The Washington Independent, Closing Down.

After three years, The Washington Independent is closing down.

That’s a real loss. The Washington Independent has been doing high quality journalism on the topics I cover at this blog, from consumer finance to financial reform to unemployment and beyond.

Here’s Mary Kane, Loan Servicers Work the Fine Print in Obama Foreclosure Plan, calling shenanigans on the practical working of the HAMP program back in July 2009, seeing what it would take mainstream wisdom over another year to pick up on. Here’s January 2010, Servicers, White House Point Fingers as Foreclosure Plan Fails – note the “fails” right at the time that many experts were walking away from the program.

And one of my favorite topics, the disturbing overlap between between the “financial literacy” industry and the subprime lending industry, TWI wrote a fantastic piece, Ties Run Deep Between Subprime Lenders, Financial Literacy Groups, that is one of the few to really get it.

(Speaking of which, an anonymous payday lender celebrated the closing of TWI, which speaks volumes about the work they do.)

The site also helped launch the career of Annie Lowrey, who was the writer I went to for coverage of the battle over extending unemployment benefits, and who was one of the few writers willing to wade into the full battle on financial reform. Many other writers whose work I enjoy got a larger audience from the site. The model of blogging and feature length pieces is a great way to showcase talent.

Any projection of unemployment over the next few years is heartbreaking. Holding the worst aspects of the financial industry in check is still an uphill battle, and the deficit looks to be balanced on the backs of the poor, suffering disproportionately through this economic crisis. People at the losing end of this economy need to have a voice, and The Washington Independent provided them one; it’s a sad day that this is lost.

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