November 9, 2005

John Mecklin named HCN editor in chief

Paonia, Colorado — High Country News, the award-winning news magazine of the American West, announced today that John Mecklin has been named editor in chief. He succeeds Greg Hanscom, who left the news magazine earlier this month after five years in the top editor spot.

“I’m excited to have someone with John’s experience in the editor’s seat,” says publisher Paul Larmer. “The new energy he brings to our long tradition of independent in-depth journalism will, no doubt, build on the success we’ve had under Greg Hanscom.”

Since 1993, Mecklin has edited alternative newsweeklies — first New Times in Phoenix, and then San Francisco Weekly. There, he specialized in groundbreaking investigative stories.

“Fallout,” a multi-part series he edited, covered the checkered and often frightening history of the Hunters Point Shipyard. The Navy wanted to hand the shipyard over to the city of San Francisco for residential and commercial development. But 13 months of reporting and a mountain of declassified documents revealed that the Navy had used the shipyard to do all manner of experiments with highly radioactive material, and left a mess that it didn’t dare to look at, much less clean up. The stories stopped the development proposal in its tracks, says Mecklin, and won “many of the nation’s most prestigious journalism honors, including the George Polk Award and an Investigative Reporters and Editors certificate.”

Mecklin says he’ll focus on finding stories that are in keeping with HCN’s traditional coverage. “High Country News is really good already,” he says, “and it’s just poised and waiting to be that much better.”

A graduate of Indiana University, Mecklin holds an undergraduate degree in psychology with concentration in English literature and a master's degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Mecklin got his start in journalism in 1978 as a reporter for the twice-a-week Williamson County Sun in rural Texas. Later, as a reporter for the Houston Post, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and Iraq to cover the first Persian Gulf War.

Mecklin was born and raised in Hammond, Indiana.

About High Country News
High Country News is a bi-weekly news magazine that reports on the West's natural resources, public lands, and changing communities. Covering 11 western states, from the Great Plains to the Northwest, and from the Northern Rockies to the desert Southwest, High Country News is a respected source for environmental news, analysis and commentary on water, logging, wildlife, grazing, wilderness, growth and other issues changing the face of the West.

The 38-year-old news magazine has been interpreting the West since its founding in Wyoming by rancher and environmentalist, Tom Bell. Now published from Paonia, Colorado, High Country News is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

Thirteen years of HCN’s journalism can by found on its Web site, www.hcn.org.

970-527-4898 x19 OR E-MAIL joann@hcn.org.