Reporting

The Catalyst Journalism Project emphasizes experiential learning through courses on solutions journalism and investigative reporting. Student work leads to published stories, not just hypothetical class exercises.

Published solutions journalism:

Out of Focus: Oregon’s elderly are killing themselves at an alarming rate | By Kelsey Harnisch, Megan Yarck and Kiva Hanson
Oregon’s elderly population has the highest rate of suicide in the state. According to data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, the suicide rate for Oregonians aged 65 and older is nearly twice as high as the rate for young people.

Oregon schools failing on suicide prevention: Survey shows high schools across the state use widely differing approaches to help students in need | by Ariana Sinclair, Sravya Tadepalli and Michael Tobin
Catalyst surveyed the 10 largest districts in the state, as well as the biggest school district in every county not already represented by the survey. In all, Catalyst asked 40 districts for the teaching plans they used to discuss suicide prevention with high school students. The districts’ responses to the survey revealed a wide discrepancy in how schools across the state teach students about suicide.

The Broken System: Lane County ships the homeless and mentally ill to the state hospital without a trial | by Gina Scalpone and Emily Goodykoontz
Increases in substance use and mental illness among the homeless are not unique to this area — other cities are facing the same challenge. However, our findings raise a serious question: Why has Eugene and Lane County been sending more and more defendants to the state hospital and doing so at such an alarming rate?

A City in Need of a Solution | by Taylor Perse
EW searched around the country for cities that have pursued creative ideas to help people with a place to live and are now carrying out efforts with proven track records. As we learned, no program is perfect, and every community faces its own challenges. We zeroed in on three communities where leaders have been able to do what ours in Eugene have not: make a meaningful difference for the homeless and the broader community.

OR Solutions for #MeToo
Kathryn Thier’s winter term solutions journalism course investigated ways to combat sexual assault.

CCare affords students flexibility with contraception | by Ariana Sinclair
CCare provides free contraceptive care to people at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, giving eligible UO students more flexibility in birth control options and the freedom to choose the care that works for them.

Unequal Penalties | by Brandon Taylor and Asia Zeller
Local schools suspend and expel special education students at twice the rate of their peers. One district is trying to change that.

The Bond Project: Creating a safer drinking environment | by Casey Miller
The Bond Project is a joint effort between the UOPD, DOS and Bond to create a safer drinking environment for students.

Sharps Kits, Syringes and Solidarity | by Sierra Webster
HIV Alliance and Trans*Ponder provide clean needles to people who inject hormones.

Oregon Promise: How Oregon makes college possible for low-income and first-generation students | by Ryan Nguyen
The Promise is a state grant that can pay a portion — or even all — of a student’s tuition toward one of Oregon’s 17 community colleges.

UO’s science literacy program cultivates scientific curiosity | by Becky Hoag
The UO Science Literacy Program (SLP) strives to improve science literacy by providing instructors and graduate students with effective teaching methods.

A new adjustment | by Austin Willhoft
International Community Voices at UO focuses on building a closer relationship among non-U.S. individuals through weekly group therapy while fostering a community.

Family Business: How a community organization in Lane County helps Latino families grow their own food and businesses | by Brittany Norton
How a community organization in Lane County helps Latino families grow their own food and businesses.

Homeless Youth on the RAN | by Morgan Theophil
15th Night, RAN (the Rapid Access Network) and the application of technology to help homeless youth in our community.

Courting the Ones Who Need It | by Kaylee Tornay and Brittany Norton with additional reporting by Sam Felton and Natalia Riccardi
The Eugene Community Court seeks to support rather than sentence. Eugene city and court officials decided to implement this program to support frequent offenders with their underlying needs rather than punishing them repeatedly.

2016 Solutions Issue of OR Magazine | 2016 OR Magazine team, led by editor Sami Edge
The 2016 issue of OR Magazine uses a solutions journalism approach to report on issues and how Oregon is working to address those issues.

Cannabis as a Treatment for Veterans with PTSD | by Haley Rivet
As cannabis becomes easier to access and legal in more states, growing numbers of veterans are using marijuana as a treatment for the symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Grow for Vets, a national nonprofit with chapters in Eugene and Portland, aims to reduce the number of veteran suicides and drug overdoses by promoting cannabis treatment over the use of opiates.

