by Jocelyn Harris

Editor’s Note: In an effort to celebrate and highlight some of the best journalism happening in Montana, in environmental and science journalism as well as the good work being produced by our UM J-School alumni, each week, the School of Journalism is compiling these stories in this new feature: Good Work Wednesday. Look for it every week and if you have suggestions of journalism works we should highlight, email Good Work Wednesday curator and grad student Jocelyn Harris at

Top Montana News Stories:

1. The long road home: Missoula leaders reflect on plan to end homelessness (by Bret Anne Serbin / Missoulian)

Serbin checks up on Missoula’s 10-year plan to end homelessness enacted in 2012. Her sources acknowledge they were unlikely to ever meet such a lofty goal, but various Missoula services can still help many unhoused Missoulians along the way.

2. Montana’s vaccine mandate ban goes on trial (by Sam Wilson / Helena Independent Record)

Sam Wilson, covers the ongoing trial of the controversial Montana law prohibiting most businesses and employers from mandating vaccinations. Of particular concern for the plaintiffs are health care facilities, where employees can refuse the vaccine and refuse to disclose their vaccine status.

3. Montana-based online platform showcases Native American artists and their work (by Aline Hauter / KPAX)

Hauter writes about TRIIA, an online platform for Native American artists that gives them a way to tell their own stories. She quotes Billings-based artist Ben Pease as saying, “For so many years, our stories as indigenous people have always been told by somebody else than ourselves and I think it’s powerful being able to tell our stories ourselves.” 

4. Bozeman residents count cars running red lights at intersection (by Edgar Cedillo / KBZK)

Cedillo reports on the local push to increase traffic safety in Bozeman. Residents counted 12 cars running red lights in 30 minutes at the intersection where Kelly Fulton, a Bozeman High School teacher, was fatally struck by a vehicle earlier this month.

5. Public comment sought for Owen Sowerwine conservation easement (by Hayden Blackford / Daily Inter Lake)

In this story, UM alumnus Hayden Blackford brings attention to the 442 acres of floodplain east of Kalispell playing host to over 150 bird species. Awaiting community feedback and State Land Board approval, the Flathead Land Trust seeks to purchase the easement to secure the environment in perpetuity for wildlife, public enjoyment and educational opportunities.

Science and Environmental Stories:

1. The world’s biggest marine reserve seems to be doing its job (by Tim Vernimmen / National Geographic)

Vernimmen conveys the findings of a new study on the expanded marine protection area in Hawaii. A good sign for fish and people who depend on them, the catch rate near the reserve has gone up, suggesting that the expansion had the desired effect of restoring fish populations. He quotes Alan Friedlander, chief scientist for the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project, as saying, “This is one of the few studies to show actual spillover benefits, which are often difficult to prove. That is great news as it suggests a robust approach we can use to evaluate and improve protected areas elsewhere.”

2. EPA to further slash emissions from climate super-pollutants (by Allyson Chiu / The Washington Post)

Chiu covers the EPA’s newly proposed plan to phase down the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons, super-pollutants that contribute to global warming. In her reporting, Chiu spoke to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, and all seem to agree that the plan is a solid step in the right direction.

Student/Alumni Story of the Week:

Historic white bison Big Medicine to be returned to Flathead Indian Reservation (by Eric Jochim, ’07 / KPAX)

In his story about Big Medicine, UM alumnus Eric Jochim writes about the agreement to return the sacred white bison to the Flathead Indian Reservation. He quotes Shane Morigeau, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Deputy Executive Officer, who said that Big Medicine “holds tremendous traditional, cultural, and historical significance to us. He’s an ongoing source of pride and his medicine represents the past that had carried forward to the present and the work yet to be done to protect our identity, culture, and well-being into the future.”

Big Medicine, the sacred white bison born at the National Bison Range in 1933, is on display at the Montana Historical Society (MHS) in Helena where he has resided since 1961. Under the new agreement, he will be returned to the Flathead Indian Reservation once a proper space is secured for him. 
Photo credit: SAM HOYLE / MTN News 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Sam Wilson as a graduate of the UM J-School. We apologize for the errror.

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