(Mis) Representing the Economy

Mike Berry, Simon Wren-Lewis, Ben Chu, Ali Norrish and Aeron Davis

5-7pm, Thursday 31st January

Professor Stuart Hall (PSH), LG01

Please join Simon Wren-Lewis and Mike Berry to talk about the themes of their new books on public (mis) representations of economics in UK journalism and politics. Simon Wren-Lewis’s book, The Lies We Were Told, explores the political and economic coverage of the financial crash, austerity economics, the Eurozone crisis, Trump’s America and Britain’s Brexit. The book asks why did governments adopt austerity, why did the media ignore the experts and fail to challenge political lies, and why did voters choose Brexit against their economic interests? Mike Berry’s The Media, the Public and the Great Financial Crisis, investigates the impact of the UK media on public knowledge and understanding of the 2008 financial crisis and policy responses to that. Drawing on extensive content analysis, public focus groups and interviews with leading journalists, it explains how UK media let the true culprits off the hook and legitimised austerity economic policy.

Joining Simon and Mike, to talk about these themes and arguments will be Ben Chu, economics editor at the Independent and Ali Norrish, a campaigner for better public understanding of economics. The event will be chaired by Aeron Davis of Goldsmith PERC and MCCS Department.


Simon Wren-Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Economics at Oxford University and also an Emeritus Fellow at Merton College. He was previously Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. Alongside his academic research, he has advised the Treasury, Bank of England, the IMF, the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Council. Since starting his Mainly Macro (and Mediamacro) blog at the end of 2011 he has become one of Britain’s most respected economists. The blog has become an influential resource for policymakers, academics and social commentators around the world. He recently won the New Statesman/SPERI prize for Political Economy.  His new book (Bristol University Press, 2018) presents some of his most important work, telling the story of how the damaging political and economic events of recent years became inevitable.

Dr Mike Berry is a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has had previous posts at the Universities of California Santa Barbara, Nottingham and Glasgow, where he did his PhD and was a member of the Glasgow Media Group. He has produced research for a variety of organisations including the BBC Trust, UNHCR, TUC and NSPCC. With Greg Philo he is the author of three books in the Bad News from Israel series (Pluto, 2004, 2006, 2011). Most recently, he has spent some time researching and publishing on media coverage and public understanding of the financial crash and austerity: the subject of his book (Palgrave, 2019).

Ben Chu has been the economics editor of The Independent since 2011. Before that he was chief leader writer. He is also the author of Chinese Whispers: Why Everything you Heard About China is Wrong (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2013).

Ali Norrish is Head of Research and Schools at Economy. Kickstarted by Rethinking Economics, the now global university student movement, Economy’s mission is to democratise economics. Their research has highlighted the deficit around economics communication and understanding in the public sphere and finds routes to transform economics into a more accessible public conversation. Economy’s publications include Experiencing Economics (2017), Doing Economics Differently (2018) and The Econocracy (Manchester University Press, 2016).

Aeron Davis is Co-Director of Goldsmiths PERC and Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of six books, most recent of which are Reckless Opportunists (MUP, 2018) and Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times (forthcoming, Polity, 2019). He has also researched and written widely about economic and financial news.

All are welcome and no registration is required. For details on how to find Goldsmiths, click here.


You can now listen to an audio recording of the event here: