Also, detached objectivity has its uses, but it has its limitations, too. It’s hard to connect with your readers if you’re doing that walk-the-tightrope journalism that all too often drains the life out of stories. “Sesame Street” clearly empathizes with the families it profiles and ends each segment with advice on how viewers can get help if they need it.

Lastly, don’t buy into the one-and-done story, “Oh, that’s been done to death.” This is a long recession, and it’s going to be a long recovery. Times weren’t exactly great for the middle class and poor before the downturn.

Hang with the story. It’s ongoing.

Finally, print reporters looking to translate this into text: read Michael Luo’s recent New York Times piece on the hardcore unemployed—those who are so discouraged from months and years of not finding work that they’ve given up looking—and don’t get counted in the unemployment data.

That’s how it’s done.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at