Resources for Covering Public Pensions
Americans are retiring in record numbers, and private companies aren't the only ones scrambling to find the funds needed to keep up with pension payments. Local governments are struggling to find the money for underfunded pensions. This page will help you get the resources you need to tell those stories.
The information was provided by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as part of a Specialized Reporting Institute on June 1-3, 2011, at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
NASRA is a nonprofit organization whose members oversee retirement systems that hold more than $2 trillion in assets and provide pension and other benefits to more than two-thirds of all state and local government employees.
This blog is a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the National Council on Teacher Retirement. Posts share facts, critique reports and studies, examine proposed policies and legislative actions, and report what's going on in the media.
The Public Fund Survey is intended to promote sound public retirement system policies and administration by increasing transparency and understanding of the public retirement system community. More than 85 percent of all state and local government pension assets and members in the U.S. are represented in the Public Fund Survey.
Wikipension is a knowledge management resource for and about the community that governs, sponsors and administers retirement benefits for employees of state and local governments in the U.S., and the firms that provide services to these entities.
NCTR is an independent association dedicated to safeguarding the integrity of public retirement systems to which teachers belong. NCTR membership includes 68 state, territorial and local pension systems. These systems serve more than 18 million active and retired teachers, non-teaching personnel and other public employees, and have combined assets of more than $1.8 trillion in their trust funds.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a nonprofit organization dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy education and information.
PERA provides retirement and other benefits to employees of more than 400 government agencies and public entities in the state of Colorado. PERA is the 21st largest public pension plan in the United States.
Pew studies and promotes nonpartisan solutions for pressing and emerging problems such as the environment, early education and the public’s health and well-being. One area of Pew research focuses on pensions and retiree benefits.
The mission of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is to contribute to, encourage and enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and public policy through objective research and education.
The National Institute on Retirement Security was established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers and the economy through national research and education programs.
GRS serves more than 800 public sector agencies by bringing innovative, practical solutions to the challenges faced by benefit plans and plan sponsors.
The Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is committed to generating debate on key policy issues affecting pensions and other employee benefits. The Pension Research Council sponsors interdisciplinary research on the entire range of private pension and social security programs, as well as related benefit plans in the United States and around the world.
The mission of the Pensions Institute at the Cass Business School University of London is to research all fields related to pensions and then disseminate the results of that research. It has an international network of pension researchers from a variety of disciplines that provides expert advice to the pension industry and the government.
The Center for Retirement Research promotes research on retirement issues and transmits its findings to a broad audience. It helps train new scholars and expand access to valuable data resources.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board is an independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting. GASB is recognized as the official source of generally accepted accounting principles for state and local governments.
PowerPoint Presentations from the Conference
Here are PDFs of presentations from the conference on Covering Public Pensions
The Public Pension Discount Rate and Other Issues
Keith Brainard, research director at the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, discusses the public pension discount rate with an in-depth look at the statistics.
David Crane of Stanford University breaks down the numbers to provide a view of public pensions from a historical perspective.
Public Pensions: The Chicago Way
Jason Grotto, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, highlights Illinois’s public pension woes. Grotto also identifies key sources and reporting techniques for journalists looking to cover the story in their communities.
Public Pensions: A Soaring Burden
Arizona Republic reporter Craig Harris dissects the art of reporting about the complex world of public pensions. Harris details how to organize research, collect date and, ultimately, how to build an award-winning story. His award-winning eight-part series, Public Pensions: A Soaring Burden, details Arizona's attempt to keep its six state pension systems solvent and the impact it has had on taxpayers.
State Retirement Legislation in 2010 and 2011
Ron Snell, senior advisor of the National Conference of State Legislatures, breaks down the most recent legislation regarding public pensions.
What You Always Wanted to Know About Pensions But Were Afraid to Ask
Lynn Turner, former SEC chief accountant, Lynn Turner, identifies key questions regarding public pensions.
Covering Public Pensions
Mary Williams Walsh, reporter for The New York Times, breaks down the ongoing public pension story and provides tips for journalists covering the issue.
More About the Conference
Read all about the public pensions seminar -- topics, speakers and more. Find the links here.
What kinds of stories did participants in the public pensions seminar write? Read them here.
Studies on the state of public pensions can be found here.