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What kind of stock photo says "working women"?

Mon, 2014-02-10 10:26

In ads, magazines, and marketing campaigns, a few images of women seem to come up again and again:  

Working woman?  Climbing ladders.  Or maybe wearing boxing gloves.

 There's also the woman-laughing-alone-with-salad.  

Most of these stereotypical images come from stock photo collections.  Now, Lean In, a non-profit led by Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and named after her book, aims to correct the problem through a partnership with the biggest distributor of those photos, Getty Images.

Michelle Underwood looks for stock photos all the time, in her job as an art director for Zocalo Group, a marketing firm in Chicago. 

"I want to write a note to stock photographers," she says, "because every woman on every stock-photogaphy website is wearing a spaghetti-strap tank top.  And it drives me crazy."

The Lean In collection at Getty Images has about 2,500 images tagged to correct the problem. Jessica Bennett helped curate it for the Lean In Foundation, which gets ten percent of Getty's revenues from the photos.

"You’ll notice these people look real," says Bennett. "That was one of the biggest things." 

These are not just workplace images.  The first few pictures include a young girl on a skateboard, a mom teaching her daughter how to ride a bike, and a heavy-metal dad with his daughter on his shoulders. 

However, in the world of stock photography, 2,500 images is a very small collection.  

"That’s really nothing," says Lanny Ziering, an investor who has run stock photo companies. Getty’s site alone has tens of millions, and it has competitors. 

Ziering compares the Lean In collection to "what a couple photographers might be able to create in a week."

Which could be part of the point.

Jim Pickerell, a former stock photographer and an expert on the business, says stock-photo websites offer an overwhelming number of choices.

Together, we do a very common search on Getty’s site:  "woman office computer."    About 24,000 images come up.

Pickerell says most people will look through maybe three pages of search results.  At 100 images per page, that’s 300 photos.

"What about all those other images?" says Pickerell.  "Does anybody ever get to see them? And the answer is 'no.'" 

So helping this small number of pictures stand out—and starting a conversation about them—may be the point.  

"Maybe it has a shaming mechanism," says Bennett of Lean In.  "Like, there’s no excuse. This collection exists. No matter how small you think it is, this collection exists."

I suggest to her that getting a few news stories out there today may be the point of the exercise, and she doesn’t disagree.

Neither does Getty's co-founder and chief executive, Jonathan Klein.  "Two-and-a-half thousand images is certainly not going to change the way women are viewed across the world," he says.  "But it's creating the conversation."

It's Monday. Let's talk about stress.

Mon, 2014-02-10 10:23

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Tuesday: 

In Washington, the Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover data for December.

Feeling a little stressed? You might have company. The American Psychological Association releases its annual Stress in America survey.

She spent years as a castaway on an uncharted desert isle with no phone, no lights, no motor cars. The “movie star,” Tina Louise turns 80.

The Commerce Department reports on wholesale inventories and sales for December. The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to discuss “Current and Future Worldwide Threats.”

And it’s 'Get Out Your Guitar Day' AND 'Make a Friend Day.' Hmm ... I don’t think you can do both. 

PODCAST: Problems in the U.S. drug pipeline

Mon, 2014-02-10 07:04

A Congressional Committee today will dive deeply into the world of drug shortages. Namely why manufacturers continue to run out of cancer drugs and other medications. It turns out this is a classic healthcare problem, trying to control costs and maximize value.

Back in the late 90s when ambassador Baucus was Senator Baucus, he traveled to China to promote the country’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization. More than a decade later, China’s a WTO member, Baucus is ambassador, and according to one former U.S. diplomat in China, he’ll have a lot on his plate - including a chill in relations between U.S. businesses and the Chinese government. 

Of all the industries technology is disrupting, the music business is experiencing some of the biggest changes. One thing that has not changed significantly: Music education. But the inventor of a new tool hopes to change that.

Toyota will stop making cars in Australia by 2017

Mon, 2014-02-10 04:44

First it was Mitsubishi, Ford, and a car company called Holden. Now Toyota says it will stop making cars in Australia, by 2017. The BBC's Phil Mercer joined us from Sydney to give some perspective.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.

