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for people who care about the West

Spring board meeting, and swearing

A recap of the recent board meeting in Paonia, an update on our profanity policy and a correction.


In early June, just as Colorado’s miraculous May showers evaporated into dry summer heat, High Country News’ board of directors convened in Paonia. After updates on editorial work, circulation and fundraising, the board spent Saturday working with staff on a new strategic plan. We discussed both internal trends — the continued strength of the print magazine and the rise in online readership — and external ones, such as the boom in online media startups and the struggle to find financial support beyond advertising. (HCN itself increasingly relies on philanthropic dollars.) Overall, we’re doing well: Our paid subscription base continues to grow — more than 7 percent over the past year — and we maintain a balanced mix of revenue sources. But board and staff agree that HCN needs to be more widely read and have a louder voice in national issues, including climate change, energy development and water. That, however, requires more dexterity in the digital realm, and — as always — more money.

We said a sad “so long” to board members Wendy Pabich of Hailey, Idaho, Sean Benton of Missoula, Montana, and Lou Patterson of Longmont, Colorado, thanking them for their service and dedication to HCN. And many thanks to two local businesses — Ollie’s Ice Cream Shop and Revolution Brewing — for donating ice cream and root beer to the ice cream social that followed “Tug of War,” our panel discussion on local control of federal land.

Profanity Policy
It’s obviously been too long since our mothers threatened to wash our mouths out with soap, which explains why, as some readers have noted, a few recent stories have had a few too many four-letter words. We have since clarified our policy on profanity, and will include such words, in direct quotes, only when they are essential to a story’s meaning — as in last October’s “Defuse the West,” for example, where we quoted angry threats directed at federal employees.

In our cover story, “Dust to Dust” (6/22/15), we inadvertently relocated Molycorp’s Mountain Pass Mine; it’s between Baker and the Nevada border rather than Baker and Barstow, California. The subtitle of Spare Parts, reviewed in the same issue, should have read Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream. In our profile of John Podesta, “Monument Man” (5/25/15), a photo caption misidentified the Washington Monument as the “National Monument.” No snub intended, George.

“It sounds like an Easterner has infiltrated your ranks,” alert reader Jean-Pierre Cavigelli wrote recently, responding to a May 25 Heard around the West item about goldfish and pelicans in Boulder, which claimed pelicans are “usually found at the seashore.” White pelicans live and breed in the Interior West, Cavigelli wrote, adding, “Who started this myth that pelicans live near the coast, and why oh why is HCN perpetuating it?” Like the saying goes, “A little bird told us”; we just should have paid more attention to its T-shirt, which read “Greetings From Key West.”