May 09, 2022

Editorial: Ban the Library Police

In a May 9, 2022 editorial, The Roanoke Times supported the recommendation of the Roanoke Valley Public Libraries to do away with late book fines. They referenced Deborah Fallows’s 2020 article in The Atlantic in which she commented, “When I was a kid, the sin of returning books late to the public library populated a category of dread for me next to weekly confessions to the Catholic priest (what can an 8-year-old really have to confess?) and getting caught by the dentist with a Tootsie Roll wrapper sticking out of my pocket.”

Read the editorial here.

May 07, 2022

Fallowses Give Ball State University Commencement Address

Ball State University’s 2022 Commencement featured Deborah and James Fallows, who gave the Commencement address and received honorary doctorates at the May 7 ceremony in Muncie, Indiana. The Fallowses have written several articles featuring Ball State’s innovative partnership with Muncie Community Schools, among other points of pride in the Muncie community.

President Geoffrey Mearns said during Saturday’s Commencement ceremony, “Through your reporting and through the leadership of your foundation, you are promoting greater civic engagement, community renewal, and genuine dialogue among the citizens of our country.”

Read more here.

April 20, 2022

If Small Towns Want to Survive, They Need a Plan B

Tim Holt, editor of the Northwest Review contrasts the effective “Plan Bs” of towns including Mount Shasta, CA and Ashland, OR with that of his own town, Dunsmuir, CA. He references Deborah and James Fallows’s Our Towns book and its common factors in successfully reinvented towns across the United States, including an openness to newcomers bringing new talents and ideas to their new homes. He states, “In these “open” towns the newcomers often find opportunities to reinvent themselves, to apply whatever skills and talents they may have in new ways in this new, stimulating environment.”

Read the article here.

March 07, 2022

Looking at America from up high and on the ground, with Jim Fallows

On this episode of the Vital Center, Jim and podcast host Geoff Kabaservice discuss Deb and Jim’s travels across the country and why politics so often works better at the local level, even in some places hard hit by economic decline and political polarization. The veteran journalist describes “the beautiful American continent [which] is full of those moments when you think, ‘Oh, this is how it looks. This is how it works.’”

Listen to the podcast here.

February 19, 2022

Just in time, hotel back on track

In their February 19, 2022 editorial, The Frederick News-Post references Deborah and James Fallows’s book Our Towns and its list of traits seen in successful cities, one of which is a hotel. The Frederick County Council recently voted to help the city of Frederick purchase land for the project, a development the paper’s editorial board lauds.

Read the article here.

February 17, 2022

The larger value two national journalists see in Latter-day Saint missions

Tad Walch of the Deseret News reported on Deborah and James Fallows’s February 17, 2022 appearance at a BYU, Provo forum. The Fallowes compared their experiences living in China and crisscrossing the United States to write a book and produce a documentary both titled Our Towns with those of young missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Said Deborah Fallows, “You have a secret weapon that other people your age don’t have. You are going into your calling in these communities and having the opportunity as an outsider to see what makes them work. What are the keys here? Who are the people who are making these towns grow? And what are they doing? Those are lessons you can bring back to your communities in your life and apply to wherever it is you end up living to build the strength of your communities.”

Read the article here.

February 15, 2022

Writers bring experiences of small-town America to BYU

Ashtyn Asay of the Daily Herald profiled Deborah and James Fallows’s appearance at BYU, Provo in her February 15, 2022 article. The Fallowses commented on the role young people play in sustaining and improving the towns they grew up in. “This is something that is on you to figure out yourselves of what you can do to build strong communities. A few things that we have observed, I would say the most is to think of engaging in something where you find your passion,” Deborah Fallows said. “Go out and join things, be a part of your community, learn to find your voice there and to do what you can.”

Read the article here.

February 15, 2022

Forum: Finding your community

BYU News’s Jenna Knaupp reported on James and Deborah Fallowses’ forum address to the campus on Tuesday, February 15, 2022. In their reporting, which developed into the “Our Towns” book and HBO documentary, the Fallowses remain firm in their hopes for America, and they proposed a new type of optimism: conditional optimism, which is the belief that a community can become better through individual contributions and civic engagement.

Read the article here.

February 15, 2022

Writers James and Deborah Fallows speak on hope for improving local communities

The Daily Universe reported on James and Deborah Fallowses’ February 15, 2022 forum at BYU. In addition to specific ideas they shared for for what people can do to improve local communities, Jim reported, “Our job this morning is to give you reasons to feel some hope about the communities you’re living in, hope about the world you will inhabit and shape.”

Read the article here.

January 18, 2022

Which Aircraft Fits Your Traveling Plans?

Flying magazine’s Jonathan Welsh wrote an article featuring Deborah and James Fallowses’ selection of the Cirrus SR22 for their cross-country reporting journey. Welsh goes on to detail the various factors pilots should take into account when deciding on the aircraft that is right for their expected travels.

Read the article here.

December 17, 2021

Community Visioning Celebrates 25 Years of Programming in Iowa’s Small Communities

Iowa State University’s News reported on the Iowa’s Living Roadways 2021 annual celebration held on November 19, 2021. Highlights of the daylong event included a keynote address by James and Deborah Fallows, authors of “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America.” The annual celebration also provided the newly selected 2022 visioning communities a glimpse of the possibilities available to them and showcased 25 years of project implementations completed by nearly 50 communities that participated in the Community Visioning Program.

Read the article here.

December 15, 2021

Profiled in Phi Kappa Phi Forum

National Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi’s Forum Magazine recently profiled James and Deborah Fallows and the writing of Our Towns.

“Since its early days, America has inspired writers to travel its reaches, reporting their findings to the rest of the world,” Forum editor Danny Heitman writes. Our Towns, he says, allows the Fallowses to stake their claim on the genre.

Read the article here.

November 28, 2021

These 6 statues in Riverside form a Peace Walk, but few know it

The Press Enterprise’s David Allen referenced Our Towns in his article on Riverside California’s pedestrian mall, which features six bronze statues. In the chapter on Riverside, the Fallowses describe the statues as forming a “Peace Walk,” something Allen had never considered. The author discusses the history and future of the walk with current and former mayors Patricia Lock Dawson and Ron Loveridge.

Read the article here.

November 14, 2021

Ending Late Fees Restores Principle of ‘Public’ Libraries

LA Progressive’s November 14, 2021 article featured Deborah Fallows’s reporting on the Fine Free Movement where libraries are eliminating fines, which disproportionally affect the disenfranchised, low-income communities they are meant most to assist. The three public library systems in New York City—Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Public Library, the largest in the country, are the latest to eliminate late fees.

Read the article here.

November 10, 2021

Bucksport voted best small coastal town

The Ellsworth American’s article about Bucksport, Maine’s selection as USA Today’s best coastal small town referenced Deborah Fallows, who recommended the city. Fallows wrote an article about Bucksport’s recovery after the town’s paper mill closed.

Read the article here.

September 13, 2021

Named to the ‘Best of Inland Empire’ 2021

Nathan Gonzales, Archivist and head of Special Collections at A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, CA, recently named Deborah and James Fallows’s Our Towns book and documentary to his “Editor’s Picks: 3 Great Local History Reads” for its insightful discussion of Redlands, Riverside and San Bernardino.

Read the article here.