How Michael Sam coming out might impact his paycheck

Mon, 2014-02-10 04:41

The NFL is about to get its first openly gay player: University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam revealed on Sunday that he is gay, just months before the draft. The announcement may end up hurting Sam's earnings potential – but by how much? 

Scott Rosner, sports business professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to break down the numbers.

How Michael Sam coming out might impact his future in the NFL

Mon, 2014-02-10 04:41

The NFL is about to get its first openly gay player: University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam revealed on Sunday that he is gay, just months before the draft. The announcement may end up hurting Sam's earnings potential – but by how much? 

Scott Rosner, sports business professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to break down the numbers.

Who are the biggest givers? And where do they get the money?

Mon, 2014-02-10 04:18

Big philanthropy came roaring back in 2013, after a handful of years in which the economic downturn lead to the shrinkage of charitable giving. 

"The amount that [living donors] gave was as much as they gave in the previous two years combined, and that's a really strong showing," said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan came in first on the list, with a gift of nearly $1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, marking, Palmer said, the first time someone under 30 has topped the list. 

Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penelope Knight were third on the list, with a pledge of five hundred million dollars to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation.

"This is an incredible gift, and we're extremely grateful to the Knights," said Dr. Brian Druker, who directs the Knight Cancer Institute. Druker said the money will be used for cancer research. Knight's gift comes with strings attached. OHSU must also raise $500 million within the next two years, or forfeit the money altogether. 

"It was a complete surprise to all of us," Druker said. "And the surprise was they would donate $500 million to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, if we raised $500 million within two years. So the amount was shocking and staggering, as was the timeframe and deadline." 

And while it might sound odd to attach strings to a gift, Dr. Druker calls it "a brilliant move," explaining that simply handing over $500 million with no conditions might make other donors believe the center didn't need more money. In fact, Dr. Druker said, a full billion is needed in order for the center to have the kind of impact it desires. 

Some philanthropy watchers found the list largely unsurprising. 

"Overall what strikes me is how completely conventional their giving strategies seem to be," said Lucy Bernholz, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. "It's going to foundations or community foundations. You don't get much of a sense that they're working with new technologies, that they're thinking about the intersection of politics and charity." 

And while she found notable the number of young people and tech entrepreneurs on the list, Berhnolz said, "It looks like a list of activities that could easily have been pulled together 10, 20, years ago, well before the advent of the internet or the creation of social entrepreneurship."

Problems in the U.S. drug pipeline

Mon, 2014-02-10 04:00

A Congressional Committee today will dive deeply into the world of drug shortages. Namely why manufacturers continue to run out of cancer drugs and other medications. It turns out this is a classic healthcare problem, trying to control costs and maximize value.

Drexel Health Professor Robert Field says shortages started to crop up about ten years ago, in large part, after the feds lowered reimbursement rates for generic oncology drugs.

“The purpose was admirable, it seems that it went too far,” he says.

Field says putting the squeeze on manufacturers has prompted drug makers to look for greener pastures.

“The companies that make these drugs tend to be operating close to the margin. And if they can’t make a profit, they find a better use of their facility is to manufacture something else,” he says.

According to a new report, physicians facing shortages often change or delay dosages, sometimes even refer patients to different providers.

University of Pennsylvania oncologist Susan Domchek says that puts patient’s health at risk.  

“It is a very difficult thing to explain to a patient, why you can’t get a very standard chemotherapy regimen because you don’t have access to the medication,” he says.

The solution – ironically – may be bumping up those same reimbursements that got cut a decade ago.

Why the government can't plan ahead

Mon, 2014-02-10 03:26

It’s 1987, and Rudy Penner is winding up his fourth year as head of the Congressional Budget Office, wishing he had a magic 8-ball.  He regrets missing the recessions of 1987 and 1990.

“The forecasts for those years were way off,” he says.

Then came the ‘90s, and with them a big uptick in wealth, especially in the financial sector. Uncle Sam’s share of Wall Street’s riches created a surplus nobody expected. 

Penner says it’s a difficult proposition to make accurate predictions about the economy and budget deficit. And, he says, Congress’s fuzzy math doesn’t make it any easier.  Lawmakers budget 10 years out.

“A very distinct budget horizon of 10 years does allow you to cheat by pushing costs beyond that budget horizon,” he says.

