National Journal Looks at the New Milwaukee

Jun 7, 2013

Perhaps no story has been reported on in Milwaukee over the past twenty years as much as the transformation of the local economy, away from traditional manufacturing.  It’s had an impact on employment, but that transition is also felt in countless other arenas.

Sophie Quinton's series in National Journal focuses on the transformation of Milwaukee's economy.
Credit photo by Sophie Quinton, National Journal

But while it continues to be a huge local issue, it’s a story of national significance, as well.  The changing face of Milwaukee is the subject of a week-long series of reports in the National Journal and The Atlantic.

They’re the work of staff reporter Sophie Quinton, who joined us from National Journal’s newsroom in Washington this week.  She says much of her reporting focused on Milwaukee's efforts to shed its national image as a "Rust Belt" city whose time of prominence had passed.

"When I’d tell people I was heading to Milwaukee," Quinton explains, "a lot of them would say, 'Well, what’s going on there?'

"A lot of people don't really know much about the city, other than the fact that it used to be a big manufacturing hub, and kind of hasn't been able to achieve the strength it had in that sector back in the '70s." - Sophie Quinton

Quinton, who reported from San Antonio in the past, says Milwaukee's experience was exactly what the magazine is trying to capture in its Next Economy series.  "We really wanted to include cities that are dealing with things like the decline in manufacturing jobs, places in different regions around the country, and midsize cities that don't get a lot of national press."