Initial 2016 poverty guidelines + top 5 stories readers want + 7 reporting resources

News. The secret shame of middle-class Americans: 47 percent can’t cover a $400 emergency. The average 29-year-old lives with a partner in the suburbs – without a bachelor’s degree. Is ACA coverage affordable? Six perspectivesElection 2016. From Sanders: “Poverty is a death sentence.” From Paul: His poverty legislation is the “largest anti-poverty initiative since the War on Poverty.” AT&T reaches out to low-income Americans with $10 Internet service. Free college would help the rich, a new report says. The California air board should focus on low-income areas, lawmakers say. A $6 million project creates housing for veterans in Detroit. About 1.7 million Texas children live in poverty – and 50 percent are Latino.
(Culture commentary: Have you watched or participated in the conversation about Beyonce’s latest visual album, Lemonade? Even if this isn’t your usual coverage area or cup of tea musically, keep watch. This pop icon’s latest work has much to say about black feminism, pain & suffering and American womanhood. People are noticing the allusions to Malcolm X, Yoruba culture, Black Lives Matter and Southern disparity. And many white commentators are listening. I’m eager to see where this conversation goes this week.)
Data & graphics:
  • Preliminary 2016 poverty guidelines are out. The Department of Health and Human Services released its initial computations so we can take a glance. Across the board, numbers are bumping up.
  • Two-thirds of Americans say they prefer saving to spending, a Gallup poll says. Do we care more since the recession? And where’s the disconnect between intention and action?
  • San Francisco and Travis, Texas, lead the country in employment growth, the Census Bureau reports. Check out the numbers and the chart of the top 50 counties nationwide.
  • The labor market still isn’t ideal for high school and college graduates, says the Economic Policy Institute. Read the full report, including a special section about the gender gap. Out of college, women make $4 less per hour.

Reports & resources:

  • Lessons learned from 40 years of subsidized employment programs, a report by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty & Inequality. The report looks at 40 different jobs programs, detailing the effects on higher earnings, criminal justice/jail time and school success for workers’ children. Use the report for context or to take a deep dive on your local program.
  • #AHCJ16 coverage is still rolling out. Want ideas for uncovering the true cost of health care? How about cities in crisis and disparities in health? Find reporting tipsheets and “How I Did It” stories from health journalists. (I’m contributing a poverty + health tip sheet in the next month, in fact.)
  • Map the Meal Gap: The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research is taking applications for a grant that will fund research about the geography of food insecurity. Pass it along to your expert sources, if relevant, but also consider the premise – what is the county data/implications for food security in your area? Do your lawmakers have any innovative policies to address it?
  • Speaking of food insecurity, The Hamilton Project released a video conversation with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about policies to alleviate food insecurity.
Final thoughts. When we write stories about poverty + health disparities, what do readers actually read? In the past year, they focused on:
  • The Planned Parenthood controversy
  • The measles outbreak/vaccine debate
  • The Flint water crisis
  • Problems in the Veterans Affairs health care system
  • Higher prescription drug costs
  • The Zika virus
The Kaiser Family Foundation breaks down the numbers in a chart and commentary. How does your audience affect your editorial planning?
Carefully curating for you,
Carolyn Crist

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