Our new interns have arrived

High Country News is building a new team and correcting old errors.

  • Rebecca Worby and Emily Benson, the new HCN interns.

    Brooke Warren/High Country News
 

We’re happy to welcome two new interns to our Paonia, Colorado, headquarters, where they’ll spend the next six months learning more about reporting and writing.

Emily Benson’s lifelong love of water began in her childhood in New York’s lake-filled Adirondack Mountains. After earning her master’s in biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she worked in an aquatic ecology lab in Idaho, where she enjoyed “tromping through streams” and trapping fish. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program last spring and spent the summer interning at New Scientist magazine in -Cambridge, Mass.

At HCN, Emily is excited to bring her science background to bear on “deep, nuanced, contextually rich” stories. She’ll still get to tromp through streams, at least once the ice melts, but now she’ll get to write about it, too. In the meantime, she plans to cross-country ski as much as she can.

New intern Rebecca Worby just can’t seem to stay away from Paonia. She spent two month-long writing residencies at Elsewhere Studios, in 2012 and 2013, so this winter marks the native New Yorker’s third extended stay in town.

Rebecca, a graduate of Wesleyan University, fell in love with the West six years ago on road trips crisscrossing the region around her mother’s home in Santa Fe. Those wanderings inspired her graduate thesis in creative nonfiction at Columbia University, on the legacy of uranium mining in Moab. The project gave her a crash course on federal land agency operations, she says. It also sparked an interest in the tensions Western communities face as newer industries like recreation replace resource extraction, a topic she hopes to cover at HCN.

Rebecca has been writing from New York City in recent years, but she’s kept her eye on the West. She’s excited to dive into rigorous reporting on environmental issues, especially now: “There’s never been a more important time to be writing about the environment,” she says.

On Jan. 21, marches for human rights and women’s rights occurred throughout the West and the U.S., from urban centers like Seattle to rural areas like our own backyard here in Paonia, Colorado. Major gift officer Alyssa Pinkerton travelled all the way to Washington, D.C., from the Front Range (on her own dime, of course) to show her support: “Overwhelmingly, it was a powerful, loving and hopeful experience.”

At an after-work get-together on Inauguration Day, copy editor Diane Sylvain, who prides herself on her activist past, grimly warned the youngsters, “Just remember, you don’t want to be tear-gassed.” Unfortunately, Diane had a head cold, and Executive Director Paul Larmer heard it differently: “You don’t want to be cheery-assed? Why not?” Thereby reminding us all that communication is never easy, even if you’re on the same team.

Lastly, we have a correction from our Jan. 23 issue. Our story “While wolves still have names” stated that in Wyoming, wolves have been removed from the endangered species list. While they were indeed delisted in 2012, federal protections were restored in 2014. HCN regrets the error.