James and Deborah Fallows In the Press

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on June 18th, 2019 at 5:22 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, The Reinvention of a Downtown: Danville's Story Part II

In this second post about Danville's downtown revival, Jim provides several illustrations of the city's downtown progress, the work that's been done and work that remains.

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on June 13th, 2019 at 8:19 AM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, The Reinvention of Danville's Downtown: Part I

Danville, in "Southside" Virginia near the North Carolina border, is a former factory town, suffering the issues towns suffer when those factories shut down. The city of 40,000 was once one of the richest places in the Piedmont area, a major center of first the tobacco and then the textile industries. It was also, for a one-week period, the final capital city of the Confederacy.

The city's plans for dealing with its past and planning for its future will be covered in future posts. Read the set-up here.

Our Towns named Book of the Day

Posted on June 11th, 2019 at 2:16 PM Logo Our Towns

Our Towns is named June 11, 2019 Book of the Day by Book of the

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on June 11th, 2019 at 1:36 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, A Community Within A Community

In their first post from Danville, VA, Deb describes the town's YMCA. Housed in a new $15 million, 50,000 square foot facility on the Dan River, the Y's membership reflects the racial make-up of the city, half-white, half-black. The CEO describes the positive nature of the Y's program as the creation of a "community within a community."

Read the post here.


Featured in Sampsonia Way

Posted on June 3rd, 2019 at 4:09 PM

Sampsonia WaySampsonia Way, Conditional Optimism in Our Towns

In an interview with Sampsonia Way, the in-house magazine for City of Asylum, to which a chapter of Our Towns is devoted, Jim and Deb answer additional questions on travel, on writing, and on towns.

Read the interview here.


'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on May 31st, 2019 at 6:50 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, What Does All This Local Reporting Add Up To?

In response to an email sent out to Atlantic readers this week, Jim and Deb received a message requesting a "productization" of recipes for solutions as well as non-solutions, and actionable social entrepreneurship kits and trainings. Reporting, the reader stated, is necessary but not sufficient in our present circumstances. 

Jim responds that, although he and Deb can't be the "productizers" themselves, their ambition is to connect people who do have those abilities. Stay tuned and send suggestions to

Read the post here.

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on May 30th, 2019 at 7:33 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, How a 'Communiversity' Works

An example of true local collaboration is the new home for the Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence in the Golden Triangle of northeastern Mississippi. The program, which has been gaining momentum over the past decade, offers academically structured, industrially aligned for-credit classes. It exemplifies, Jim says, "a commitment to collaboration that other regions could usefully study."

Read the post here.

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on May 30th, 2019 at 7:03 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, The Rural-Urban Divide is Complicated

In this post, Jim shares three stories from the past week on the "urban-rural divide." The first, from The Washington Post, on the "surprisingly comforting" reasons for rural decline. The second a New York Times story about the shift in migration patters for Americans without a college degree. The third story is an American Enterprise Institute report finding, not surprisingly based on Jim and Deb's reporting, that a city's "amenities" such as parks, restaurants, walkable shopping, and libraries, make a difference in how happy, trusting, and engaged its citizens are.

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on May 24th, 2019 at 12:41 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, When Libraries are 'Second Responders'

Deb reports on the miriad ways libraries are filling gaps and offering help to citizens across the country. From job search assistance to answering medical questions, creating a sense of normalcy after a disaster to high school completion classes, today's librarians are responding to the complex needs in their communities -- and serving a critical role as "second responders."

Read the post here.

'Our Towns' in 'The Atlantic'

Posted on May 22nd, 2019 at 7:05 PM

The Atlantic, Our Towns, Angola

Jim follows up on his previous post about Angola, IN and its engineering school, Trine University. In a move aptly proving their president's assertion that they are more than an engineering school, Trine's women's softball team advanced to the Division III national championships last weekend with what Yahoo Sports News described as, "the greatest hidden ball trick you've ever seen."

Read the post here.