Traveling in Qatar – Kuwait – Emirates – Saudi Arabia:
The charts are the same – oil’s collapsing price, stock markets’ collapsing values. The photos are the same: frustrated traders, worried leaders of stock markets. But some reporting is missing.
First there is the human story, the story that connects facts with feelings.
What about those who have lost their savings, their businesses? Few stories begin with the tales of these people. What about those who jobs have been cut? The workers who have to return home, or who can nolonger send home as much as they once did. And what about those whose career plans have suddenly been put on hold?
Then we need to talk about the the reality of the markets themselves. How well were they protected against such crashes? How much transparency exists so that investors knew where their funds were going, and how markets operate today in the Arab world? How much of the Arab world’s financial slide is linked to risky foreign investments, questionable financial gambles, dependence on advice that was blown away by the crisis?
Then we need to look ahead. What does the collapse in oil prices mean for the region, for each country, for businesses, for economies, for politics? We need details on how governments and investors are looking ahead. Was this collapse anticipated? And if if oil never returns to the mountaintop of prices, what will come next for those countries that counted on it? And how about a comparison of the financial strategies of each country touched by the economic quiksand?
And lastly, the stories need to be pertinent and in context. If there’s been a market swoon, how much in the last six month, in the last year? How much of the nation’s debt is impacted by the losses? How have wages,the costs of l iving, the basic things of life been impacted. Make the stories and anlaysis humane, and compelling and draw the picture of the economy all the way from the top down to the store where you buy your bread.
Use number and charts to make the numbers real and then people and then put it all into context so that it matters.
These are the stories that need to told, and they way they might be.