Monday, March 13, 2023
Cameron Hood, Newsletter EditorCameron Hood
Newsletter Editor
Welcome to Grid Today, bringing you context and clarity on the most important stories of the day. 

what just happened with Silicon Valley Bank over the weekend? My colleagues from around the newsroom have been reporting on the latest developments and what they mean. 

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What just happened with Silicon Valley Bank?


I noted in Friday’s newsletter, at the end of last week Silicon Valley Bank, a tech industry favorite that worked with many startups and venture capital firms, spiraled into failure, shocking the sector and leaving many tech founders, companies and investors uncertain of the status of their deposits with the bank. 

My colleagues Matthew Zeitlin and Maggie Severns have been covering the developments in the SVB story and the response from regulators and political figures over the weekend.


🏦 FDIC: The FDIC placed Silicon Valley Bank into a receivership on Friday, and by Sunday night, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department announced that all of the bank’s depositors would have “full access to their funds today,” Matt reports. What was out of the ordinary in this situation is that uninsured depositors – meaning those with more than the $250,000 amount of FDIC-insured deposits — would also get all of their funds. 
See why the FDIC’s decision isn’t a typical bailout – and isn’t a typical bank resolution, either.

🏛 Bank regulations: Following the 2008 Great Financial Crisis, financial regulators enacted various regulations and rules to address systemic risks to the broader financial system. These regulations had “two broad goals,” Matt writes: “making the system as a whole more resilient and limiting regulators’ ability to bail out individual institutions.” Notably, however, medium-sized institutions like Silicon Valley Bank were later able to operate without some of these new banking regulations on account of their size and operations. See how post-2008 reforms did and didn’t prepare us for SVB’s collapse.

📈 Federal Reserve: “Over the last year, the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates at its fastest pace in recent history, deliberately throwing sand in the gears of the financial system in order to bring down inflation,” Matt writes. “But in the process, the Fed inadvertently blew a hole in the finances of Silicon Valley Bank and many of its peers.”
Learn how the Fed’s interest rate hikes endangered the banking sector, leading to SVB’s collapse.

💸 Tech: The bank’s sudden collapse on Friday shocked the tech industry. As Khaya Himmelman and Matt reported on Friday, SVB was “an unusual bank in its focus on startups in the tech sector,” and according to the bank, it counted “around half of all U.S. venture-backed startups as clients.” SVB “would work hand in glove with technology companies and venture capital firms, frequently lending companies money after they had raised capital” from VCs. Read more about SVB’s role as the tech sector’s favorite bank.

🐘 Politics: The bank episode has “has put an ideological rift between establishment Republicans and the populist right on full display,” Policy Reporter Maggie Severns writes. While many Republicans in Congress and Washington have viewed that “regulators did the right thing by stepping in” to prevent negative repercussions for the wider economy, others have accused regulators of “corporate cronyism” or a “bailout” of the bank using taxpayer money.
See how SVB’s collapse reveals the power of Trump-style populism.



Some of the chart-toppers for Grid readers:


Why prosecuting Russian war crimes in Ukraine may be awkward for the US

“The U.S. has accused Russia of committing ‘crimes against humanity’ in Ukraine. President Joe Biden himself has gone as far as to accuse Russia of committing ‘genocide’ — generally considered the most serious crime under international law — and said that President Vladimir Putin should face a ‘war crimes trial’ over the massacres committed in the town of Bucha,” Global Security Reporter Joshua Keating writes.

But even as the International Criminal Court is reportedly close to “opening two war crimes cases: one alleging that Russia deliberately abducted Ukrainian children to send them to reeducation camps and another alleging that Russian forces deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure,” Josh writes, the U.S. is reluctant to partner with the ICC in prosecuting these cases. Why?


The context on what you need to know today:
  • A “climate bomb” in Alaska: “The Biden administration just approved a massive oil drilling project called Willow in Alaska’s North Slope that if fully developed will result in huge amounts of carbon emissions in a warming world that desperately needs emissions cuts,” Climate Reporter Dave Levitan reports. Why now, and what does this mean? Here’s what to know about the Willow project.
  • Growing scrutiny of Fox News hosts: Revelations that Fox News hosts and executives “pushed falsehoods, at times knowingly, that the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump,” writes Investigative Reporter Steve Reilly, raise many questions, including: How should journalism organizations and other institutions treat those hosts who spread election lies through their platforms? And should they be allowed to keep their journalistic accolades


What’s interesting to me today:
  • The Quest to Restore Notre Dame’s Glorious Sound (The New York Times Magazine) Efforts to rebuild and restore the famous cathedral after its devastating fire in April 2019 have focused on one of its most unique – and complex – features: its acoustics.


A wave of legislation aimed at transgender rights has swept the country, Politics Reporter Sophie Tatum and Data Visualization Reporter Anna Deen underscore in their latest story. As of last week, the number of bills totaled more than 300.

“The sheer number of bills related to transgender rights appearing in statehouses this year compared to previous years demonstrate how this issue is at the top of minds for conservative lawmakers,” they write. These bills focus on healthcare, schools, athletics and other areas ranging from identification to nondiscrimination protections. (
I wrote about differences in LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws around the U.S. in December.)

👋 That’s all for today. See you tomorrow for more news. –Cameron

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