Off-record conversations can build trust, says Economist’s Beddoes

November 8, 2005

November 8, 2005 — Zanny Minton Beddoes, a Kennedy School graduate who is currently Washington economics editor for the Economist, returned to Cambridge on November 8 to discuss her experience working for the magazine in a talk titled “The Inside Outsider: Covering America’s Economic Policy for the Economist.”

As one who has written extensively on Latin America, Beddoes touched on the recent collapse of free trade talks in the region, calling it a PR victory for Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. The majority of her talk focused on some of the key differences between the Economist and other periodicals, among them the strong presence of opinion and rare usage of quotes.

By keeping conversations off the record, Beddoes claimed, reporters at the Economist are able to build greater relationships of trust with their sources. Nonetheless, the onus of interpretation then falls on reporters rather than their readers.