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Federal Reserve opens up -- a bit

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill.

JEREMY HOBSON: The Federal Reserve has announced that four times a year, chairman Ben Bernanke will do something his predecessors haven't been willing to do. Take questions from reporters.

Let's go live to our Washington reporter David Gura for the details. Hi, David.

DAVID GURA: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: So why has the Fed decided to do this?

GURA: There's been a lot of concern from some Americans and from some members of Congress, about why the Federal Reserve did what it did during the financial crisis. And people want to know why it's done what it's done since then. Now, Ben Bernanke has talked to reporters before. He's done a few TV interviews, and he's a former Princeston professor. So the goal here is for him to use those talents to make more people more aware of how federal monetary policy works, and to help them understand how the Fed makes decisions.

HOBSON: But, David, one of the big things about the Fed is it's supposed to be removed from the daily political back-and-forth in Washington. Don't you think this just going to add more political pressures to the Fed's decisions?

GURA: Look, this is risky. Chairman Bernanke knows that when he speaks, everybody listens. Not just in the U.S., but around the world. He's probably going to focus on the past as much as he can. He'll still steer clear of what the Fed could do, or what it might do. to stay focused on what the Fed has done, as opposed to what it could do. In other words, talk about past decisions, not the future.

But Don Kettl, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy says that's probably easier said that done.

DON KETTL: Every good reporter is going to be trying very hard to try to wheedle out of Bernanke some sign about what it is that's likely to happen, and as is always been the case, a sneeze or a sniffle from the Fed can be enough to move the Markets.

The first news conference is scheduled for April 27. So, I'll be there, Jeremy. With my notebook and microphone. I might even bring some Kleenex.

HOBSON: Stay dry -- Marketplace's David Gura in Washington, thanks.

GURA: Thank you Jeremy.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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