Of Pulitzers and presidents
by Sarah Gilman
High Country News congratulates Dave Philipps, who covered the West's wild horse controversy for us in a 2012 feature story. In April, Philipps and the Colorado Springs Gazette received the Pulitzer Prize, newspaper journalism's highest honor, in the national reporting category for Philipps' investigative series, "Other Than Honorable." The three pieces "used Army data to show that the number of soldiers discharged for misconduct annually had surged to its highest level since 2009 at posts with the most combat troops," The Gazette's Rich Laden explains. "Some of those soldiers had come home with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, then committed offenses likely linked to those 'invisible injuries.' They then were denied benefits because their misconduct resulted in them receiving 'other-than-honorable' discharges." Writers like Dave are doing the kind of reporting that makes a real difference in the world. We're just hoping he has some more story ideas for us.
On her way from wilderness hiking to a Breckenridge wedding one April afternoon, Aimee Maxwell visited our Paonia, Colorado, headquarters. The neuro-oncology researcher at the Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, enjoyed contributing editor Sierra Crane-Murdoch's recent story on the Fallon, Nevada, cancer cluster and hopes we do more like it.
If the name Kevin Jones rings a bell, that's because HCN profiled Utah's former state archaeologist after he debunked the alleged discovery of the bones of Everett Ruess, the young writer who famously vanished in the desert in 1934. "It was clear just from looking at photos that the body was a Native American," Kevin explained, when he and Barbara Evert dropped by in April. The Salt Lake City resident has just published The Shrinking Jungle, a novel based on his fieldwork among Paraguay's Aché tribe.
Arizona reader Jason Himelstein called with a news tip and ended up regaling us with presidential imitations. "You know how at every party you go to, there's someone doing impressions, and they're usually not very good?" he asked. Well, Himelstein's aren't like that, because he's a professional: He plays Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan on The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated conservative radio program. Himelstein mustered his best "Bill" for a hypothetical HCN promo: "I read High Country News every morning," he drawled. "If you want to be informed about the West, you should read High Country News, too." We'll gladly accept a blurb from "Bill" any time.
Our April 14 story, "Touring Indian Country via Footrace," stated that Louis Tewanima set an American record in the 10,000 meter run in the 1912 Olympics, which held until Billy Mills broke it in 1964. And though that's been repeated for 45 years, even in Tewanima's 1969 New York Times obituary, it's not true. Tewanima did, however, become the only American to medal in the Olympic 10,000 meters, a distinction he held until 1964, when Mills won gold. HCN regrets the error.