Oct. 13, 2008  

The Facts Behind the Shrinking Middle Class (Tele-Seminars)

The airwaves are alive with political rant about middle-class Americans, the challenges they face, and a growing gap between rich and poor. Yet the demographic data tell some intriguing stories about who is in the middle class, who is poor, how they got there, and their chances of remaining – irrespective of who wins the November elections.

FACS will present two tele-seminars examining class disparities on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and Tuesday, Oct. 21. The seminars conclude a series inspired by “The Measure of America,” a recently published compendium of data on how Americans live, earn and struggle. The statistics document pockets of middle-class strength or vulnerability in many American communities.

Presenters in the tele-seminars will introduce journalists to a wealth of resources that trace incomes, wealth, education, and the other factors needed to join – and stay in – the great American middle class, as well as the growth of persistently poor groups throughout the country.

The focus will be local and regional as well as nationwide.

“Covering the Middle Class Squeeze” (Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific) brings together Kristen Lewis, co-author of “The Measure of America,” and Kathy Kristof, financial columnist and former president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). They will explore how families navigate the slippery economic slopes, the determinants of success or failure, and why the game has changed.

“Permanently Poor in the Land of Opportunity ?” (Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. Eastern/ 11 a.m. Pacific) will feature Lewis’s colleague Sarah Burd-Sharps along with Kristof to dissect the facts about poor families, and being poor in different regions of America . Where has the upward mobility gone? Why are the racial gaps growing?

The encompassing series of six tele-seminars is based on “The Measure of America” and presented by the Foundation for American Communications (FACS) with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The goal is to help journalists nail the stories that best apply to their local audience.

Participation is free for working journalists, but advance registration is required. For further details or to register, go to www.FACSnet.org

Registrants will receive a confirmation e-mail with information on how to participate.

FACS is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational institution providing seminars for journalists on complex issues in the news. FACS is a programming partner of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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