News briefs. Two years after Republican Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment painted him as a candidate with little sympathy for lower-income Americans, a number of Republicans considering a run for the presidency are talking about reducing poverty in the United States, says The Columbus Dispatch. At Illinois public hearings about poverty, residents speak up about making “enough money to get by but too much to qualify for help.” Washington Post’s Storyline talks about states with the highest level of homelessness. Based on a U.S. Conference of Mayors study released Monday, “U.S. Metro Economics: Income and Wage Gaps across the U.S.,” the nation regained the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession – but average wages dropped 23 percent. Also, as we know, there’s a widening income gap between the rich and poor, it says. This gap causes all sorts of living gaps related to transportation, education and job opportunities. In fact, poverty and pedestrian deaths are connected, and the DOT has proposed transportation legislation to address transit challenges in urban, suburban and rural communities.
Their two cents. We don’t usually feature editorials here, but I think it works well this week. “If the War on Poverty were to be brought to an armistice today, local officials say, the sad fact is that it appears poverty has won,” says the San Gabriel Valley Tribune editorial board, packed with local and national facts. The president of the Minnesota Senate talks about comprehensive reform helping women and economic inequality among genders. Also, is Airbnb a threat to affordable housing, particularly in New York, because it’s taking units off the market?
A story “how-to.” Thinking back to the last two news briefs, how can you cover transportation in your community? It’s related to economic development and jobs in a very real way, as well as health, education and financial services. What can’t your community access without proper public transportation? Can you use a scene to describe it for those who have a car – and can you use national and local data to show the serious dilemma? Think about your ideas as you read the Covering Poverty case studies under Economic Development and Income Divide. After that, check out the step-by-step tutorials related to Economic Development and Income Divide. Consider resources such as the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Federal Reserve System’s annual Survey of Consumer Finances. In addition, check out USAspending.gov, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Corporation for Enterprise Development for ideas. Can you find data, nab documents and use facts before turning to your local experts for thoughts?
Photo possibility. “Take a look around the panels of photographs and you will see what poverty looks like,” writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The AJC profiles – both in writing and photographs – “Profiles of Poverty,” an exhibit of 50 photos shot around the state and on display during August. It’s not just an event story. It’s an opportunity to explain a few brief facts about Georgia’s poverty to art enthusiasts, photographers and others considering a visit to the exhibit.
Final thoughts. The World Health Organization posed an ethics question today – Who gets the experimental Ebola drug? Two Americans and a Spaniard have received ZMapp for treatment, and now doctors in Liberia want a try. Who has the right to request medication, and when is it alarming experimentation that hearkens back to imperialist days?