YW: I think the most important job of any reporter is to let the reader know how something’s impacting their life, specifically. In South Carolina, the stimulus package was projected to create or save about 50,000 jobs and so I tried to write an article that said if you’re looking for a job, maybe you should follow the stimulus money and see where it takes you. If it’s supposed to be creating jobs, what jobs are being created? I had a really difficult time writing that article and researching it, maybe because I tried to do it so soon. The only obvious answer was construction because of all the highway repair money. But I think as a journalist that’s the most important thing: to help people understand how this is affecting their lives.

Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.