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By Rachel Kurzius

Touched by an Angelo: A No-Go

November 17, 2011

To Mr. Ryan Chittum and the Columbia Journalism Review:

Your suggestion that Inside Mortgage Finance take on beleaguered former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo as a new columnist may seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, we can’t do it.

Perhaps the largest roadblock is the format of our publication – straight news and data. Opinion pieces haven’t yet made their way into our pages. Even our blogs steer clear of editorializing. You won’t find the plotting of Mr. Kahr’s sort in our publication, mainly because we prefer to cover actual events, proposals, legal issues and regulatory hearings. Often, we will interview people who agree with the notion that the CFPB should be leaderless, and those opinions will be included in our stories. But we like to call up the Cordrays of the world, too.

Of course, being a trade publication for the mortgage industry means that we here at Inside Mortgage Finance hope the mortgage industry continues to exist. You might call that adherence to the “industry position,” but It’s more a matter of survival. After all, many of us have our own mortgages to pay. Such a position isn’t meant to excuse the wrongdoings of mortgage lenders, servicers and securitizers in the past decade. If fraudsters go to jail, we’ll cover it; we just won’t be calling for their heads beforehand nor bemoaning their imprisonment afterward. While their actions have turned a niche, complex industry into a need-to-know story covered on the A1 of major newspapers, we’d be just as happy without the competition.

The final roadblock to Mozilo’s column is the lack of bylines in Inside Mortgage Finance's print edition. To be fair, I’ve never met Mozilo. Yet something tells me that he’s a guy who prefers his name placed prominently next to any of his accomplishments. Our layout would preclude such a display. We’ll never be able to give Mozilo a column with his name on it, as you suggested.

Thank you again for thinking of us. If anything changes, you’ll be the first to know so you can cover it for The Audit.

All the best,

Inside Mortgage Finance

Ps- What would you propose for a column title if our policies change? We were thinking “Touched by an Angelo.”

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