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AP to assess the impact of the financial meltdown in a five-week series


NEW YORK – One year after the housing downturn triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, The Associated Press will offer an ambitious series of stories over five weeks examining how the economic meltdown and the Great Recession have changed everything from Wall Street to Main Street.

“Meltdown Legacy” will begin Labor Day weekend and continue until the weekend of Oct. 10, combining text, photos, graphics, online videos and an interactive timeline.

The series will kick off with a Sept. 6 overview of last September, the month that reshaped the global economy and millions of lives, starting with the U.S. government’s takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Stories during the first week will examine the new realities forged by the economic upheaval and the changes in consumer habits.

The second week’s focus will be on how markets, government policies and regulation have changed. The third week will explore how the meltdown shaped new rules for personal finance. The fourth week will look at how the events of last fall affected our culture and social institutions. And the final week will illuminate the lessons learned.

“Last fall’s global financial crisis, which triggered the Great Recession, was numbing as it unfolded,” said AP Business Editor Hal Ritter. “A year later, we can say more definitively how these events changed us, which this series will do.”

The events of last September and early October are still roiling the economy. The unemployment rate is creeping toward 10 percent, bank failures are still rising, and consumer spending remains weak.

“Meltdown Legacy” will draw on the reportorial strength of more than two dozen journalists from departments across the AP, including Business News, Washington, Lifestyles, Sports and NewsFeatures.


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