Award-winning Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein spent years getting to know Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in 2008 in the midst of the Great Recession.

She wove the stories of the small city and its people together in "Janesville: An American Story." The book explores what happens to workers, families, businesses, schools, and a proud community when the leading employers and the good industrial jobs they provide disappear.

Goldstein will discuss her book and the lessons it offers about economic pain and community resilience at three Community Voices events on Feb. 19. 

She will participate in a lunch-time interactive roundtable discussion at noon that day in Room F of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson-Brown on Otey Street. Snacks will be provided. At 2 p.m., she will answer questions from graduate students during a public interview session at the same location. Later, at 7 p.m., she will present, “Reflections on Janesville: An American Story,” in Colonial Hall in Squires Student Center on College Avenue. Goldstein will be available to sign books after the event.

All events are free and open to university students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and to the general public.

Goldstein has been a staff writer at The Washington Post for 30 years. She currently covers health care policy, focusing on the Affordable Care Act and the Trump administration’s approach to the U.S. health care system. Over the years, she has covered the White House and written widely about social policy issues, including Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, housing, and the strains placed on the social safety net by the Great Recession.

She was one of a team of Washington Post reporters awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for the newspaper’s coverage of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the government’s response to them. She was also a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting for an investigative series she co-wrote on the medical treatment of immigrants detained by the federal government. 

At Harvard University, she has been a Nieman Fellow and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She holds an A.B. in American civilization from Brown University.

Goldstein’s website notes, “She is especially drawn to stories that lie at the intersection of politics and public policy and explore the effects of both on ordinary people.” Her reporting on Janesville reflects that passion. In the book, she offers her readers compelling stories of the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers in that community. Her narrative illustrates why creating a healthy, prosperous working class is so difficult in the 21st century.

Community Voices is an interdisciplinary group of Virginia Tech graduate students and faculty, as well as community representatives, interested in exploring innovative approaches to community building and engagement. The group, affiliated with the School of Public and International Affairs' Institute for Policy and Governance, organizes a series of public talks and roundtable discussions by leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who share their insights and experiences helping communities shape their futures.

Graduate students also interview the speakers for Trustees Without Borders, a podcast produced by Institute Senior Fellow Andy Morikawa. The public presentations and interview recordings are archived on the Community Voices website.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies; School of Public and International Affairs; Urban Affairs and Planning Program; Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Graduate School; Institute for Policy and Governance; Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment; Outreach and International Affairs; and Virginia Cooperative Extension-College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are sponsoring this event.

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