June ideas: 5 resources for data & evergreen summer stories

Off the heels of a holiday weekend, reporters often feel empty-handed as they head into a slower news season during the summer. Now is the time to stock up on evergreen story ideas. 
  • Where do low-income students go during the summer when their parents are at work? What camps do local groups (such as the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, schools) offer?
  • What do older, frail adults do during the hottest months in your area? Is there a special Meals on Wheels service that readers can donate time/money to deliver box fans or special visits to shut-in adults?
  • Are there special summer events that open up job possibilities for readers, such as city Leisure Services positions at parks, pools or festivals?
  • How do longer daylight hours correlate to crime and mischief in your area?
  • On the feature/service side, what day trips can readers on a budget take to enjoy a stay-cation nearby?
News. Appalachia plans for life beyond coal (part of a fantastic multimedia series). How much money you need to afford rent in every state. No relief in sight for minimum-wage renters in DC. And this great five-part series about affordable housing in Lawrence, Kansas. At college, less financial aid is going to the students who need it. And there’s another school bathroom issue for students who are minorities or low-income. In Massachusetts, the Senate is considering a merger for applications to MassHealth and food stamps. Unemployed Detroit residents are stuck in a digital divide. And a photo project highlight: Poverty is often looked at in isolation but is a problem nationwide.
5 resources for data & research: In the past week, the economy has pushed to the forefront of the 2016 Election. In addition, several data updates lend themselves to education, finance and housing stories:
  • The economy remains the top priority for the next president, Gallup reports. For 19 percent of American adults, it’s the single most important issue. Immigration, health care, defense and education are next on the list.
  • Oil and gas production is feeding wage growth in the U.S. right now, Pew says. But will it last? How is buying power improving in your community (several in Texas, North Dakota and Minnesota ) or decreasing in your community (several in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) for workers in these industries?
  • The Census Bureau updated new ZIP code statistics, including numbers about sales in several industries: arts & entertainment, education, health care, administrative and professional/scientific/technical services.
  • The nation’s report card: How does your state stack up? The latest reading and math stats are available from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the Urban Institute walks you through the data set with graphs, charts and interactive comparisons. Even if you don’t write education, check it out for the interesting information and presentation.
  • The fair housing and discrimination debate rages on this summer, and you’ll likely find potential for breaking or impactful news with this ongoing conversation. Follow the updates from the Poverty & Race Research Action Council for ideas.
Carefully curating for you,
Carolyn Crist

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