by Jocelyn Harris

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


Journalists blanketed the state this week covering the mid-term elections, reporting results, listening to voters and checking in on the happenings at the polls. Look to The Daily Montanan, Montana Free Press, the Lee Newspaper Capitol bureau and both Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio for great statewide coverage. And, you can see what UM J-School students were up to Tuesday here.

In other, non-election related news, the top stories across the state included:

1. In Montana, lack of mental health resources linked to growing gun violence, especially in hospitals (by Emily Schabacker ‘19 / Missoulian)

Schabacker speaks with medical professionals who think Montana’s lack of mental health resources could be contributing to the rise in violent crime.

2. Grad student awarded moose monitoring money on Blackfeet reservation (by Tristan Scott ‘05 / Flathead Beacon)

Scott writes about wildlife biology master’s student Landon Magee. Magee grew up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and his research focuses on the important task of monitoring the elusive moose population there. Magee is quoted saying, “the Fish and Wildlife Department has always been limited in its capacity to fill these biologist positions to do the scientific work that’s needed, and it’s been especially difficult to recruit native biologists.” Magee plans to use his grant money to hire two young Indigenous field technicians, providing them an opportunity he never had in high school.

3. Wolverine, lynx populations fluctuate in Southwest Crown of the continent (by Laura Lundquist, MA, ’10/ Missoula Current)

Lundquist reports on long-term lynx and wolverine monitoring efforts by Swan Valley Connections biologists. Population counts for the entire Southwest Crown area were sometimes as low as 7 and 13 for lynx and wolverines respectively, which speaks to the difficulty of the task at hand. Lundquist notes that the information gathered is important when it comes to logging projects that could harm critical habitat for these critters.

4. Poached elk found in the Bison Range (by Kate Heston / Daily Inter Lake)

Heston reports that a bull elk was found decapitated and “disrespectfully dumped in the canal” on the Bison Range. She includes that officials are checking to confirm if this was the elk known as “Harold,” a large and popular bull among Bison Range visitors.

5. Poetic friendship: At 100 and 101, Bozeman duo form bond through verse (by Alex Miller / Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Miller writes about the new friendship between two centenarians who spend their evenings reciting poetry to each other. The story is sweet, sentimental and sprinkled with wholesome quotes from the elderly poetry fanatics.


1. Wealthy nations pledged to fund climate adaptation abroad. They’re way behind schedule. (by Blanca Begert / Grist)

Begert’s story looks at the lack of funding for adaptation to climate change and how that “adaptation gap” stands to widen if financing goals continue to go unmet and climate change impacts worsen. Begert emphasizes that communities least responsible for contributing to climate change are most vulnerable to its effects. She quotes U.N. Secretary General António Guterres in a press statement that said, “The world is failing to protect people from the here-and-now impacts of the climate crisis.”

2. Astronomers find a black hole in our cosmic backyard (by Dennis Overbye / The New York Times)

Keeping the story fun and succinct, Overbye writes about a new and intriguing cosmic discovery: the closest known black hole to Earth. Astronomers are taking special interest in this “shell of yawning emptiness,” not just because of its relative nearness to Earth, but because it isn’t behaving like a typical black hole.


The Big Why (MTPR)

Several UM J-School alumni are behind Montana Public Radio’s series, “The Big Why,” including Austin Amestoy, Corin Cates-Carney, John Hooks, Freddy Monares, and Shaylee Ragar. In each episode, the podcast seeks to answer a question from the community about “anything under the Big Sky.” Check out their latest stories about Montana water rights, knapweed infestation, and the lack of salmon in the Clark Fork.

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