The Roth IRA is a good example of that.  Money is taxed as it goes in, meaning revenue in the short-term. But Roth IRA earnings are tax-free.  So the government loses out in the end -- though that accounting is outside the 10-year budget horizon.  But Congress cheerfully ignores that.  Another trick?  Counting spending that we always knew would wind down -- like the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars -- as savings 

“So it’s not really savings," says Harvard public policy professor Linda Bilmes. "It’s like buying stuff on sale that you never intended to buy and saying, look how much I saved.”

It’s not logical. But it’s how humans have evolved to think: Forget about the past, distort the future, and focus on the present.

“When we were out in the world foraging for food, we had to take what we could get immediately,” says Connecticut College psychology professor Stuart Vyse. He says members of Congress are similarly driven by pressures like the 24-hour news cycle.

"The sort of immediate feeback you get on every single decision does tend to focus you on the battle of the moment," he says.

Cochlear implants get processing boost from MIT researchers

Mon, 2014-02-10 02:53

When it comes to returning the sense of hearing to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, technology is far from perfect. Hearing aids can feed back. And there are other problems, but this week there's been a leap forward in one particular area. Cochlear implants. A new processing computer chip for these implants has been developed at MIT's Microsystems Technology Laboratory and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmiry. Dr. Konstantina Stankovic is a surgeon who worked on the project and joined us to help explain.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the interview.

In New Orleans, learning music by watching the feet

Mon, 2014-02-10 01:26

Of all the industries technology is disrupting, the music business is experiencing some of the biggest changes. One thing that has not changed significantly: Music education. But the inventor of a new tool hopes to change that.

Shannon Powell is one of the best drummers in New Orleans. He’s played on a platinum record with Harry Connick Jr. and studied under the New Orleans legend Danny Barker.

"This is where it all started, right here on St. Phillip Street,” says Powell, standing in front of the house where he’s lived his entire life.  "I roamed along this whole neighborhood."

Powell grew up in the Treme neighborhood, where he learned to play the drums by studying the musicians who passed by his front door every weekend during the second line parades, and by watching the women in church play the tambourine.

"All of the rhythms that I was listening to when I was a kid are assimilated to the street beats of New Orleans," he explains. "It’s all a part of that Habanera,  African rhythms and Spanish melodies."

Powell teaches music occasionally at the University of New Orleans. That’s where he met a student named Darren Hoffman.

"He showed me how to play the tambourine," Hoffman recalls. He was surprised at how the lesson began. Powell told him, "if you want to learn to play the tambourine, watch my feet."

"The reason why I tell him to watch my feet," Powell says, "is because when I play the tambourine up high with my hand, I’m doing rhythm with my feet."

Hoffman realized that much of what he learned in his lessons with Powell came from watching him. "It’s not just in how he sounds, it’s in his style and his personality," says Hoffman.

Before studying music, Hoffman studied film, and he got the idea for a new tool to connect musicians like Powell with music students so they could learn from masters, the same way Powell had as a kid. So he brought Powell into a recording studio and surrounded him with video cameras.

The result is the Tutti music player app. When the program is pulled up on a PC, phone or tablet, the screen displays five different frames, each one focused on a different instrument, all of them being played by Powell.

It allows the user to choose which instruments they can see and hear. So if you want to isolate the vocals, or the tambourine, you can. Or you can mute the drums so you can play along, even slow the speed of the video down by half.

Hoffman and a business partner, Kristen McEntyre, are working with music education programs to get Tutti in schools. “We have 400 high schools that are using this, and a number of universities, including courses at Berklee College of Music, and of course we have our at-home musicians,” McEntyre says.

The app itself is free, but the songs have to be purchased individually. A percentage goes back to the musicians who recorded them.

Hoffman and McEntyre plan to expand the offerings of Tutti to different genres of music, and eventually create a subscription model to generate revenue.

For China, a new year and a new U.S. ambassador

Sun, 2014-02-09 23:29

Back in the late 90s when ambassador Baucus was Senator Baucus, he traveled to China to promote the country’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization. More than a decade later, China’s a WTO member, Baucus is ambassador, and according to one former U.S. diplomat in China, he’ll have a lot on his plate - including a chill in relations between U.S. businesses and the Chinese government. "These will be trying times for ambassador Baucus," says William McCahill, who served as charge d'affaires at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. "Prominent firms have pulled out of China, in some measures because the Chinese haven’t lived up to the commitments they made when they joined the WTO."

