« Return to this article

Know the West

A quick guide to your redesigned magazine

A fresh magazine for another 50 years of HCN.


“On the Road to 50” is an ongoing series of the publisher and editor's notes to our readers, as they travel the region and plan for our 50th anniversary – through community gatherings, individual meetings, and other listening sessions.

High Country News has turned 50. To celebrate, we’re bringing you a new magazine with a new schedule and a new look. Watch this space for more notes from the magazine staff on celebrations and observations throughout the year.

The January issue you hold in your hands is the product of two years of experimentation and hard work. In many ways, it’s also the product of 50 years of success. It marks a significant evolution of the magazine, not just in its look and feel but in its vision and breadth of coverage. It’s our 50th anniversary gift to you, our readers.

A vista in Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada.
Bob Wick / BLM

The West has become an increasingly complex place. With the new magazine, we will continue to cover the high country, even as we journey farther afield, bringing you stories essential to understanding the region as a whole. We want to inform, inspire and challenge readers to make the West a better place for its people, its wildlife and its landscapes. Today, that requires an understanding of the intricate relationships between environmental, ecological, cultural, social and political issues.

We are up to the challenge. Our aim with the new design and 16-issue schedule is to bring our in-depth journalism to a wider range of subjects and deliver it to you in a useful and beautiful magazine. Every month, you’ll find thorough coverage of the region, including Alaska, the Pacific Coast, tribal nations and the Interior West. You’ll see photographic stories that bring the Western U.S. to life and read features that emphasize storytelling to help explain what’s happening here. And you’ll read essays, criticism, perspectives and reviews exploring the ideas that spring from the West. Meanwhile, we’ve kept your (and our) favorite parts: “Heard Around the West” endures, but we’ve snugged it just inside the magazine, where you can still read it first thing or save it for dessert.

We’ve also added several departments. In “What Works,” we’ll highlight solutions to the region’s most vexing challenges. In “Facts and Figures,” we’ll analyze new and interesting data and other information troves to create a fuller picture of the region. “West Obsessed” will consider how the region impacts broader national trends. And on the back page, in “#iamthewest, we will honor, in their own words, people who are making a positive contribution to the West.

We hope this new approach will deliver all that you’ve come to expect from High Country News and more. We could not have done it without you, and we are committed to constant improvement in the years to come. Your suggestions are welcome; please email me at [email protected].

Thank you, and enjoy your new magazine!