1. While binge drinking rises in Wisconsin, Marquette County defies state trends

    April 27, 2015

    Since 2013, SJN has partnered with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to share instances of exceptional progress and success in public health (known as “positive deviants”) using research and data produced at IHME. This weekly series highlights a timely example of positive deviance and shows you where has seen the most gains. We don’t, however, always know why such successes took place, which is why we look to journalists like you, in hopes that you’ll use these data as inspiration for stories. Run with the data. Report. Research. Find out how these countries are succeeding–and publish what you find with the world.


    Robert S. Donovan, flickr, Milwaukee, WI, 2009Perhaps it isn’t surprising that in Wisconsin, home of Miller Brewing and where bars outnumber grocery stores almost 3 to 1, rates of binge and heavy drinking are on the rise. In 2012, Wisconsin also had some of the highest rates of heavy drinking in the country.

    Yet this escalation of risky drinking didn’t hold true everywhere in state, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). While between 2005 and 2012, Wisconsin’s rates of binge and heavy drinking increased 4% and 15%, respectively, (and nationwide, rates increased 9% and 17%), Marquette County bucked both state and national trends.

    In 2005, Marquette County had higher rates of binge drinking (28%) than the state average (25%).By 2012, the county’s rates of binge drinking dropped 15% and fell below the state average, whereas Wisconsin saw a rise in binge drinking. A similar result emerged for heavy drinking (see table below).

    Marquette County table_Page_1

    So how did Marquette County do it? While we can’t know for sure, it’s possible that the county’s introduction of a new program in 2003, Healthy Communities Healthy Youth (HCHY), may have played a role. [Read more…]


  2. The Solutions Three: 7 hopeful climate stories from around the globe

    April 23, 2015

    Solutions Three small logoThis post is part of the “The Solutions Three” series, a weekly newsletter highlighting some of our favorite recent solutions stories across the media landscape. Our goal with the newsletter is to bring to you different, constructive takes on recent headlines–Where are community-police relations strong? Where is ebola being fought the most successfully? How are countries successfully preventing radicalization of their youth?–and to celebrate the journalists and publications doing fantastic reporting on responses to social problems. If you have recommendations for great solutions stories, send them to samantha at solutionsjournalism dot org. And to get “The Solutions Three” sent to your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.


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    7 hopeful climate stories from around the globe

    Center for Global Development, April 20
    Jonah Busch

    Forty-five years after the first celebration of Earth Day, there’s still plenty of environmental destruction. But successes have been plentiful as well, from Indonesia halving its rate of deforestation between 2012 and 2013, to Costa Rica getting 100% of its electricity the first 75 days of 2015 from renewable sources. Jonah Busch‘s aggregation links to some excellent solutions pieces. [1,015 words]

    [Read more…]


  3. The Solutions Three: Is there such thing as an affordable lawyer?

    April 17, 2015

    Solutions Three small logoThis post is part of the “The Solutions Three” series, a weekly newsletter highlighting some of our favorite recent solutions stories across the media landscape. Our goal with the newsletter is to bring to you different, constructive takes on recent headlines–Where are community-police relations strong? Where is ebola being fought the most successfully? How are countries successfully preventing radicalization of their youth?–and to celebrate the journalists and publications doing fantastic reporting on responses to social problems. If you have recommendations for great solutions stories, send them to samantha at solutionsjournalism dot org. And to get “The Solutions Three” sent to your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.


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    Is there such a thing as an affordable lawyer?

    The Atlantic, May 30, 2014
    Michael Zuckerman

    This year, tens of millions of Americans will bypass accountants, instead filing their taxes using affordable computer software. So why, Zuckerman asks, isn’t there a “legal equivalent of TurboTax” in the U.S.? Why has legal representation stayed out of reach for so many? And which websites are fighting the bar to make legal services more affordable, transparent, & accessible? [4,490 words]
    [Read more…]