What a last six months it’s been. I feel like I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants since the launch of “The Decline: The Geography of a Recession” last October. Who would’ve thought a simple email from my boss, who first shared the map with co-workers and a few close friends, would amount to all of this? And to think this all started as a quick, passing thought while completing an assignment at work, which then spawned into a final project for graduate school.
Over the last few months, “Geography of a Recession” has been featured on CNN, ABC, a number of local television news stations, boingboing, hundreds of blogs, listservs and a number of labor union websites, including my own. The map has surpassed a million hits from around the world. Requests for special permission to include the graphic in various presentations are coming in by the dozens. And despite my five years in television news and documentaries, my daughter has officially dubbed me “cool.”
But, the best part of it all has been the hundreds of personal messages I have received from unemployed workers themselves. When I first sat down to complete this project, I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I had no idea the map would touch so many people the way it has. Thanks to everyone for the great comments, suggestions and emails. I want you to know I do read all your messages (yes, even the mean nasty ones), although the sheer magnitude + home + school + work has made it nearly impossible to reply to them all.
The most important part is that the conversation regarding our country’s current jobs crisis has started. Folks in Washington, though still a bit groggy, are finally waking up to the issues that many have been dealing with for quite some time now: a lack of good, well-paying jobs, quality benefits and an equal shot at achieving the American Dream. The creation of a comprehensive jobs bill is underway, though I cannot stress enough the need for speed, and hopefully its final passage is only the start of a series of pro-middle-class bills to come.
Only time will tell how this story ends.
In the meantime, I’ve rededicated myself to posting at least once a month. And since this is an election year, I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about. Stay tuned!