Who receives ‘food stamps’ in the USA?

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NPR's Robert Siegel

NPR’s Robert Siegel

After the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $4 billion a year from the food stamp (SNAP) program over the next 10 years, NPR asked: Who receives food stamps and how would a cut affect them? Robert Siegel put those questions to Stacy Dean from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Here’s a link to a transcript of the interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=224152629 How effectively does this report put a human face on a program that helps 16 million Americans?


Meet David Johnson, Tribune columnist

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David Johnson has driven more than 1 million miles as a roving reporter.

The Lewiston Tribune’s David Johnson has driven more than 1 million miles as a roving reporter. Photo: Linda Weiford

David Johnson, who writes the weekly “Everyone Has a Story” column for the Lewiston Tribune, will speak to our class Monday, Sept. 16, in Room 316 of the Administration Building. In 1998, he was the subject of this profile in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/29/us/everyone-has-a-story-as-one-reporter-proves.html Please come prepared to ask David questions about his reporting and writing.

Background: Poverty on the Palouse

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Nancy Chaney

Nancy Chaney

Mayor Nancy Chaney convened the first Poverty on the Palouse forum Dec. 15, 2010. Over the past three years, a variety of government agencies and non-profit groups have discussed ways to address issues of hunger, homelessness and health care for low-income families. Mayor Chaney will speak to our class on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Here’s a link to additional background about this topic: http://www.ci.moscow.id.us/administration/Pages/poverty.aspx

How cuts in food stamps affect families


The New York Times used the struggle by families in Arkansas to put food on the their tables to illustrate the national debate over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as “food stamps.” How could this story be localized for Moscow and Idaho? We’ll talk about this in class on Monday. Be sure to view the photo gallery that accompanies the story.

Foreign correspondent visits class

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Andrea Vogt (center) with JAMM 327 students; her website is projected on the screen behind.

Andrea Vogt (center) with JAMM 327 students; her website is projected on the screen behind. She described her work as a freelance reporter based in Italy, covering breaking news in Europe.


Some benefits of being a reporter

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Reporters who visit my classes often describe the variety of assignments they cover. This is especially true in Moscow and Pullman, where a relatively small group of journalists covers a myriad of events and issues.  Visitors range from Nobel Prize-winning diplomats to world-renowned scientists to Olympic gold medalists.

Tim Steury, editor of Washington State Magazine, offered these thoughts in his First Words column in the magazine’s latest issue:

How else would one have the opportunity to have breakfast with an esteemed poet or lunch the same day with an equally esteemed winemaker? Or snorkel with a marine scientist? Or be granted insights of a dissertation on atomic culture while the dissertation is in progress? Or immerse oneself in a tale of obsession, scholarly collecting, and crime? And at the end of the experience? Guaranteed publication. Well, almost guaranteed. The result does have to be literate, correct, and engaging. Spectacular, even.”

He’s writing of his own experience and those of the writers on his staff. But the opportunity to satisfy one’s curiosity on an amazing array of topics is to me one the lasting rewards of being a journalist.

Online readers boost newspaper circulation

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U.S. media companies are cheering news that paid circulation has risen at major newspapers, including The New York Times.  The report by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the six months ending March 31 shows that online subscribers have boosted circulation figures.

In particular, The Times  has benefited from imposing a paywall, which provides some online content at no charge but requires a subscription for unlimited access. The Times quotes Caroline H. Little, chief executive of the Newspaper Association of America, who gave this spin to the report:

 We’re particularly gratified to note that newspapers’ embrace of digital platforms, as well as smart and efficient circulation strategies for print products, are reflected in the numbers, which clearly demonstrate positive trends in total circulation growth for publishers.”

The report suggests that readers are willing to pay for quality content online. But the larger challenge for news organizations will be replacing revenues lost when major advertisers started to abandon printed newspapers.

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