To save some money during these tight times, the High Country News Board of Directors held its late spring meeting over the phone and Internet on May 20. Thanks to the marvels of technology, including the tiny cameras in most of our computers, the experience wasn’t half bad. Board president Florence Williams of Boulder, Colo., kicked off the session with three key numbers to ponder: Three, 170 and 20. Three is the number of national journalism awards HCN garnered this spring (see the April 12 and May 24 “Dear Friends” columns for details); 170 represents the $170,000 budget shortfall we have experienced over the first seven months of our fiscal year; and 20 stands for the $20,000 readers contributed to HCN at the 40th Anniversary parties held across the West in April.
The overall message is clear: High Country News continues to produce award-winning journalism on a lean budget, funded largely by our generous readers, but we face an ongoing financial challenge due to the lingering recession and an information age that favors free Internet news over paid print subscriptions. Despite these sobering facts, the cyber-meeting was far from pessimistic. Board and staff feel confident that some of the financial shortfall will be gained back over the next several months through increased donations, a slight uptick in advertising revenue, and some smart belt-tightening. Web visitation and subscriptions are up, and the print subscriber base has actually increased 2 percent in the last year, so the magazine remains a viable format, despite computers, iPads and cellphones.
The meeting also featured an editorial discussion led by Managing Editor Jodi Peterson and Senior Editor Ray Ring, outlining their plans for bringing more great writers and stories to the magazine and Web site. Both are firmly committed to two HCN trademarks: solid coverage of the natural resource issues confronting the West, and surprising regional stories that just can’t be found anywhere else.
For all of you who have supported this enterprise through your subscriptions, donations, word-of-mouth marketing and constructive criticism, we thank you from the heart.
A four-star rating
High Country News recently received four stars from Charity Navigator -- the highest rating available from this independent charity evaluator, which rates nonprofits on their overall financial health and efficiency. Charity Navigator bases its ratings on “how responsibly (an organization) functions day to day as well as how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time.” Our Charity Navigator rating page is here.
Accolades for Auden
Former HCN intern Auden Schendler (’91) received an “e-chievement” award in March from eTown, a weekly radio program heard nationally on NPR and community stations. The program’s broadcasts combine music with conversation on themes of social responsibility and environmental sustainability.
Auden, the executive director of sustainability at Aspen Ski Co., and author of Getting Green Done, received the award for being “the driving force behind (Aspen Ski) company’s relentless environmental push, including developing the ski industry’s first climate policy and the first set of green building guidelines; establishing the first ski-resort supported Environmental Foundation; building the largest solar photovoltaic system in the ski industry and a hydroelectric plant to power some of its operations; and more.” Nice work, Auden.