Dear Friends

  • Former HCN intern Katie Fesus, front left, and a group of California high school students at an outdoor adventure and literacy program in the Sierra Nevada



We’ve recently gotten exciting news from some former HCN interns. Patrick Farrell (summer 2005) just landed a job as a video journalist at the New York Times.

Katie Fesus(fall 1996) now teaches English at Lake Tahoe’s Sierra Nevada College and directs ARC (Adventure, Risk, Challenge), an outdoor adventure and literacy program for high school students who need help learning English.

Michelle Burkhart (fall 2005) recently won two awards from the Colorado Press Association for her reporting in the Gunnison Country Times, including a first place for a feature story on Biloxi, Miss., after Katrina. Emma Brown (fall 2005) was just accepted to the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California-Berkeley. She joins Brett Wilkison (winter 2006), who’s in the second year of the program and recently returned from a trip to China where he was reporting on sturgeon and biodiversity.

We hope all our former interns will join us in Paonia on Saturday, June 9, for the first-ever intern reunion. Stay tuned for details.


The HCN annual reader survey and Research Fund appeal should have recently hit your mailbox. Completed surveys (and checks) have been pouring in. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed. If you haven’t returned your survey yet, please do so soon — we really do read all of them.

Here are some excerpts from the last reader survey:

 “Make the issues longer … more stories” (We’re trying; we’ve put out six issues in the past year that are heftier than the usual 24 pages.)

 “We are concerned that as HCN begins to cover ‘non-environmental’ stories, it risks breaking up the diverse coalition of people who have traditionally supported it ... people of moderate and conservative outlook who share a concern about Western land, economy, wildlife, communities, etc.” (We think the West is best understood by acknowledging that environmental topics have a social and cultural context.)

“I love your newspaper. Look forward to taking it to bed each month.” (Sure, but then you never call.)

“More Latino and tribal stories.” (We’re actively working on making our stories and contributors more diverse.)

“More examples of successful headway in solving environmental issues.” (We’re tired of bad news, too. Let us know of any bright spots we’ve missed.)

“Really can’t think of how y’all can improve upon your perfection. Just keep it up.” (Thanks. We really do try.)

—Jodi Peterson for the staff

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