By Sage Sutcliffe

Top Montana News Stories

1. Hydrologists Expect Average Streamflows in Northwest Montana (Maggie Dresser / Flathead Beacon)

Dresser’s short, scientific article is filled with numbers, but Dresser effectively translates the data for readers and shares important news about the projected spring runoff from Northwest Montana mountains. The story also features a photo of Big Mountain in Whitefish from J-School alum Hunter D’Antuono (’14) (Shared with permission).

2. 111 days of snow cover: Long winter ranks third in history (Joshua Murdock / Missoulian)

While the past few days have been teasing spring in Missoula, it has been a wet, cold and longgg winter. Murdock reports that, in fact, “By one metric — the number of consecutive days with 1 inch or more of snow on the ground in Missoula — it’s the third-longest winter on record. And records for that measurement go back to 1893.”

3. Company claims US’s richest rare-earth deposit in Bitterroot (Joshua Murdock / Missoulian)

Again, Murdock writes for the Missoulian about rare-earth minerals that were discovered in the Bitterroot National Forest. He speaks with the president of a mining company and the director of U.S. Critical Materials Corp., who plan on mining the area despite the toxic waste the process will create.

4. Montana’s housing puzzle at the legislative halftime (Eric Dietrich / Montana Free Press)

Dietrich’s subtitle clearly states what the piece is about: “Lawmakers have advanced several bills aimed at making at least a dent in the challenges facing renters and aspiring homebuyers. Here’s where things stand as of early March.”

Unique for print stories, Dietrich condenses the bills into organized, bulleted lists with brief explanations and emojis letting readers know if the bill passed ✅ , failed ❌ or is still pending ✴️. It’s clever, and helpful for readers who find political news hard to follow.

Top Environment and Science News Stories

1. How Biden Got From ‘No More Drilling’ to Backing a Huge Project in Alaska (Lisa Friedman / New York Times)

Have you heard about the controversial Willow project? President Biden’s decision to allow drilling for oil on federal land in Alaska made front page news all over the country on Monday. This piece by Friedman in the NYT explains the situation well.

2. Revealing Your Unconscious: Part 1 (Shankar Vedantam / National Public Radio – Hidden Brain)

We do a lot of reading as journalists. Sometimes, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy a podcast. The latest Hidden Brain episode from NPR is a good one—it discusses hidden biases we all harbor in our subconscious. And, it promises a Part 2!

Top Student/Alumni Story

1. Lawmakers consider the financial impact of defining ‘male’ and ‘female’ (Elinor Smith / UM News)

J-School senior Elinor Smith (’23) is reporting for the UM Legislative News Service this semester. Her short piece that aired on Montana Public Radio brings attention to Senate Bill 458, which “…would define the terms male and female in Montana code.” Smith writes about some potential implications for Montanans if the bill passes. The piece is short (a one and a half minute listen), but it gives all the details readers need to know.

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