Two issues back, we invited readers to toss in their "two cents" about HCN’s coverage of the Bush administration’s environmental policies. We got about a million bucks in reply.
Readers from all over the West wrote in to tell it like it is. One writer announced that he would not renew his subscription because of what he sees as our "strident, anti-Republican tone." Another reader, hearing that someone had cancelled a subscription, sent us a check for $32 to make up for the loss.
Amid the hollering — and the humor — you’ve made many valuable, insightful points. The letters are so good, in fact, that we’ve devoted three pages to them. While the writers have a hundred different viewpoints, a few common messages come through clearly: You care as much about local, cooperative solutions as you do about what’s happening on the national level. While you don’t want us to shy away from controversial subjects, you want these subjects covered in an even-handed and thoughtful way. You count on HCN to provide all the information you need to make up your own mind about issues.
We hear you.
High Country News walks a fine line. We are journalists, first and foremost, but we also have an agenda. It’s spelled out in our mission statement: We want to "inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West’s land, air, water and inhabitants (and to) work to create what Wallace Stegner called ‘a society to match the scenery.’ "
With that in mind, we will continue to tackle the difficult — and often divisive — issues surrounding the policies coming down from Washington, D.C. These are stories that need to be told, and they are based on facts. At the same time, we’ll redouble our efforts to find new angles and perspectives on those stories. We’ll try to keep a close eye on the strong, and often inspiring, work that’s being done on the ground in the West. And we’ll keep Westerners and others who care about the region in the discussion — people who come from all political stripes and backgrounds.
Utah writer and photographer Steve Trimble has called HCN "the market square, the coffeehouse, the neighborhood bar, the student union, the primary forum for intelligent discussion of crucial issues" in the West. That’s how we view ourselves, too, which is why we’re so honored to air your views. High Country News wouldn’t exist without you, after all. It certainly wouldn’t be as rich without your wise, witty and sometimes biting comments.
The letters start on page 19. Thanks again for your two cents.
Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of High Country News, its board or staff. If you'd like to share an opinion piece of your own, please write Betsy Marston at firstname.lastname@example.org.