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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from an interview about news consumption habits to a feature story on how gerrymandering amplified the interests of the right.
Sarah Elizabeth Charles conducts members of the Sing Sing Resident Ensemble.

Sarah Elizabeth Charles conducts members of the Sing Sing Resident Ensemble.

A rundown of five of our most important and timely stories from the past week.

  1. Ginger Strand was born and raised in Michigan, but the state has changed significantly since she moved away almost two decades ago. As a result of partisan redistricting initiatives led by the Republican-controlled statehouse, Michigan has gone from a centrist swing state to a stronghold of the right. Read Strand's feature here.
  2. "People kept saying to me, 'You gotta do something on fake news,' and I thought, it's such a bigger issue than that." Alison Head co-authored a new report on the media habits of almost 6,000 college students that reveals some stunning aspects of how the digital age has affected young people's news consumption habits. She spoke with contributing writer Jack Denton about her team's findings. Read Denton's interview here.
  3. "Prison culture can be hard on one's humanity, what with gangs, getting high, and gossiping about prison's pecking order (this guy's a rat, that guy's a rapist). Yet I've observed how music can restore what's missing in prison: a respect for humanity." John J. Lennon, an inmate in New York's Sing Sing prison, writes about how music can restore humanity for the incarcerated. Read Lennon's story here.
  4. It's well documented that domestic abuse can have a devastating emotional impact on survivors, but what's less talked about is the economic impact it can also have. Contributing writer Natalie Pattillo break down about a new report that shows how significant the financial damage can be for people with abusive partners. Read Pattillo's piece here.
  5. Early this week, President Donald Trump fanned the flames of the ongoing debate between farmers and environmentalists in California over what to do with the state's water. Trump claimed that California has "so much water they don't know what to do with it," and that it "naturally flows" to farms, but the government "sends it out to the Pacific Ocean." As staff writer Kate Wheeling outlines, most of his claims were wrong. Read Wheeling's piece here.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive early access to feature stories, an ad-free version of, and other benefits.