Solr Search

Cue points: 

Journalist Leah McGrath Goodman 8/2/18

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon icon
Pinterest icon

Leah McGrath Goodman has a good idea about the challenges of writing as she tackles some of the most difficult subjects: money, politics and institutional cultures of corruption. "Sometimes, facts are incomplete," she said. "Journalism is weird in that you have to write the story on a limited set of facts frequently and then you have to update it endlessly until you die and then somebody else continues." Goodman, a best-selling author and senior writer for Newsweek magazine who lives in Brattleboro, will be the guest speaker at Thursday's Dessert Social, Dover Free Library's annual fundraiser being held at 7 p.m. at Dover Town Hall. Entry to the event is by donation. The library says "delicious desserts will be provided by local inns, bakers and various businesses." Goodman's book "The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market" was published by Harper Collins in 2011. Her next book is about Jersey, an island off the coast of France that is known as a tax shelter. These subject matters are what Goodman considers "radioactive" but most enjoyable to write about — journalists may shy away because it may require more time, effort and money than other stories. Passages from both books will be explored Thursday. Goodman also plans on talking about how readers and writers use their own principles and values when wrapping their minds around the news. The United States is at a time where the president questions the truth and journalists are having a more difficult time agreeing on a set of facts, she said; something solid on Monday turns to soup on Thursday. "But in the end, it has to be reality and there is objective reality," she said. "It's not a debate." Goodman said she does not want her presentation to be political. Her plan is to talk about being open minded and filtering information. She said millennials tend to be good at doing that because they have been reading material in different places since they were very young and can instantly distill information. The goal is to release her next book in the next year or so. "But Jersey's like a black hole," she said. Goodman said the remains of children were found at former orphanage on the island in 2008 and investigation later uncovered sexual abuse. She called the story "a pretty big one to bite off." "You're dealing with police, politicians and people in the finance industry who all just want us to go away," she said. Goodman became interested in Jersey while visiting friends in London. After digging into the story, being detained at Heathrow Airport for 12 hours and getting banned from the island in 2011, she said she came to Brattleboro to "decompress." Once Goodman got her work and travel visa the following year, and the press in the U.K. had written about her troubles, she only goes to Jersey with other people. Usually, she said, they are journalists because they can ensure documentation if something happens. She is teaming up with a filmmaker on a related documentary. Goodman recalled worrying mostly about her family while being held at the airport. "My mom," she said, "was like, 'Why do you have to do this project? Can't you just write about flowers?'" Mean tweets or bad reviews might be shared during her talk. Goodman said she wants to encourage civilians to challenge themselves and question what is happening around them. She plans to ask attendees what they have struggled with most while digesting current events and why. "I'm hoping for a lot of audience participation," she said. Goodman is 42 years old. She tends to spend time in New York and London when working on book projects. She was born in Boston and grew up in Norwell, Mass. Describing herself as a lifelong journalist, Goodman said, "I don't think I'll ever stop being curious. It's a real pleasure to be able to do it for a living because it's a great joy to be able to follow your curiosity and write about what you find."

Production Date: 
Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 19:00