McCahill says Baucus was a great choice for ambassador because he'll engage the Chinese on sensitive issues and because of his experience in the U.S. senate, where many decisions on foreign affairs are debated. On the Chinese side, Fudan University’s Shen Dingli says the Chinese will watch Baucus closely, but he doesn’t think the ambassador will be able to influence relations in a meaningful way between the world’s top two economies. "He’s just a machine - a tool," says Shen. "I think we really should not expect anything from any ambassador from both countries."

Whatever people’s expectations for Ambassador Baucus, he IS expected to move to Beijing later this month.

A simple list of ways to avoid a Sochi spoiler

Sun, 2014-02-09 19:07

Spoilers ruin everything. How exciting is The Walking Dead when you learn that [REDACTED] has been evil the whole time? How gripping is Game of Thrones when your friend tells you that [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] are secretly in cahoots before you've had a chance to watch the season finale?

Spoilers ruin movies, TV shows, books... and this year, they might even ruin the Winter Olympics. You see, Sochi is nine hours ahead of the East coast, so like the London Games, NBC will be broadcasting the competition on a tape delay.

That means that if you just watch NBC's primetime coverage, everything you see will have already happened. And if it's already happened, that means it can be spoiled. Whether it's through tweets, news updates, or that annoying coworker who just has to tell everyone about the crazy thing that happened in the curling final… spoilers are out there. Here are four ways to avoid them:

  1. Turn your phone's push notifications off. If you're a somewhat technology-addicted person, you probably have a couple news apps on your iPhone or Android. These apps will send you 'breaking news' alerts when something they deem newsworthy happens. Normally, this is wonderful. But during the Olympics, these alerts are your enemy. You don't want to read a notification that says 'live polar bear wanders onto ski slope, wins men's downhill.' You want to see that polar bear take home the gold on your TV, without knowing anything beforehand. So for the two weeks of the Olympics, you need to turn those push notifications off. How to: If you've got an iPhone, go to Settings, then click Notification Center, and set each app to not send you alerts. Yes, you won’t get any non-Olympic news either, but that’s a small price to pay for watching the Olympics without being spoiled.
  2. SpoilerShield. If most of your interactions with other human beings happen via Twitter or Facebook, SpoilerShield is your friend. SpoilerShield is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a free app that blocks spoilers from showing up on Twitter and Facebook. There are a bunch of different 'shields'; you can block Game of Thrones spoilers, Football spoilers, and best of all, Olympic spoilers. After all, who wants to see: "whoa, the Jamaican Bobsled team won the whole thing! #BetterThanCoolRunnings" before they see the actual bobsled race? Nobody, that’s who. How to: Simply go to the app store and download the app on your phone.
  3. Actually Watch the Events Live. The only sure way to avoid spoilers is to watch the events before they can possibly be spoiled. Which means watching them live. Doing it this way does mean that you might be watching women's curling at 5 a.m., but if you’re really serious about avoiding spoilers, this is the only sure-fire way to do it. How to NBC puts up all the Sochi events on its website, and if you have either cable or a service like DirecTV, you can watch as much as you'd like. The schedule is online, and if there are certain events you really just need to see, start planning your next two weeks.
  4. Hide Under a Rock. If you just want to watch NBC's primetime coverage of the Olympics without being spoiled, if you're unable or unwilling to get up at 3 a.m. to watch two-person luge, then your best bet might be to become a recluse. Even if you stay off the internet or use SpoilerShield, you can't control what other people do. You might overhear a conversation about the hockey winner, your friends might excitedly tell you about the amazing ski jump they witnessed, there are certain things you just can't help. How to: It's either cut off all contact with the outside world, or serenely accept that you might see a spoiler. Because even if you get to watch the primetime event spoiler-free, NBC might spoil the whole thing during the competition itself. Don't forget: They did it in London.

Why moving to all-cash can cost you

Fri, 2014-02-07 17:35

First there was Target, then Neiman Marcus, then White Lodging, which maintains some major hotel franchises. Consumer data breaches at these companies left millions of us vulnerable to identity theft.

