High Country News announced that it will establish a satellite editorial office in Gunnison for its digital editorial team in July. The Western magazine, whose headquarters have been in Paonia since 1983, will set up a new office in collaboration with the School of Environment and Sustainability (ENVS) at Western State Colorado University, assessing over the course of a year whether a more permanent move for the team is feasible.
"As High Country News continues to grow our subscriber base and staff, we are experimenting with ways to employ new communications technology to better cover the American West through satellite offices and telecommuting writers and editors," HCN executive director Paul Larmer said. "An office in Gunnison would allow us to capitalize on the innovations being made within Western's School of Environment and Sustainability. At the same time, we'll stay grounded in the rural West, which has always shaped the magazine's unique perspectives."
Western's School of ENVS has grown rapidly in recent years, more than tripling its faculty. Its robust master's program enables the school to serve up to 40 environmental organizations per year across the West through its rigorous, hands-on master's projects.
"We've taken note of Western's increased efforts to tackle the same big questions of the American West that we are, and we think having writers and editors in close proximity to the school will lead to a wide range of learning opportunities and capacity-building for our own growing organization," Brian Calvert, HCN editor-in-chief, said.
The expanded ENVS faculty team complements HCN with expertise in issues related to Western land and water management, climate action planning, and environmental justice. This growth has led to an expanded building for the school, designed with the HCN experiment in mind.
"Western's School of Environment and Sustainability is honored to engage in this experimental partnership between community-based university education and place-based journalism and writing," said John Hausdoerffer, dean of Western's School of Environment and Sustainability. "Imagine hands-on educators, faculty researchers, student masters project leaders, and thought-leading editors and writers wrestling together over the future of the West, from our campus at the headwaters."
The High Country News satellite office will be housed at Western, but remain independent from the university. The magazine's headquarters, which includes the print magazine production and business operations, will remain in Paonia.