topic –how families, and children in particular, are struggling to stay afloat and stay together until their financial fortunes turn. But that’s changed with the launch of the Children of the Recession series by Katie Couric at the CBS Evening News. I was lucky enough to participate in a conference call with many other bloggers, mostly from the SVMoms group, to talk with Katie and her producers about how this project came about, how they decided what stories to cover and to ask for our input on future story ideas for this ongoing series.

Katie told us that CBS reporters have found that emergency rooms around the country are seeing an increase in cases of abuse and neglect, families are buying less expensive foods for their tables — cheaper food often means more fattening food which isn’t good for a country with too many obese children — and families with formerly stable jobs like professors and accountants becoming homeless. Those are just a few of the dire stories they are finding and reporting on that show the real impact of George Bush’s economic legacy.

These aren’t just stories for the sake of finding stories to fill air time. Katie and her producers are interested in telling them as a way to help make real change and to grow grassroots efforts to help families in need until they are back on their feet. Interestingly, Katie said she hasn’t felt this proud of her work in a long time and hopes that by beginning to tell the stories of families in crisis, that we can all take action to expose the problems with not only the economy, but also with systems that can’t handle the numbers of children who need help.

Katie acknowledged that CBS (most of the network’s news shows are doing stories for the series) needs to stay committed and keep working on Children of the Recession if they are truly going to have a positive impact. By the way she and her team sounded on the phone, I think that’s a commitment they’re going to keep.

Of course, it would have been nice to be able to have this kind of blogger chat with Katie in person like we did about a year ago, but it was fascinating that she would take the time to pick our brains about what’s going on in our communities and to see how her team could incorporate that into their coverage.

Have any stories or anecdotes you think she should know about? Or programs or efforts that are helping people in your communities? Let me know in a comment and I’ll E-mail them to her producers! If some blogger ideas help create a news story that changes things for just one family, that would be a good day’s work.

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3 Responses to “Katie Couric and Children of the Recession”

  1. margalit Says:

    You might want to mention the College Board’s latest scam which is denying waivers from kids below the poverty range. The SAT is required for college entrance and yet they deny over and over again kids with valid waivers. I can’t get my waivers through despite sending emails (multiple times) and talking to their “customer dis-service”. They give you the “the computer does it line” which makes me absolutely livid. It’s a freaking machine. It does whatever people TELL it to do.

    I have reported them to Barney Frank, Sens Kennedy and Kerry, but they won’t do anything. You know, poor kids… who cares? Meanwhile our state has cut 2/3 of the mental health budget for kids, and 2/3 of the CPS budget for kids in need of immediate services. Now if you have a kid in crisis, there is no body who can help you.

    The cuts are deepest for adolescents. Believe me when I say nobody cares.

  2. L.A. Story Says:

    Great to get another perspective from the conference call! Good job for sharing with your readers!

  3. LT from helpamotherout Says:

    Thank you, Pundit Mom, for this great post and asking your readers for suggestions to tell CBS producers.

    We hope Katie Couric and CBS make good on their commitment to continue to highlight these stories and issues. My fear is, after the camera crews go away, families are left with no long term solutions and America forgets about them. Remember what happened after Oprah did her recession show on Sacramento's tent cities? The media descended on Sacramento for the story, but now they are gone and the families (and I'm not even talking about the tent city residents – mostly chronically homeless) up there have no long term solutions.

    We would love for you to tell CBS producers about how St. John's Shelter for Women & Children in Sacramento (featured on Oprah's tent city show) have to turn some of their clients back onto the streets after they graduate from the 90 program (some families – women and children, have NO PLACE to go).

    On the upside, there is a story about an AMAZING non profit in SF, Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), that takes a holistic approach to helping homeless and low income families ensure that the next generation doesn't become homeless. CBS should go there to highlight their founder, and the great work that they all do in the community. The work that they do is truly inspiring and is a model for WHAT HELPS.

    Last idea, Katie Couric and CBS should do a story on how many families with young children have to make the choice between FOOD or DIAPERS. There is a connection between basic hygiene, how happy a baby is, and child abuse. This issue is obviously close to *our* hearts (- ;

    Hopefully this series will continue to air (Psst..CBS – how about a reprise of "Harvest of Shame?") and inspire private citizens to take action in their own communities across the country.

    Thank you again, Pundit Mom, for opening up the phone lines.

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