Accolades and some new roles

New interns and a fellow arrive, and our editorial staff continues to morph.


HCN is back after our summer break — and what a few weeks it has been!

First off, congratulations to our Tribal Affairs Desk, whose excellent work was recognized with 19 (!) awards from the Native American Journalists Association this month: eight first-place, nine second-place and two third-place awards, ranging from top features and environmental writing to best coverage of Native America overall. We’re extremely excited for the desk, which was established just two years ago to help HCN center Native voices for a Native audience, and we look forward to more award-winning work.

Meanwhile, HCN’s editorial staff continues to adapt as we work to deliver unparalleled coverage of the whole West. Maya L. Kapoor has been named associate editor of special projects, where she will focus on editing and writing science stories and overseeing essays, reviews and perspectives. Paige Blankenbuehler is now associate editor, overseeing the coverage of Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.

Jolene Yazzie, Helen Santoro and Kalen Goodluck during the recent editorial staff retreat in Gunnison, Colorado.
Luna Anna Archey/High Country News

We are also thrilled to welcome three new faces: editorial interns Jolene Yazzie and Helen Santoro and editorial fellow Kalen Goodluck, whose work you’ll be seeing in these pages soon.

Jolene grew up in a small town in Arizona called Lupton — Tsé si ani in the Diné language. After receiving a B.A. in visual communications from Collins College in Phoenix, she worked as a graphic designer for a variety of newspapers, including the Santa Fe Reporter and the Navajo Times. Since she was little, Jolene has loved capturing moments through photography, but it wasn’t until an HCN photo assignment not long ago that she decided to be a photojournalist; she’s now pursuing a journalism degree at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Jolene also creates amazing comic art that celebrates Native American women as warriors.

Helen says her love of journalism emerged from her earlier scientific pursuits. After graduating from Hamilton College with a degree in neuroscience, she worked at Boston Children’s Hospital, researching pain and the human brain. There, she found that she loved writing about science more than doing it, so she got a master’s degree in science communication at University of California Santa Cruz. She has a cranky 13-year-old cat and probably the only dog in the world that’s a picky eater.

Kalen is Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Diné from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before joining HCN, Kalen interned with NBC News’ investigative unit, where he reported on the medical device industry. He also dug into right-wing extremism through a project with Type Investigations. Kalen attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he grew to love writing and graduated with a degree in human rights. He also earned a master’s degree in journalism at City University of New York. When not reporting, he enjoys eating s’mores by the campfire.

Finally, we have a correction from “The Columbia River treaty, six decades later,” (HCN, 7/22/19). Under the treaty, the U.S. sends hydropower to Canada, not the other way around. In the same issue, “Development in Bozeman and the basin” claimed a population of 112,000 for the city. The population is actually less than 47,000. We regret the errors. 

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