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Reporter-as-lifeline: Helping you make sense of economic news

  • Story Highlights
  • Kelly Evans is an economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal
  • She says in this economy, young people should focus on education, job path
  • She strives to provide common-sense information about complicated economy
  • When looking for college, Evans says, don't focus on "brand name"
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(CNN) -- We hear that a lot of young people don't care or worry about the economy and finances. But take it from a 23-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter: They do and should care.

Kelly Evans, 23, is an economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

Kelly Evans, 23, is an economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

Kelly Evans started as an economics reporter at the paper as the economy started getting bad a year and a half ago. She has since seen the resilience of the people in her generation as they adapt to a changing job market.

CNN's Nicole Lapin talked to Evans about what young people should be doing to deal with the tough times. The following is an edited transcript of the interview:

Nicole Lapin: What do you tell young people to make economic news relevant to them? Video Watch the entire interview with Kelly Evans »

Kelly Evans: We really, really do try to explain to people, past some of the language and the jargon, to say that economics is really about what's happening: your job, your income, demographics, poverty rates, and what it looks like across the country.

There are some terms that may seem unfamiliar, but I think if you sit down and read through our coverage, you'll see that a lot of it makes sense.

I feel very proud of the fact that over the last year, year and a half, a lot of the articles that I've written and a lot of the articles that we've written as an economics team have done a lot to point out the risks out there so that this didn't just come out of nowhere.

Lapin: So what are some of the things that young people should really focus on? Is it a 401(k)? Is it savings? Is it a combination of the two, perhaps?

Evans: Well, I think for most young people, the big thing right now is a career or a job path. Whether you're in high school or you're in college, you're thinking, "What am I going to do when I get out? Do I want to be a doctor, or a lawyer?"

I think less people want to be in banking than did a few years ago, and so I'm curious as a reporter what is perceived to be the golden ticket nowadays.

Certainly health care, education are some of the more reliable places to go right now. So what I would say mostly is make sure you're in a good financial position. Do whatever you can for yourself. But really make sure you're investing in your education or skills, maybe the language skills in particular, that will be really important down the road. I think that ends up paying off in human capital. It's really important.


Lapin: What kind of tips do you give to youngsters who are about to get out of school?

Evans: I would encourage people who are looking at colleges to ignore the brand name and really go with what is going to be the best value to you.

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