Engendering Equal Education | by Zach Silva
In early 2016, both the state of Oregon and the Obama administration released an unprecedented set of rules enforcing equal access for transgender students in educational facilities. But before this topic saw nationwide legislation, similar policies had gained momentum in Eugene. A policy adopted in Eugene’s 4J school district has been creating safe spaces for transgender students from kindergarten through high school, and gender-inclusive programs at the University of Oregon have marked the school as a national leader in LGBTQ acceptance.

Coexisting with Carnivores | by Haley Rivet
Wolves and ranchers have a long history of conflict. Ranchers need to protect their animals and wolves need to eat. The historical solution to the conflict was to kill the wolves. But wolves are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Their presence supports biodiversity by controlling the overgrazing of elk and other prey species. The disappearance of wolves from an environment has extensive implications, making them a keystone species. Today, modern wolves and ranchers are figuring out how to coexist.

Against the Grain | by Erin Hampton
A gender gap between men and women spans many of the nation’s economic sectors. Women farmers make up a relatively small share of the U.S. agricultural workforce. However, when compared to the rest of the nation, Oregon sits well above the national average. More than 300 women around the state participate in Oregon State University’s Small Farms networks for female farmers. The farm networks are not the reason there are so many female farmers in Oregon, nor do they reach the whole farming population. However, for women who participate, farm networks have made the path to success in farming more viable by providing access to mentorship and supportive tip-sharing with other women.

Tackling Teen Pregnancy | by Corinne Ellis
During the past seven years Oregon has put in motion a plan to reduce teen pregnancy and improve the quality of sexual health education in public schools. This plan was introduced in 2009 as a concept of what sex education could look like. Just three years after the plan was created, the rate of unplanned teenage births among females age 15-19 in Oregon had dropped from 4.8 percent to 3.2 percent.

Published investigative reporting:

An Unsuccessful Solution | by Taylor Perse and Morgan Theophil with contributions from Kenny Jacoby
City officials claim Community Court has brought about big changes in the way Eugene treats the homeless. The court’s own numbers tell a very different story.

Zones of Silence: Local officials still won’t discuss poor oversight of enterprise zones | by Michael Tobin

Big Corporate Handouts with Little Oversight: Enterprise zones give nearly unsupervised tax breaks to Lane County businesses | by Michael Tobin

Rod Adams’ Crime: Homelessness | by Morgan Theophil

Legislators Consolidate Power, Cash, in Partially Invisible Cycle of Giving to Each Other | by Cooper Green
An investigation into Oregon’s campaign finance laws and the financial transactions known as “pass-throughs.”

Nothing to See Here | by Kenny Jacoby and Morgan Theophil
As a follow-up to the Criminalizing Homelessness story, this report considers the role of the mayor and City Council in helping to make police records available and in mitigating homelessness. 

Criminalizing Homelessness | by Kenny Jacoby, Kaylee Tornay, Francisca Benitez, Victoria Ganahl and Thomas Rivers
This data-driven story shows that the unhoused are disproportionately ticketed in Eugene. 

A System of Neglect | by Kelly Kenoyer, Kenny Jacoby
This story revealed abuses in senior care facilitates across Oregon and gaps in the state’s regulation, including small civil penalties for serious cases of abuse and neglect. 

DEQ Has Oregon in Hot, Dirty Water | by Carl Segerstrom, Katherine Smith and Erin Carey
The reporters discovered that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality was years — and sometimes — decades behind in renewing water pollution permits granted to major companies and municipal sewer agencies. The result: The state allows companies and cities to operate under outdated environmental standards and pour wastes into Oregon rivers already so polluted they violate federal Clean Water standards.

Putting Oregon’s Records Law to the Test | by Kira Hoffelmeyer and Russell Wilson
This story examined the weaknesses of Oregon’s public records law using an innovative approach. The reporters asked for all the emails among members of the Attorney General’s Public Records Task Force, which by then had been meeting for six months without any progress. Their story revealed wide disparity in compliance and understanding of the records law even among the people who had appointed to help fix it. It turns out the task force members least reluctant to comply with the records law there the three representatives from the news media.

Taxpayer-Subsidized Biogas Plant Underperforms, Asks for Massive Tax Break | by Wes Franco and Jonathan Bach
The students’ examination of deadbeat taxpayers in Lane County revealed a company that had received millions in state tax subsidies but now was refusing to pay its property tax bill. The students used land records and state tax court documents to present the story.