NYT Interactive Series: The Debt Trap

While I realize no one needs another reminder of how the economy stands these days, I think the recent multimedia online series from the New York Times entitled “The Debt Trap” does a wonderful job of depicting the effects for different demographics of our society. See the full series here.

This series of articles and multimedia explores the circumstances which have made it is so easy for Americans to fall into debt.

Photo by Todd Heisler.

Above is a photograph of Brenda Jerez who fell into credit card debt when she fell ill with cancer and was forced to quit her job.

“‘It’s like I’ve got some big tag: target this person so you can get them back into debt,” said Ms. Jerez, of Jersey City, who still gets offers, even as it has become clear that loans to troubled borrowers have become a chief cause of the financial crisis. One letter that arrived last month, from First Premier Bank, promoted a platinum MasterCard for people with “less-than-perfect credit.” – Brad Stone, NYT

“Singling out even struggling American consumers like Ms. Jerez is one of the overlooked causes of the debt boom and the resulting crisis, which threatens to choke the global economy.” – Brad Stone, NYT

The above ad is included in the multimedia series and is used to illustrate how banks made marketing efforts to make loans seem less threatening and accessible. The series of ads from as far back at 1981 was produced by Tom Jackson and Amy O’Leary of the NYT.

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