December 9, 2011

COLORADO — In keeping with the shifting publishing landscape, the award-winning magazine, High Country News has enhanced its print edition with two new digital products: The HCN digital edition and the HCN iPhone app.


A taste of early reader survey results include “This web-only app sucks. I much prefer just reading on the website to this crap.” …and “I will likely subscribe for a year to the digital edition based on this free look. Thanks. Keep up the good work.”


Like hundreds of media outlets across the U.S., High Country News continues to search for — and hone — ways to deliver its unique coverage of the American West to new audiences. While its nonprofit model is being emulated by many other publications and information websites, High Country News understands that the next frontier goes beyond print.


“No matter how great a publication’s content, if you’re not thinking mobile, you’re a dying resource,” says Mike Maxwell, HCN’s director of operations.


The decision to develop more digital access — besides hcn.org — was a hard one. HCN’s demographic is typically over 55 years old and not among the hottest digital information market. Armed with the sure knowledge that people are shifting the way they get information, High Country News carefully and thoughtfully set out to develop and implement a digital strategy that would reflect the “scrappy but smart” spirit for which the publication is renowned.


With limited staff and even less money, High Country News spent weeks looking for digital edition production software and settled on a little known company based in London. Yeah, nowhere near the American West.


The staff then turned to highly underpaid coders to help navigate the winding road of iPhone app development.


“Our long-term plan is to develop a mobile website, but who has $100,000 to spend on that at a time when magazines are folding all around us?” says Maxwell. “We’re getting our feet wet first, and we believe we’re on the right trail, even if it’s the longer way around.”


About High Country News:


For 41 years, High Country News has been renowned for independent journalism that goes just a little deeper and reports the stories of the American West that are often overlooked by larger media outlets.  


High Country News was founded in 1970 by rancher Tom Bell as a voice for environmental concerns in the West. Today, it is a respected independent news organization that has won numerous awards, including the George Polk award, for its unique coverage of the West.


For more information or to interview key staff, contact:

JoAnn Kalenak

Special Projects Marketer

970-527-4898 x19

[email protected]



Paul Larmer
Publisher, Executive Director
970-527-4898 x20

[email protected]


Mike Maxwell

Director of Operations

970-527-4898 x39

[email protected]
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