Letters: Dow Jones' 'Record High,' Model-Ts

Melissa Block and Audie Cornish read from the latest listener letters, which include praise for Wednesday's critique of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. They also have a correction to a story regarding where the Model-T Ford was made.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to your letters and this correction: On Tuesday's program, we said in a story on pickup truck sales that the Ford F-150 is built on the same grounds as the old Model T. The F-150 is built at Ford's historic River Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Over the years, the Rouge complex produced the Model A, the Ford V-8, the Ford Thunderbird, Mustangs, as well as parts for the Model T. However, the Model T itself was assembled in the city of Highland Park, Michigan, a short distance away.

BLOCK: During yesterday's program, we reported that the Dow Jones Industrial Average had reached a record high. I spoke with Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money, who wondered why we should care.

ADAM DAVIDSON, BYLINE: Nobody adjusts for inflation when they're talking about the Dow. I don't understand why. We do that with every other number that matters from wages to house prices to GDP. Even if it did reach a record, this is not the measure we should be paying attention to.

CORNISH: Many of you praised Adam for his critique, including Ethan Benatan of Portland, Oregon. He writes: Thank you so much for the balanced, sane reporting in your piece on the failings of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and in how it is followed in the press.

BLOCK: I referred to Adam as our resident Dow curmudgeon to which Benatan responds: Adam, you are not a curmudgeon. You are my hero. Keep it up.

CORNISH: Maurice Major in Olympia, Washington, agrees: Thank you, thank you, thank you, he writes, for Adam is doing the math and lamenting the media's ridiculous fixation on the Dow. It has become a proxy for the economy's performance but one which dissolves with critical examination.

BLOCK: Well, whether you're thanking us or you think we've become ridiculously fixated on something, we want to hear from you. You can write to us by going to npr.org and clicking Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

CORNISH: And finally, today, a remembrance. A treasured member of the NPR newsroom has died.

Brenda Box was an associate editor with the newscast unit. You've rarely heard her voice on the air, but you've certainly heard her work. It's been reflected in the polished newscast stories and scripts heard each afternoon during the past decade.

BLOCK: Brenda was the editor every journalist dreams of, one who elicits the best from reporters and quietly removes the errors. A 32-year veteran of the broadcast journalism business, Brenda is dearly missed here by her friends and colleagues who remember her trademark signing off a conversation by saying cool beans.

Brenda Box died this morning after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

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