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We Are All Subprime Now, R.I.P. « The Washington Independent

Financial bloggers are in mourning today for Tanta, at Calculated Risk, who died on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. As the tributes to her throughout the blogosphere make clear, her analysis of the mortgage crisis was closely followed and influential. She had spent 20 years in mortgage banking — she knew what she was talking about, and she did so in great detail. It’s how she built a strong following, even creating widely circulated catch phrases for the spreading crisis such as “We Are All Subprime Now.”

Tanta also often taught the mainstream media a lesson, calling out reporters for doing lazy or misleading stories. And the fact that she could delve so deeply into a complicated subject and still attract a large audience probably was the biggest lesson of all, especially for newspapers laying off experienced reporters and pushing for shorter stories.

From Calculated Risk’s tribute:

Tanta liked to ferret out the details. She was inquisitive and had a passion for getting the story right. Sometimes she wouldn’t post for a few days, not because she wasn’t feeling well, but because she was reading through volumes of court rulings, or industry data, to get the facts correct. She respected her readers, and people noticed.

Here’s how the New York Times described her influence:

Thanks in large part to Tanta’s contributions, Calculated Risk became a crucial source of prescient analysis as the housing market at first faltered, then collapsed and finally spawned a full-blown credit crisis.

Tanta used her extensive knowledge of the loan industry to comment, castigate and above all instruct. Her fans ranged from the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who cited her in his blog, to analysts at the Federal Reserve, who cited her in a paper on “Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit.”

Tanta’s real name was Doris Dungey, and she most recently lived in Upper Marlboro, Md. Most regular readers never even knew any of that. In the blogosphere she was just Tanta, and everyone who cared about the mortgage meltdown knew her name.

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