Expert Commentary

Here are our 10 most-read posts of 2019

As we wind down 2019, Journalist's Resource is counting down our 10 most-read research roundups and articles of the year.

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As we wind down the year, we’re counting down the most-read Journalist’s Resource posts of 2019 — articles and research roundups we published (or significantly updated and republished) in the past year.

After you revisit the year’s most popular posts, please think about the subjects you’d like us to cover in the future. You can reach out to us on FacebookTwitter or via e-mail at We’re looking forward to working with, informing and supporting you. We have a hunch 2020 is going to be a big news year.

Here are JR’s most-read posts of 2019:

#10. Should states ban religious exemptions for student vaccinations? Researchers weigh in

Denise-Marie Ordway highlighted three recent academic studies that suggest banning religious exemptions might not be the most effective way to improve childhood vaccination rates. In fact, the research indicates banning these exemptions could backfire.

#9. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour: What the research says

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, the Journalist’s Resource team is combing through the Democratic presidential candidates’ platforms and reporting what the research says about their policy proposals. Clark Merrefield kicked off this series with this piece about the federal minimum wage.

#8. New economic research resurfaces debate about the link between legalized abortion and crime reduction

Merrefield highlighted new research by economists John Donohue and Steve Levitt, who find that legalized abortion following Roe v. Wade accounts for 45% of the decline in U.S. crime rates over the past three decades. (Some other economists are not convinced.)

#7. What Game of Thrones tells us about ourselves: A GoT research roundup

“Game of Thrones” isn’t just a cultural phenomenon — it’s an academic one too. Academics have analyzed GoT from many angles — race, history, politics, gender and power, and linguistics — to find out what a fictional show based on past events can tell us about our real present. Merrefield dug into recent GoT research.

#6. Black men 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police, new research estimates

A black man in the U.S. has an estimated 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police during his lifetime, according to a study published in August by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Merrefield explained the findings.

#5. Prince Harry in Afghanistan: Miguel Head shares the story of a historic media blackout

For 10 weeks in late 2007 and early 2008, hundreds of news organizations agreed to embargo a big story:  Prince Harry had been deployed to Helmand, Afghanistan, serving with the British Army. Miguel Head sat down with Carmen Nobel to share the inside story of how and why a cutthroat press kept a major secret about a beloved public figure.

#4: The health effects of screen time on children

Chloe Reichel’s research roundup looked at the effects of screen time on children’s health. The studies she included range from childhood to adolescence and focus on topics including sleep, developmental progress, depression and successful interventions to reduce screen time.

#3. What the research says about border walls

Border security remains a newsy topic. Ordway’s roundup of research focused on what border barriers are, why they have become popular, whether they actually help countries control their borders and how they affect the environment and local communities.

#2. Cutting through the clutter: What research says about tidying up

Early in 2019, thrift stores across the United States were inundated with donations in the wake of Netflix’s January 2019 release of “Tidying Up,” a series starring Marie Kondo, professional organizer. Is tidying really that beneficial to well-being? Reichel looked into the research on the benefits of decluttering.

#1. The four-day school week: Research behind the trend

To save money and help with teacher recruitment, a growing number of public schools across the United States are taking Fridays off. Ordway gathered research on the benefits and consequences of four-day school weeks.




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