Welcome back to our weekly behind-the-scenes glimpse at what’s getting our team talking. Let us know what you think at [email protected].

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Driving change

In a school district in Wisconsin, there’s a good chance that the friendly bus driver welcoming kids as they hop on is a parent or family member of a current student. That’s according to a Spectrum News story shared by Executive Editor Will Doig about the small town of East Troy. When the district started having trouble finding drivers, it appealed directly to those who know the kids and their needs best. Now, as districts across the country grapple with bus driver shortages, East Troy’s routes are fully staffed.

will doig

Will says:


I’m not sure why, but this local news story struck me for its simple portrayal of how a small community can solve a manageable problem without a complex, top-down, programmatic fix.

Tech for health 

This week, Contributing Editor Peter Yeung brought us a story via Devex about new research on a long-awaited innovation in the world of birth control: biodegradable contraceptive implants.

In Indonesia, a family planning field officer checks a patient's blood pressure before contraceptive implant insertion.
In Indonesia, a family planning field officer checks a patient’s blood pressure before contraceptive implant insertion. Credit: Joko P / Shutterstock

Peter Yeung Peter says:


A while back I wrote about developments in male contraception. But while we’re waiting on that, it’s cool to see improvements in female contraception with clinical trials just announced for a biodegradable implant. Current implants in use must be removed after three to five years. But that can be tricky to access for women in low- and middle-income countries.

What else we’re reading

🗳️ A Transparent, Open-Source Vision for U.S. Elections — shared by Editorial Director Rebecca Worby from Undark

🗞️ Sprouts of Hope in a Gloomy Media Landscape — shared by RTBC Founder David Byrne from the New York Times

🌱 Wildfires are killing California’s ancient giants. Can seedlings save the species? — shared by Rebecca Worby from NPR

Elsewhere in our channels…

We frequently discuss the growing world of nonprofit journalism, which includes Reasons to be Cheerful. A recent New York Times story is pretty pessimistic about the state of media, but Will Doig points out that it does mention “signs of growth” in nonprofit news ventures. As Magda Konieczna, author of Journalism Without Profit: Making News When the Market Fails, tells the Times, “People talk about nonprofit reporting in their communities like it’s a normal part of the news ecosystem, not like it’s some outside force.”