A little birdie at the WSJ told me that Greg Ip, their longtime Federal Reserve reporter, is leaving the Journal for The Economist. His new post will be U.S. economics editor, where he will cover mostly the same beat as he does now: The Federal Reserve and economic policy.
This was confirmed by Reuter’s this afternoon.
Ip is widely thought of as a direct conduit from the Fed to the financial markets via the WSJ. When the Fed wants to unofficially communicate something to the Street, Ip is their usual mechanism.
Back in the day when John Berry was at the Washington Post (he’s now at Bloomberg) the Fed had a choice of conduits to use, depending upon who their target audience was. They could either go through the Washington Post to reach policy makers, Congress and even the White House. If they needed to informally reach Bond Traders, equity buyers and Wall Street economists, then the WSJ was their preferred vehicle:
"Ip’s stories in the Journal have been widely followed by financial
market participants seeking clues into the Federal Reserve’s thinking
about interest rates and the economy.
It described the thinking of Fed officials and the likelihood they
will hold benchmark lending rates steady for now despite market
expectations of a rate hike to fight accelerating inflation. The
article was widely cited by market players on Tuesday as a factor in
Investors and economists read Ip’s stories closely for insight into
the Fed’s thinking. Many people see him as someone with strong sources
inside the U.S. central bank and Wall Street, making him a conduit for
the Fed’s messages to financial markets."
Regardless of Ips’ departure, the Fed conduit is likely to remain at the WSJ: It is still the paper of record for Wall Street, and was long before Ip: Alan Murray before him (and before him, Gerald Seib?).
There are numerous other reporters likely to step into Ip’s shoes. (Sudeep Reddy or Phil Izzo are two possible candidates).
Although I have occasionally chastised Ip — mostly for unemployment and inflation generalizations — I have found him to be a fine reporter. In addition to his duties at the Journal, he also regularly contributed to Real Time Economics, one of the blogs at DJ.
Which is Wrong: Data on Growth or Employment? (April 2007)
What is the Fed Really Thinking? (March 2007)
Fed reporter Ip to leave WSJ, join Economist
Reuters, Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:12pm EDT