Harper’s Magazine Hits Georgia Town Hard

The August issue item by Kai Wright is front-page news.

AlbanyHerald_Front_07_23For the August issue investigation, online now and circulating fully in print by next week, New York-based writer Kai Wright spent a great deal of time examining the state of things in Albany, Georgia. Over a span of two years, he gauged the effects of The Great Recession and tells the story through the prism of two company closures: Bobs Candies and Cooper Tire.

Inevitably perhaps, local officials are not impressed. From a report today in The Albany Herald by education, feature writer Terry Lewis:

“My initial response is that it is very difficult for a person from outside to capture the heart of and soul of a community, especially by making assumptions based on the closing of two different manufacturing plants” Dougherty County Commission chairman Chris Cohilas said. “It’s also interesting that he focused on those two companies instead of the other viable industries in our community. It’s a meandering story designed to sell magazines, and since he’s not from here he won’t be held accountable for what he has written.”

Albany Economic Development Commission President Justin Strickland acknowledged the piece contains some truths about the city, but he said it fails to recognize the progress made over the past several years…

“There has been a lot of change since Cooper and Bobs closed, and I think the article is narrow in its focus,” Albany Area Chamber of Commerce interim president Barbara Rivera Holmes said.

That narrow focus is, to a large extent, by definition. The topic of the piece – “What Recovery?” – is the permanent effects of the economic depths of 2007-2008 on a smaller community, like so many others.
[Photo of today’s Albany Herald front page, courtesy: albanyherald.com]