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The Enforcers: How Little-Known Trade Reporters Exposed the Keating Five and Advanced Business Journalism
by Rob Wells
University of Illinois Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-252-05180-7 | Paper: 978-0-252-08476-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04294-2
Library of Congress Classification HG2626.I78W35 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 364.1323092273

In the 1980s, real estate developer and banker Charles H. Keating executed one of the largest savings and loans frauds in United States history. Keating had long used the courts to muzzle critical reporting of his business dealings, but aggressive reporting by a small trade paper called the National Thrift News helped bring down Keating and offered an inspiring example of business journalism that speaks truth to power. Rob Wells tells the story through the work of Stan Strachan, a veteran financial journalist who uncovered Keating's misdeeds and links to a group of US senators—the Keating Five—who bullied regulators on his behalf. Editorial decisions at the National Thrift News angered advertisers and readers, but the newsroom sold ownership on the idea of investigative reporting as a commercial opportunity. Examining the National Thrift News's approach, Wells calls for a new era of business reporting that can—and must—embrace its potential as a watchdog safeguarding the interests of the public.
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