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Elkhart Project

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Stitch, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Anyone keeping up with the Elkhart Project on MSNBC.com? I just don't care for it in a prime spot on the Web site. All of these recession stories are seem to be anecdotal. It's more of a community newspaper approach to the recession. We just need more stories about local car dealers and home builders so that the economy will rebound.
  2. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    I've been following it, Stitch. I've found it to be an interesting exercise in journalism... of course, I live in Indiana near Elkhart, where the unemployment rate is approaching 20 percent, so maybe I am a little biased. I think Elkhart was selected for that reason: They considered it Ground Zero for the recession.
  3. I have a buddy who is in the RV industry and lives in Bristol. Possibly the only industry worse off then ours right now.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    I haven't read much of it but am too tired of seeing it plastered all over MSNBC.com. It's interesting, but enough already.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    It's to the point where it reminds me of newspapers running 'special series' in the hopes of winning awards.

    It's one thing to do a project. It's another thing to overemphasize it to the point where people roll their eyes and turn away.
  6. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Having written for it (though not having planned it), I'll defend it.

    I like the series because it's more than a quick hit on one town or one industry. The interesting thing to me about Elkhart after having been there is it's not just a city that got hit hard by the recession. It's a city that got hit hard that still has a chance of turning around. Unlike a lot of small- and medium-sized (or large, for that matter) Midwest cities, it hasn't had a long industrial decline. In fact, before the recession it had the highest percentage of people employed in industrial jobs of any metro area in the country. This isn't Detroit, where people have dealt with decay for years. It's an industrial boomtown that suddenly went bust.

    Elkhart is a very telling example, to me, of how the country is dealing with the recession, and more than that how people who think of themselves as middle class are dealing with it when they have been thrown into the ranks of unemployed and hurtling toward being tossed out of that middle class.

    Presumably you could have picked other places, but I like the focus on one place because then the reporters get to know it better and tell stories that are a bit deeper. I can understand why some people might find it overkill, and for a while there was chatter from Elkhart that the people were getting a bit sick of portrayals they thought made them look like a community of Joads. But I think it's an interesting, micro approach to a macro story.
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