A marketing tune-up

High Country News updates

  • Media experts Jay Harris and Phillip Smith visited High Country News in early December.

    Paul Larmer

Two sweater-vested media experts visited High Country News in early December: Jay Harris, the former publisher of Mother Jones, and Phillip Smith, who runs Community Bandwidth, a consulting company in Toronto that helps nonprofits make the most of the digital realm. Jay and Phillip were here courtesy of a generous grant from the Packard Foundation that is intended to help us improve our marketing of the magazine and online content. We'll be rolling out some new campaigns this spring based on their findings. Two of their early conclusions: HCN could get a lot more systematic about how it measures the effectiveness of its various efforts to find new subscribers, and no one else in Paonia, Colo., wears sweater vests.

Subscribers Jennie Wheeler and Delaney Sharp stopped by during a road trip from California to visit family on Colorado's Front Range for the holidays. At their home in Yosemite National Park, they don't have Internet or regular mail service, so they rely on High Country News for updates about what's happening around the West. Both work as outdoor environmental educators for the Yosemite Institute campus of NatureBridge, where they teach field courses for students from fourth grade through college. They even use maps and articles from High Country News in their lessons.

Former intern Lisa Song (winter 2010) was just hired as a full-time reporter for SolveClimate News. She'll also be helping the site develop its new multimedia section.

Michelle Nijhuis, one of our contributing editors, recently received a $40,000 grant from the Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship program. Patterson was editor and publisher of Newsday for nearly 23 years before she died in 1963. Fellows "pursue independent projects of significant interest and write/illustrate articles based on their investigations." We're excited to see the stories Michelle plans to produce over the next year, which will all follow a central theme: "The New Ark: Rescuing Rare Species in an Age of Global Change."

Environmental author William Robert Freudenburg died of cancer Dec. 28 at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif., at the age of 59. Bill was raised in West Point, Neb., and got his bachelor's degree at the state university in Lincoln. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in sociology at Yale. He spent a year in HCN's hometown, Paonia, doing research on oil shale and wrote his thesis on the boom-and-bust cycles of shale development. After graduation, Bill taught rural sociology and environmental studies at Washington State University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was the founder and president-elect of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences and held positions in other professional associations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He published his final book in November, through MIT Press: Blowout in the Gulf: The BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Future of Energy in America.

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