Contributing Editor, Books, Culture and Commentary (Part-time, contract)

Contributing Editor, Books, Culture and Commentary (Part-time, contract)

High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in print and online. This contract editor will work independently to acquire a combination of reviews (books, film, TV, podcasts, performing arts) and essays, as well as culture and arts coverage and criticism. The Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary will help evolve and expand HCN’s coverage of museum exhibits, artists and artisans, gardens and food, music and literature, with an emphasis on commissioning work by and about people from underrepresented backgrounds. If you are passionate about the Western US and like working at the intersection of media, the arts, culture and the land, we would like to hear from you.


The Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary will be steeped in the literature and art being generated in the rural parts of the West as well as its cities, informed about forthcoming works and upcoming events, and have unique insight into artistic endeavors that seek to question myths and articulate the realities of living in the West in the 2020s. This editor will be dedicated to diversifying the artists who are represented in the media as well as those who cover culture and the arts; able to recruit talented writers and critics, deliver polished copy, and write compelling display and social copy; and will be an excellent writer themselves. We are looking for an out-of the-box thinker who can expand HCN’s efforts to interrogate the ideas that drive the culture of the West and introduce our readers to the people and works that are pushing new ways of thinking about our region.


This is a great opportunity for a thoughtful editor to join our fun-loving, hard-working team in publishing stories that capture the diverse cultures, ideas and ideals, myths and realities, long-standing dreams and critical tipping points at play in the West.


The Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary will work under the general direction of the Editor-in-Chief, and duties will include:


  • Assign and edit an average of 2-3 short (~2,400 words total) print stories per month (reviews, essays, culture coverage) or equivalent.
  • Contribute an occasional story and/or assign and edit occasional culture coverage for the web
  • Keep the pipeline for reviews, culture and commentary full, planning several months ahead
  • Independently manage, review and respond to pitches
  • Screen publisher catalogs and ARCs to identify books for potential review
  • Attend monthly editorial and line-up meetings, plus other meetings on occasion


High Country News is part of a growing number of newsrooms working to address a historic lack of representation, inclusion and equity in journalism with effective solutions. We welcome applicants from all life experiences and encourage members of traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to apply, including people of color, women, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people.


General terms: This is an independent contract position requiring an average of 20 hours per week that pays $2,400 per month. The position is remote and open to freelance workers authorized to conduct business in the United States; proof of independent contractor status is required.  This is not a full-time position and does not include employee benefits such as healthcare, paid sick leave, vacation or employer contributions to taxes and insurances.  Freelance contractors must provide their own equipment and insurance. A one-year contract will be offered and is potentially renewable.


The High Country News editorial team is dispersed across the Western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary should either live in the West or be very connected to, and within, the region.


To apply, please send a résumé and cover letter explaining what HCN’s reviews, culture and commentary coverage would look like under your editorship, and how you’d bring diversity to bear on the work to [email protected] with “HCN Books & Culture” in the subject line. The closing date for applications is December 15, 2021. In your email, please let us know how you heard about the position.


Background: High Country News is the nation’s leading independent source of thoughtful, in-depth reporting on the Western United States. Established in 1970, HCN produces an award-winning monthly magazine and a popular website, along with email newsletters, special reports, books and events. From Alaska and the Northern Rockies to the Desert Southwest, from the Great Plains to the West Coast, HCN is a beloved and essential resource for those who care about this region. HCN is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities.

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