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Craufurd Goodwin's New Book Examines the Journalist Walter Lippmann

Craufurd Goodwin has long been interested in journalism and the interaction between journalists and economists. So it's only fitting that, three years ago, for a HOPE conference on the economist as public intellectual, he wrote a paper on the American journalist Walter Lippmann. The paper was published in the 2013 supplemental issue of HOPE with the title "Walter Lippmann: The Making of a Public Economist."

It may strike some as a stretch to include a paper on a journalist in a conference on economists. But the truth of the matter is that Lippmann was as much a member of the economics community as economists themselves (a situation unthinkable today). He corresponded with practically every important economist of his day, including John Maynard Keynes, who thought so highly of Lippmann's columns that he tried to convince a major British publishing house to make them available throughout the entire empire.

In writing the paper on Lippmann, Craufurd's interest in--and admiration for--his subject only grew. The result is a new book on the journalist, Walter Lippmann: Public Economist, published in 2014 by Harvard University Press.

Lippmann began writing his columns in 1931, for the New York Herald Tribune, and continued writing them until the 1960s. At their height, his columns, which initially appeared four times a week, were syndicated in over two hundred newspapers and read by perhaps as many as eight million people.

Between 1931 and 1946 Lippmann wrote over fifteen hundred columns. Most of them were concerned with economic issues and dealt primarily with domestic politics, foreign affairs, and economic policy.

As Craufurd explains, Lippmann was a figure in whom the public trusted to make sense of the complicated issues of the day. Craufurd still remembers his mother eagerly looking forward to reading Lippmann's columns that were syndicated in the Montreal Gazette.

To order a copy of Walter Lippmann: Public Economist, please visit the website of Harvard University Press.

For additional coverage of the book, see the post on the economics department's website.