With our cards at risk, is the safe bet to switch to cash?

Some say yes, Rob Wile says no. He's an energy and economics reporter for Business Insider, and he recently wrote a piece that highlighted 13 reasons "Why Cash Is Bad."

#2 Cash is inconvenient

On average, the Tufts researchers found, Americans waste 28 minutes a month traveling to an ATM, or 5.6 hours a year. Much of that time would likely have been spent on leisure. But at the mean wage, that means $31 billion lost annually. "...It is indicative of just how much time in the aggregate is spent managing currency," the Tufts professors write.

When commercials 'Keep it real': The rise of realistic advertising

Fri, 2014-02-07 17:23

There I was just watching TV when out of nowhere, he appeared: The guy with one arm selling Swiffer dusters. When I first saw him, I didn’t know that his name was Zack Rukavina. Or that he’d lost his arm to cancer. Or that I was watching him interact with his real family while he spoke about all the ways Swiffer helps him help out around the house.

All I knew was that the commercial I was watching was compelling in a way I hadn’t experienced as a TV viewer before.

Had I seen a person with a disability in a mainstream commercial before? Most likely. Certainly war veterans, paralympians and the elderly have been cast to push products from sneakers to remote alarm systems.

But, what struck me about the Swiffer ad was that his disability wasn’t the highlight of the commercial. It was certainly what got my attention, but by the end of that 30-second spot, I was remembering more about how Zack poked fun at his wife for being a terrible housekeeper and the way his two adorable children seemed to vie for his attention in every scene. The commercial didn’t provoke pity, embarrassment or portray its leading man as any kind of superhero. The Rukavinas are a totally normal family and that’s what Swiffer was successful at conveying. That and if you must dust, don’t skimp on the brand name.

Diversity in commercial advertising still has a long way to go in reflecting the appearances and experiences of America’s various populations. However the Swiffer ad and others seem to be stepping into reality TV territory – more inclusive casting choices, less pretending that we all look, sound and behave alike in our homes and communities. The much buzzed-about Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family is another example of this, as is this advertisement starring a 62-year-old underwear model in American Apparel.

So, after all these years of using overtly sexy, impossibly flawless images to push products, what do companies have to gain by keeping it real now? And how does that affect the consumer experience?

Maybe the mad men are finally figuring out what many of us have known all along.

“Well, it’s about time that Madison Avenue and advertisers are really embracing the reality of what America is today,” says Ann Christine Diaz, Creativity Editor at AdAge. “It’s no longer the case that the all-American family is a Ralph Lauren ad. You know, if you look at the changing demographics and the changing population of America, or at least of the major metropolitan cities, families are growing more and more diverse so I think it’s only a smart move for advertisers to embrace that reality.”

Diaz also says your Tweets and Tumblr posts have played a very influential role in advertisers taking less traditional approaches to attract audiences.

“With the rise of the voice of the consumer empowered by social media, advertisers are having to be more real, get more real because there are so many people now who can keep them in check about what their messages are,” she says.

For companies, something major can be achieved with inclusive advertising.

“There’s so many products out there so the more goodwill that you foster with consumers, the more you show them that you represent something beyond just the sell, that’s going to engender some brand loyalty among people,” Diaz says. “They’re going to turn to the brand that they like, the brand that they would be friends with, basically.”

Will I buy more Swiffer dusters in the future? I don’t know. The truth is, I hate to clean just about as much as Mrs. Rukavina. But if I do buy a Swiffer, I’ll probably think of that commercial and feel pretty darn good about it.

Have you noticed commercials “keeping it real?” Does it have an effect on you as a consumer? Join the conversation with a comment below or Tweet us @LiveMoney.

@LiveMoney: Do women tweet their own horn at work?

Fri, 2014-02-07 17:04

Just like advertisers, we too know the power of social media.

So, we invited Marketplace Money producer and social media maven (his words, not ours) Raghu Manavalan from behind his keyboard into the studio today to give us a rundown of what's getting traction on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, AOL chatrooms and more.

We asked our female listeners to tell us if they felt comfortable promoting themselves at work, after our story last week, "Why women don't roar at work."

