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for people who care about the West

Putting our tribal coverage to the ‘bingo test’

Fall is here, and HCN visits California.


September has been full of comings and goings. High Country News staffers enjoyed Labor Day weekend, hiking, relaxing and visiting friends and family across the region. And there have been plenty of exciting work trips, too. It seems like every time we welcome someone back, someone else jets off! Meanwhile, the office crew is looking forward to a publishing break. We’ll be back Oct. 30.

Zoe Newmarco from Rochester, Vermont, stopped in while visiting friends in Paonia. She interned at a newspaper back home and enjoyed watching how we put the magazine together. She’s not yet a subscriber, but we have hopes: Zoe left with a couple of fresh issues.

Mary Kwart of Ashland, Oregon, came through as a self-described “climate refugee” — after being smoked out of a planned hike on Montana’s Sacred Door Trail, she was on her way to a Buddhist retreat in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We’re sorry your hiking plans got derailed, Mary, but we’re glad you came by.

Longtime readers Pam McBride and Pete Fitch visited while on a multi-month Western road trip. Now retired, Pete worked in fire management for the Forest Service, and Pam writes grants for hospitals. Though they lived in the West for many years, they now live in Hawaii — our  “far-West bureau,” Paul Larmer, our publisher, quipped. (They didn’t drive here from Hawaii, of course; they keep a camper in Reno for just such trips. Smart idea!) They enjoy our coverage and find it refreshing to see “real journalism still in effect.”

Jamie Sudler and Frani Halperin, executive producers of H2O Radio, stopped by while reporting on youth and agriculture on Colorado’s Western Slope. Denver-based H2O is journalism all about water, a topic we love. Keep up the great work, guys! 

In our ongoing efforts to improve reporting across Indian Country, HCN sent three staffers — Brian Calvert, editor-in-chief; Kate Schimel, deputy editor-digital; and Paige Blankenbuehler, assistant editor — to the annual conference of the Native American Journalists Association in Anaheim, California. We learned a lot and were proud to work with HCN contributing editor and then-NAJA Vice President Tristan Ahtone on a new journalism tool: a bingo board that helps writers avoid stereotypes and clichés.

Lastly, we recently said a bittersweet “see you later” to Associate Editor Maya Kapoor, who has returned to her home in Tucson, Arizona, to work remotely after spending nine fun and educational months here at HCN headquarters. In a parting note, Maya thanked us for taking in “a wayward biology nerd” and teaching her the ways of HCN. It was our pleasure, Maya, and we miss your witty wordplay and healthy snacks already. Come back as soon as you can.