HCN BOARD MEETINGThe fall meeting of the High Country News Board of Directors, held in Missoula, Mont., focused on the rapidly changing world of publishing, especially the growing prominence of the Internet as a news source. Web master Paolo Bacigalupi walked board members through our Web site, hcn.org, and explained our strategy for turning casual visitors into loyal readers. Our biggest pull is the 13 years’ worth of archived stories posted on the site: About 80 percent of hcn.org visitors enter through a particular story they’ve found via a Google search or other link. We also push the site with an every-other-week e-newsletter sent out to 11,000 addresses. (If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter, which features hot stories, blog items from HCN Northern Rockies editor Ray Ring, and essays from Writers on the Range, please contact Paolo at firstname.lastname@example.org.) The board also discussed our next big step — a thorough redesign of hcn.org that will likely take place in 2007.
A plan for increasing the diversity at High Country News was also on the docket. This summer, a team of board and staff members developed the plan, which includes tangible steps HCN will take over the next five years to better reflect the West’s variety of perspectives and people, both in the pages of the newsmagazine and in the organization itself. The board unanimously approved the plan, and we’ve posted the new Diversity Mission Statement online at www.hcn.org/about/diversity.jsp.
The meeting was peppered with interesting events. On Friday night, filmmaker Mark Harvey, an HCN board member, presented his latest effort, A Land Out of Time. The film delves into the gas-drilling boom in the West and looks at the people who are enduring it — and fighting it — on the ground, including HCN founder Tom Bell, former Forest Service supervisor Gloria Flora, New Mexico rancher Tweeti Blancett, and many more. A Land Out of Time was named "Best Environmental Film" at the Taos Mountain Film Festival on Oct. 7.
Lunchtime on Saturday featured an energetic talk by Betsy Hands, a vibrant affordable-housing and green energy advocate who is running for the Montana State Legislature. And a peregrine falcon named Sibley showed up at the Saturday evening reader potluck, perched on the wrist of Kate Davis. Kate is the director of Raptors of the Rockies (raptorsoftherockies.org), an educational organization dedicated to raptor conservation.
VISITORSRenate and James Fernandez of Estes Park, Colo., came in to say hello while touring the Rocky Mountains with some friends from Spain. They’re both anthropologists who go east each year to teach at the University of Chicago for three-month stints.
Amy and Chris Gulick popped in after visiting Aspen, where Amy gave illustrated talks about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Trustees for Alaska and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. The couple hails from North Bend, Wash.