December 7, 2022

The Morning Meeting with Al Tompkins is a daily Poynter briefing of story ideas worth considering and other timely context for journalists, written by senior faculty Al Tompkins. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Apartment rents are dropping a little. The Zumper National Rental Report just out says:

Rent prices continue to decline gradually across much of the United States. Nationally, the median price for a one-bedroom is flat over last month; the two-bedroom median fell 0.4%. Nearly half the cities on Zumper’s list posted decreased or flat one-bedroom prices compared to last month; the two-bedroom median is down or flat in 60% of our top 100 cities. 

Several metros accustomed to substantial, sustained price increases are beginning to level off: Median one-bedroom rent is down 2.9% in Nashville, 2% in Boston and 1.8% in New York City. One-bedroom rent in Tulsa, OK—which previously saw big price hikes thanks to an incentive program to lure remote workers—is down a whopping 6.3% over last month. Fresno, CA, dropped 16 spots this month and is now in the bottom half of our list with a median one-bedroom rent of $1,330. 


Zumper’s analysis is based on a million listings around the country.

Let’s take a look at the 25 most expensive places for one and two-bedroom apartments and see how prices have moved in the last month and the last year ago. In many cases, apartment rents rose more than twice, even three times the national inflation rate.


An over-the-counter medicine shortage that is not (yet) an emergency

I have seen several headlines in recent days implying there is a critical shortage of over-the-counter medicines for children. But the alarm seems to be a bit overstated, at least for now. Prevention reported:

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which analyzes information from manufacturers and other sources, notes that some forms of oral ibuprofen are in shortage. The organization also lists acetaminophen suppositories as being in shortage but, it’s important to note, most children take the medication orally.

“ASHP tends to be slightly ahead of the FDA reporting on shortages,” says Stephanie Field, M.B.A., director of pharmacy business operations at Corewell Health West. “If ASHP shares it, then it will soon be on the FDA list.”

CIDRAP, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported:

Some formulations of the prescription antibiotic amoxicillin and liquid pediatric formulations of the over-the-counter fever and pain medications acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Children’s Advil, Children’s Motrin) have been scarce in the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe. While amoxicillin isn’t effective against viruses, clinicians sometimes presumptively use it for this indication, driving demand spikes that may divert it away from patients who need it for bacterial infections.

Experts worry that the lack of acetaminophen and ibuprofen to relieve symptoms could force parents to seek care for their children at urgent-care centers and emergency departments. “It’s a huge problem,” Kristina Powell, a Virginia pediatrician, told the Washington Post. “Parents run to Walmart or Target, the shelves are empty. … This is going to be a long fall and winter of viral infections.”

Erin Fox, director of the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service, which tracks medication shortages, told the Post that shortages of acetaminophen and ibuprofen were related to spikes in demand and should resolve “relatively quickly.”

More newspapers turning to the U.S. mail to replace carrier delivery republished an interesting piece from Northwestern University’s Medill Local News Initiative website about how papers big and small are turning to the U.S. Postal Service to deliver even daily papers rather than using newspaper carriers. Newspapers are, of course, trying to cut costs, and at the same time, the Postal Service says delivering periodicals like newspaper is a losing proposition for them, too. But then if you expect your morning paper to be in your driveway or mailbox in the morning, then getting it in the afternoon mail could be less than fulfilling.

Credit Suisse projects handbags will be the best ‘collectibles’ investment over next 12 months

That headline is from CNBC which explored the topic of “passion assets,” which may remind you of those little figurines that your mother or grandmother collected thinking they would be worth a fortune now. They aren’t.

Credit Suisse says handbags will be the best collectibles among all collectibles and they will be the least volatile of any asset class. Credit Suisse says handbag investments outperformed the art market in recent years. 


But only certain designer bags are collectible (think Hermès, Birkins and Kellys and a few select Chanel models) and they have to be rare, in mint condition, in certain colors and have special hardware.

Here is a crocodile Hermès bag for $168,000 that people are talking about.


Or some of the more affordable models from Sotheby’s, which cost about as much as a year’s rent in some of those cities we talked about at the top of the column.


Sotheby’s says, “The Day, Night and Midnight Faubourg Birkins with matte alligator flaps retail for about $30,000 while the Snow Faubourg Birkin with Matte Alligator body is $48,000. In 2021, Sotheby’s sold an Hermès Day Faubourg Birkin for $180,190 in Hong Kong and Night Faubourg Birkin for $167,000.  The Snow Faubourg Birkin sold for nearly $400,000 in early 2022 via private sale. Prices appear to have come down slightly as more bags become available in the secondary market but the Snow Faubourg remains the most expensive.”

I figured you would want to see what a $400,000 bag looks like. Here it is:


Ok, good luck with that. I have some of my mother’s Hummels if you want to talk.

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
Al Tompkins

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