Since early 2010, we have been interviewing Americans for our multimedia documentary project Over 50 and Out of Work, and the project will continue on into 2011. We are about two-thirds of the way toward our goal of completing 100 interviews with people who are 50 years or older and unemployed.
We began in the New York metropolitan area, conducting video interviews with folks from New York and New Jersey. Over the course of the year, we have traveled to Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan, Washington, DC, Florida, Rhode Island, Nevada and Massachusetts. Next year, we will be heading to more states that have very high rates of unemployment, including California, Mississippi and Oregon.
Before the year ends, we want to say thank you to every person who has volunteered to participate in our project. We are grateful and honored to have heard and documented your stories.
Although we have often been told that the videos are difficult to watch, isn’t that the point? The hardships that people are facing due to unemployment aren’t scripted for entertainment, but real, true and still ongoing.
One way we think of our project is as an updated multimedia version of a Studs Terkel nonfiction book. Through the mosaic of people’s experiences, a composite picture of the impact of the Great Recession on older Americans, in particular, the boomer generation, emerges.
Even though the stories are we are recording can be sad, the people themselves are not, and we see them as resilient and brave. As we have written previously, they are not looking for handouts, but for jobs and for an opportunity to become self-supporting and productive once again.
Next year, we will continue to add interviews with people who are 50-plus and jobless to our site until we reach our goal of 100. We will also add more interviews with experts to provide context and advice for jobseekers to our site. Overall, we have many more plans to grow our project and enhance its impact.
We welcome the terrific suggestions that our site visitors are contributing. Please keep sending your comments and thoughts to us at Over 50 and Out of Work.
We send you our best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.