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Visits from students and an issue break


It’s starting to feel like autumn in Paonia. Breezes are getting crisper, ripe apples are dropping, and the aspen leaves are turning gold. The season has been busy here at High Country News headquarters, as we make some staffing adjustments.

Tay Wiles, our former online editor, is moving to the San Francisco Bay area, where she’ll be HCN’s associate editor, focusing on public lands and the Great Basin through on-the-ground reporting and special projects. Kate Schimel, formerly our assistant editor, will take the helm of the online operation as deputy editor–digital.

Now we’re in the midst of hiring a new assistant editor and another associate editor. Applications are pouring in, reminding us of the many wonderful readers and journalists who support us.

We’re thrilled to announce that Contributing Editor Jonathan Thompson has been recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists: He won first place for “outstanding beat reporting in a small market,” for his coverage of environmental and energy issues, including last year’s Gold King Mine spill. 

Former intern Lisa Song and her team at InsideClimate News won first place for “outstanding in-depth reporting in a small market” for their series “Exxon: The Road Not Taken.” Ana Maria Spagna, a frequent contributor to the magazine, also won an honorable mention for her book Reclaimers, which we excerpted in 2015.

Lots of visitors stopped in this month, catching the last days of Colorado summer. A group of University of Denver students toured the office and hung out with our editorial team. We had a great afternoon discussing what kind of stories they are most interested in and how they consume digital and print media. The students were intrigued by the writing processes we use for long-form and investigative stories, how we approach different audiences, and the role HCN plays in the larger environmental media landscape. Inspired by their thoughtful questions, we’ve anointed them HCN’s first focus group.

Mike Kusiek from Rapid City, South Dakota, made a pit stop here before continuing his motorcycle ride from Crested Butte, Colorado, to Moab, Utah. Afterward, he sent us Mark Woods’ book Lassoing the Sun, which he highly recommended. Janna Treisman, from Falls City, Washington, detoured through Paonia to buy some peaches while driving from Gunnison, Colorado, and re-upped her subscription while she was here. Thanks for showing us some love, Janna! Jim Furnish traveled all the way from Washington, D.C., to visit us while on his book tour. A subscriber since 1979 and Writers on the Range contributor, he brought a copy of his memoir, Toward a Natural Forest, which is about his Forest Service career. It was great to meet you all.

We’re taking our fall print break after this issue, so check out hcn.org for stories in the meantime. See y’all at the end of October!