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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pulitzer Prize Winning Writer Planning a Book On Janesville

Here's a story about a journalist who has spent 1-1/2 years researching Janesville for a new book ...

NBC News Excerpt:
Amy Goldstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer on leave from The Washington Post, has spent the past 1-1/2 years researching the small city of Janesville, Wis., taking an intensely close look at what has happened in one community where thousands of people lost their jobs when the country’s oldest operating auto plant closed its doors. More than four years later, many of the people laid off from the plant and other local companies are still struggling to find a job with decent pay—or any job at all.

And a passage from the article that aligned with my own observations...

And the cleavage points in town have changed. Some people used to resent the GM’ers, who had such good wages and benefits. Now, some people are angry at schoolteachers for similar reasons; at least one teacher has changed when she goes grocery shopping, because she’d gotten yelled at in the store more than once by people in town who resented her summers off and her pension.

Janesville is different than some of the larger autotowns that went under primarily because it had almost 30 years of close calls and warnings to help prepare itself. But even with that, there's a vicious clawdown effect going on in Janesville that is part of a broader statewide agenda.

What can be easily overlooked, possibly out of fear of retribution, is the hand the town's politically motivated newspaper, the Janesville Gazette, has had in fueling most of the local derision and cover-ups for the past 20 years.

But according to the NBC story, the focus of the book however will be about how an ordinary community deals with heavy job losses. Fair enough, but I'm hoping the writer's final draft will delve into Janesville's internal workings, political undercurrents and unelected leadership that is steering the area's post-GM low-wage economy - if she goes that far - and I hope she does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out the book by Catherine Tumber, Small, Gritty and Green which was released last November. The first chapter of the book is about Janesville and their struggle to reinvent themselves - along with other small former-industrial cities - in a low carbon future.

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