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I toot my horn at work -- but not enough. Why women don't roar at work http://t.co/g8o1mK11fP @LiveMoney @workingmother @sallythornton

— Meghan Boots (@bootsatherbest) February 4, 2014

@LiveMoney Never or rarely. I'm probably penalized for NOT tooting my own horn.

— Sarah Fuelleman (@SarahFuelleman) January 28, 2014

@LiveMoney I worked in journalism, now PR. We live on awards competitions.

— tracy harris (@tracefh) January 28, 2014

And yes, with Valentine's Day around the corner, we're curious about how you plan to live money on that day. Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook about your frugal gift ideas or what love & money questions you have!

This week's best of @LiveMoney

Fri, 2014-02-07 17:04

Just like advertisers, we too know the power of social media.

So, we invited Marketplace Money producer and social media maven (his words, not ours) Raghu Manavalan from behind his keyboard into the studio today to give us a rundown of what's getting traction on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, AOL chatrooms and more.

We asked our female listeners to tell us if they felt comfortable promoting themselves at work, after our story last week, "Why women don't roar at work."

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I toot my horn at work -- but not enough. Why women don't roar at work http://t.co/g8o1mK11fP @LiveMoney @workingmother @sallythornton

— Meghan Boots (@bootsatherbest) February 4, 2014

@LiveMoney Never or rarely. I'm probably penalized for NOT tooting my own horn.

— Sarah Fuelleman (@SarahFuelleman) January 28, 2014

@LiveMoney I worked in journalism, now PR. We live on awards competitions.

— tracy harris (@tracefh) January 28, 2014

And yes, with Valentine's Day around the corner, we're curious about how you plan to live money on that day. Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook about your frugal gift ideas or what love & money questions you have!

Tale of two incomes: If you have less money than your friends...

Fri, 2014-02-07 16:54

A friend calls and says "hey, let's go try that new restaurant on Fletcher Street," you hear, "let's go to that new ultra-expensive new restaurant on Fletcher Street."

You want to go, but you look at your bank account and know you shouldn't.

We've all been there, having to make hard decisions when our friends have more money than we do.

So how is a social butterfly like yourself to cope? Fortunately, we have a guide, Samantha Sharf of Forbes explains her guide to having less money than your friends.

"We like to believe that friendship and finance have nothing to do with each other. But in reality, unmitigated economic differences can cause awkwardness in the best of circumstances, and resentment in the worst."

What to do if you have less money than your friends

Fri, 2014-02-07 16:54

A friend calls and says "hey, let's go try that new restaurant on Fletcher Street," you hear, "let's go to that new ultra-expensive new restaurant on Fletcher Street."

You want to go, but you look at your bank account and know you shouldn't.

We've all been there, having to make hard decisions when our friends have more money than we do.

So how is a social butterfly like yourself to cope? Fortunately, we have a guide, Samantha Sharf of Forbes explains her guide to having less money than your friends.

"We like to believe that friendship and finance have nothing to do with each other. But in reality, unmitigated economic differences can cause awkwardness in the best of circumstances, and resentment in the worst."

Black buying power hits $1.1 trillion. What does it mean?

Fri, 2014-02-07 16:30

Think about the price-tag of $1.1 trillion dollars.

If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world, but it's not a country, it's the combined buying power of a group of people who are part of this country: African-Americans.

A recent study by the Nielsen Company predicts that African-American buying power will hit that $1.1 trillion number next year. "The black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market," says Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a Vice President at Nielsen.

Companies spend $75 billion a year on advertising, but only three percent of that is in Black publications, and casting Black actors, and on Black TV and radio stations. Pearson-McNeil says, if you ignore this demographic, as many big companies have done, you do so at your own peril.

"If you want to market to those groups, then you should know what particular group buys your stuff," says Noel King, reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk. "Blacks tend to spend more on electronics, utilities, groceries, footwear. They spend a lot less on new cars, alcohol, entertainment, health care, and pensions."

Dr. Jared Ball, a professor at Morgan State University, has done some research into Black buying power, but says that $1.1 trillion doesn't mean everything is great for the Black community. "This phrase, 'buying power,' is used as a glossy euphemism for Black poverty for being the fault of Black spending habits, as opposed to a pre-determined need in our economic model. A lot of people pick up this phrase and hear these large numbers, and assume Black America is stronger than Black America actually is."

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