We already know that the mainstream media no longer has any interest in fairly reporting the news. What a shame, however, to discover that students at TheNewsOutlet.org, a “collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, Kent State University, The University of Akron and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron)”, are not being taught about journalistic balance.

Anna Tultz’s article on payday lenders repeats the same, tired, factually wrong criticisms regarding payday lending that I read all day, every day, from every single media outlet in the country. It starts in the very first sentence.

“When it comes to payday-lending businesses and their practices, voters and judges like to just say no.”

Were the article balanced, the next sentence would have been: “However, 12 million Americans like to just say yes”.

Now that’s the real story – that despite uneducated voters deciding on a credit product that 96% of them don’t even use and don’t understand, and despite judge and legislators enforcing their will on the people – consumers still flock to this short-term credit product, despite (the editorialized description of) its “exorbitant interest charges”.

In other words, consumers like payday lending and they are obviously satisfied with it enough to return to it.

Instead, that perspective is entirely ignored by Ms. Tultz, not to mention her mentors who operate this “collaborative effort”. Where are the interviews with the industry’s trade association, the Community Financial Services Association of America? Where are interviews with experts such as myself? Where are interviews with consumers who like and use the product?

The only interviews are with Policy Matters Ohio, which is hardly the “non-partisan” organization it claims to be, and with the Ohio Poverty Law Center, a group whose very position would naturally experience people whose only experience was a bad one.

This is not journalism. This is an editorial. You can do better.

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