Get in-depth analysis and stay up to date on the wide, wild and wonderful West. West Obsessed is an audio series produced in collaboration with KVNF community radio in Paonia, Colorado, where the editors and writers of High Country News discuss stories about the American West and why they matter.
#35: A desert divided on the borderlands
The borderlands are a long-misunderstood region of the country, wrapped up in rhetoric and myth. In this episode of West Obsessed, Tucson-based Associate Editor Maya Kapoor joins Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert and Deputy Editor-Digital Kate Schimel to discuss the realities of the border, the communities along it and their intertwined ecologies and economies.
#34: The growing Indigenous resistance to drilling in the Southwest
In this episode of West Obsessed, contributing editor Jonathan Thompson joins High Country News editors Brian Calvert and Kate Schimel to explore the struggle of Navajo Nation residents, and others, to prevent more oil and gas exploration in historically important lands. Chaco Canyon holds cultural significance to several tribal nations and is also at the center of one of the richest oil and gas fields in the country.
#33: Indian Country's dual housing crises
Writer Julian Brave Noisecat join High Country News editors on the latest episode of West Obsessed to talk about the original victims of gentrification. Inside this story is an emotional tale of one Indigenous family's experience with structural inequities that affect the availability of housing in both rural and urban areas.
#32: The State of Jefferson's undercurrent
In the latest episode of West Obsessed, High Country News editors discuss a zealous political movement — a push for a 51st state — born from resentment of California’s liberal ‘resistance’ to Trump.
#31: 2017 in the West
Since President Donald Trump was inaugurated in Jan. 2017, he and his administration have been steadily undoing Obama-era protections, including designations of national monuments and rules designed to fight climate change. In the latest episode of West Obsessed, High Country News’ D.C. Correspondent Elizabeth Shogren, and editors Brian Calvert, Kate Schimel and Paige Blankenbuehler review some of the most important rollbacks that hit the West this year.
#30: The American alpine sublime
The Rocky Mountains have long been a source of inspiration and art. This is apparent in the works of the poet Belle Turnbull, who wrote about the mining camps of Colorado, the beauty of the mountains, and her life in the Rockies. In this episode of West Obsessed, High Country News Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert travels to Gunnison, Colorado, to discuss Turnbull, her work, and the questions it raises about modern wildness and the sublime with two professors from Western Colorado University: David Rothman, the head of Western’s creative writing program, and John Hausdoerffer, who heads the university’s environmental studies program.