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. Homelessness among older people is on the rise, driven by inflation and the housing crunch (by Aaron Bolton / Kaiser Health News in Montana Free Press)

Bolton tells the story of increasing homelessness among people over 60 through an intimate look at the trouble facing one pair of seniors in Columbia Falls. When their rent was nearly doubled, the couple lost their home and their relationship.

2. Native turnout low, Republicans see gains in majority-Native counties (by Nora Mabie / Missoulian)

“Red Medicine get-out-the-vote organizers Joyce Tatsey Spoonhunter, left, and Joleen DeRoche, right, register Heart Butte resident Carl Cree Medicine sitting in his white pickup parked on the driveway outside his home on the Blackfeet Nation on Sept. 20. Red Medicine is a group that focuses on empowering Native communities in local, state and federal politics.” Photo by Antonio Ibarra, ’22, and used with permission. 

Mabie, an indigenous communities reporter, dives into the reasons behind low Native turnout in Montana’s midterm elections. She spoke with Ta’jin Perez, Western Native Voice Deputy Director, who said, “People didn’t know there was an election happening. It’s an indictment of how poorly counties are getting the word out.”

3. Housing, budget surplus, the judiciary to be among ‘hot topics’ in Montana Legislature (Keila Szpaller / The Daily Montanan)

In this piece, Keila Szpaller, MA ’03, Szpaller lays out how the upcoming biennial Montana Legislature is shaping up, with insights from Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, and Rep. Kim Abbott, D-Helena, who joined moderator Jon Bennion in a post-election conversation hosted by the the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center last week.

4. What’s the deal with coal-rolling? (by Edward O’Brien, Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio)

On this episode of The Big Why, host Mott and reporter O’Brien answer questions about coal-rolling. They speak with Christine Kaufmann, a Montana senator from 2007 to 2016 who sponsored a bill against coal rollers, who said the practice is bad for the environment and people’s health.

Science and Environmental Stories:

Scientists and inventors are looking for new ways to prepare for climate change effects. Off the coast of Italy, the CEO of Ocean Reef, Sergio Gamberini, is experimenting with underwater greenhouses to address water scarcity. Photographer Luca Locatelli captures the otherworldliness of these plant-growing biospheres in this multimedia story. Meanwhile, in western Montana and around the world, bird biologists are erecting a network of radio receiver stations to detect and record passing radio-tagged birds. This developing system allows scientists to assess the unique conservation needs of migratory birds.

1. Look inside Nemo’s Garden, a surreal underwater farm (Photography by Luca Locatelli, text by Michael Greshko / National Geographic)

2. A global antenna network is the next frontier of migration science (by Alex Trey/ Audubon)

Student/Alumni Story of the Week:

Fall meets winter (by Hunter D’Antuono ’14 / Flathead Beacon)

When snow fell on fall foliage, photojournalist and graduate of UM’s school of journalism, Hunter D’Antuono grabbed his camera and went outside. He captures the stunning contrast of white-covered mountains and golden yellow leaves through his landscape and nature photography in and around Kalispell.

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