Scary times in the neighborhood

Elections coverage and Halloween kept staff busy, even as we prep for our annual holiday soiree.


They do such good work, it must be magic!
Luna Anna Archey/High Country News

A stylish coven of witches took over our High Country News headquarters in Paonia, Colorado, this Halloween, but that wasn’t the scariest thing to happen in the past few weeks — Nov. 6, after all, was Election Day.

In the weeks before the midterms, our coverage focused on the role public lands and energy development played in races around the West. We also investigated the voter suppression tactics that were being employed to disenfranchise Native voters in North Dakota and minority voters in Arizona.

On the eve of the elections, some staffers watched the results pour in at a party in Paonia. Farther afield, at Seattle’s Arctic Club, Associate Editors Kate Schimel and Tristan Ahtone joined Assistant Editor Anna Smith to watch the results, with special interest in a ballot initiative that would have created the first carbon fee in the country. (It failed.) Smith and Ahtone provided live commentary as part of the first-ever Native broadcast of national elections — a collaboration between the media outlets First Nations Experience TV, Native Voice One radio and Indian Country Today. Really proud of you guys!

Elections aside, our editorial staff has been busy integrating into the larger community here at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, where an editorial satellite office is located. At the beginning of
November, Assistant Editor Paige Blankenbuehler led a storytelling lecture for a group of graduate students from the university’s environmental management program. Thirty students showed up to hear how HCN reporters turn broad themes and topics into narrative stories for our readers. Paige and Brian later joined editorial intern Elena Saavedra Buckley and fellow Jessica Kutz for a night of poetic analysis, reading Robinson Jeffers’ “The Roan Stallion” with Western’s David Rothman, who heads the university’s creative writing program.

Moving to Gunnison has been just one part of this larger period of experimentation for HCN. To learn more about all the exciting changes the organization is undergoing, read our annual report, released in October, online here. Here’s the short version: Our print and digital subscriptions are both growing, with the help of generous reader support. So a huge thanks to all of you, for continuing to believe in us and for spreading the word!

Our apologies to Stephen E. Strom, whose name we misspelled in our review of his new book, Bears Ears: Views from a Sacred Land (HCN, 11/12/18).

If you feel like celebrating HCN’s success — or perhaps blessing our enterprising reporters with the gift of investigative news tips — come on down to the annual High County News Holiday Open House on Dec. 6. The festivities run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at our headquarters, 119 Grand Ave, in Paonia, Colorado. See you there!

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