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Know the West

High Country News names new Executive Director/Publisher

Greg Hanscom to lead award-winning, 50-year-old, nonprofit magazine covering the Western United States


Greg Hanscom

Greg Hanscom, a former editor-in-chief of High Country News who went on to work for news organizations from Baltimore to Seattle, has been named the new executive director and publisher of High Country News. He succeeds Paul Larmer, who has served as publisher since 2002 and will remain on staff as a fundraiser and writer.

“As High Country News turns 50 years old, we are incredibly excited to have such an experienced and passionate journalist lead our organization,” said Jay Dean, president of the Board of Directors, which voted enthusiastically for Hanscom after a national search led by Koya Leadership Partners. “Greg brings not only a deep love for the West and High Country News, but also a keen understanding of the challenges facing media in the digital age.”

Hanscom, who grew up in Park City, Utah, has had a wide-ranging journalism career. After leaving High Country News in 2006, he became the editor of Urbanite, a Baltimore-based magazine covering the many challenges facing that city. In 2011, he moved to Seattle, Washington, for a senior editor position at Grist.org, a pioneering nonprofit national environmental news organization, where he steered the organization toward deeper coverage of environmental justice issues. In 2015, he moved to Crosscut, a nonprofit startup focused on Seattle-area news. He served as editor-in-chief, and then executive editor, after Crosscut merged with KCTS 9, the local PBS station. 

Paul Larmer, Greg Hanscom and Cindy Wehling celebrate the launch of our last redesign in 2003.
HCN file photo

“I am so happy to be coming home to High Country News, and honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the next chapter,” said Hanscom. “A lot has changed since I left — the budget has about doubled, for one, and the editorial staff is now fully dispersed across the region — but at its core, HCN is still about fostering clear-eyed conversations about a place that we all love. It’s about telling the stories of the West, with its troubled past and present, and asking how we can build a better future.”

High Country News was founded in Lander, Wyoming, by a teacher, biologist and legendary activist named Tom Bell. This year, it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Today, HCN publishes a print magazine with 35,000 subscribers along with a website that reaches more than 3 million unique visitors annually. While the magazine has always been an important news source for environmentally minded citizens, it has steadily broadened its scope in recent years to include the complex social, economic and political dimensions of the West.

HCN has weathered the changes in the media landscape that have taken many other outlets under,” said Hanscom. “To survive in today’s news environment, you have to adapt and innovate nonstop. You have to create an atmosphere where respectful disagreement and candid feedback are encouraged, and where diverse talent and perspectives are nurtured and rewarded. This authenticity is imbedded deep within HCN’s DNA, and I look forward to building on this legacy with the staff, board and readers.”

High Country News’ mission is to inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the Western United States’ diverse natural and human communities by providing unblinking journalism on all the complexities of the region.

For more information, contact Paul Larmer at [email protected] or JoAnn Kalenak at [email protected].