New winter interns Evelyn Schlatter and Francisco Tharp will be the last set of interns to spend a four-month stint at High Country News. We've found that most interns spend the first month or so just figuring out what HCN is all about and where we keep the coffee. So, starting in June, interns will stay for six months, giving them more time to learn, write stories and enjoy helping run a small, independent publication. We'll also add a third intern to help us with multimedia projects. For details, see www.hcn.org/about/interns.jsp. A 15-year subscriber, winter intern Ev (rhymes with "Bev") was born in Albuquerque, N.M., and grew up in Salida, Colo. Most recently she was in Nashville, Tenn., where she taught history and anthropology at Columbia State Community College for two years. But the long commutes and her sense that recycling made her an "ideological minority" inspired her to return to the West, where she hopes to sharpen her writing and reporting skills at HCN.
"I want to put really complex issues into a package for people so they can go deeper with the issues," she says. "I'm a layer person. I like to see how Western politics, culture, economics and the environment interact."
Ev, a self-proclaimed "degree junkie still waiting for compensation," has an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico. Two New Mexico-set mystery novels, Land of Entrapment and State of Denial, which Ev classifies as "fluff with an edge," are due out this year under her pen name, Andi Marquette.
Glenwood Springs, Colo., native Francisco "Cisco" Tharp joins us as the result of the sinister machinations of former intern Michelle Blank, with whom he worked last summer as an Outward Bound instructor. Michelle handed him a copy of HCN with explicit instructions to read it and Cisco, as they say, was a goner, sneaking off from his studies at Colorado State University to devour back copies in the darkened recesses of the library stacks.
A writer from an early age, Cisco considered majoring in journalism, especially after a "most excellent" gig as the editor of his high school newspaper, but once at CSU, he fell under the spell of the English department and recently graduated with a degree in creative nonfiction writing and Spanish.
Cisco has wandered through Europe, Peru and Argentina. At HCN, he wants to learn the fine art of digging up bits of information and weaving them into tightly focused narratives that scream "read me." Following his internship, he hopes to freelance for HCN and other publications that cover Western issues.
After the Heard Around the West column reported Dec. 10 on the mysterious mushroom that grows underwater in streams, we heard from reader Claire Phillips. She reminds us that while Oregon State University confirmed Robert Coffan's discovery, credit for the find goes to Southern Oregon University, where Coffan works.