Changing of the editorial guard

  • Team HCN includes (back row, from left) Managing Editor Jodi Peterson, Associate Editor Sarah Gilman and outgoing Editor in Chief Jonathan Thompson. On Skype from Montana, Senior Editor Ray Ring.

    Shaun C. Gibson

A couple of issues back, you may have noticed that High Country News was advertising for a new editor in chief. Jonathan Thompson has decided to leave HCN and Paonia in June and head out on a new adventure with his family, leaving the Four Corners region in which he has spent his first 40 years. Jonathan has done an admirable job of steering the editorial ship, and we are sorry to see him go; we will miss his keen curiosity, strong work ethic and unquenchable sense of humor. But we wish him all the best -- and we promise to keep him writing for HCN, no matter where he goes.

The advertisement attracted dozens of applicants from all over the country and even abroad. We sifted carefully through them and interviewed a few top candidates. But in the end, one option stood out as the best: Promoting from within the organization.

And so it's with great pleasure that we announce our new editorial team, led by Jodi Peterson. Jodi came to HCN as a mid-career intern in 2004, after 15 years as a writer and editor for Hewlett-Packard Corp. in Fort Collins, Colo. She has steadily taken on greater responsibility, editing news and feature stories, spearheading the conception and content of special issues, and expanding and diversifying HCN's intern program. As managing editor, Jodi now oversees the editorial staff and the content of the magazine and Web site.

At Jodi's side is Senior Editor Ray Ring, who first started writing for HCN 25 years ago. In addition to stints at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana, Ray served as senior editor in the Paonia office in the mid-1990s. Since 2001, he has been based in Bozeman, Mont., where he has generated a long string of award-winning feature stories. In addition to writing occasional stories and columns, Ray -- who will remain in Bozeman -- now oversees our feature story lineup, a duty that will allow him to use his deep knowledge of the West to track down and tell  the most compelling stories of our times.

Assistant Editor Sarah Gilman is our new associate editor. A graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., Sarah was an intern in 2006; we rehired her in 2008 after she worked as a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. Sarah will continue to oversee the front section of the magazine, and she will also take on more longer editing and writing assignments.

We are delighted to announce that our editorial fellow, Cally Carswell, will stay on with the organization through the end of September. She will continue to do everything from producing our new podcast and various multimedia features for, to writing news stories for the magazine.

We are always eager to hear your ideas for how we can improve HCN. Feel free to send e-mail to us at [email protected]

Congratulations, Michael!
A 2010 Pulitzer Prize was just awarded to former HCN reporter Michael Moss and other New York Times staff members for "relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.” "The Burger that Shattered Her Life” was published in The New York Times Oct. 3, 2009.

Michael was a staff writer for HCN in 1980-'81, when it was still based in Lander, Wyo. He then worked for the Grand Junction Sentinel, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsday, and the Wall Street Journal (where he was a Pulitzer finalist in 1999). Michael's winning article investigated an outbreak of E. coli infections from ground beef, focusing on a 22-year-old dance instructor named Stephanie Smith who suffered permanent paralysis and kidney damage after eating a contaminated burger.

You can read the story at

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