The veteran journalist Felicity Barringer introduces the Center's news blog, & the West, which will feature reports, interviews, and analysis on the future of California and the North American West.
Photographs, clockwise from upper left: Paul Serrato; California Department of Water Resources; Geoff McGhee; Bill Gracey via Flickr; California Department of Water Resources
Welcome. You have just clicked your way to our blog, & the West, which is a new offering from Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West.
Our posts will be of the West, for the West and by and about the people and lands of the West. We will report, we will seek comments and conversation, and we will post opinions from all corners of the arid West, the wet West, the West of the Pacific and the West of the Arctic. Much of what we talk about will focus on rural outposts. We will also post about ideas and issues and people from Canada and Mexico.
Many subjects will be part of our title. These will center on the places and the industries, the environment and the workplaces and, most of all, the people for whom the West is home. We care about all the things that have made the West what it is, and all the things that are changing it into what it will become.
Water & the West
Water – its politics, and its science and value will always be a central focus, as will the development of groundwater governance in California. There are many different academic and non-profit research institutions whose work will be a foundation of our articles on water. But with water, as with every other subject that comes into our lens, we will often use people and their lives to explain the impact of the science, the policy disagreements or the cultural changes the region is undergoing.
Landscapes & the West
We will approach these as works of art and a focus of policy disputes over what should be done with them and who should decide. Our sources will be policy specialists, environment experts, geologists, artists and more.
Native Nations & the West
The rising spirit of Native Nations, best shown in Standing Rock, is having an impact on places across the West, where so many Native Nations began. We will be looking at their cultures and the tools — both actual ones and legal ones — being used to preserve them and their fights.
And there will be more. Ranching and the West. Mining and the West. Fire and the West. Health and the West. Fish and the West. Trails and the West. Poverty and the West. Horses and the West. Trains and the West. Forests and the West. Grazing and the West. Migrants and the West. All the things that are part of the West are of interest to us.
Where Research Meets Journalism
We want to be a place where research findings about geology or sociology blend with our journalism about the world of the West, to give a multi-dimensional picture of the region’s life and issues. We will also introduce, and constantly update, a library of links you can use to explore the subjects we cover.
Us and You
“We” is not just a few of us at the Bill Lane Center for the American West. “We” includes you – your comments, your criticisms, your ideas for coverage, your own stories. We will usually be giving you new offerings every week, using both the written word, images of the West, and digital deep dives into the maps and data that describe the West. We don’t know what, exactly, we will be discovering as we go, but we want you with us as we figure it out.
More to Come
Our first effort examines the deeply disputed proposal for President Obama to declare a new federal monument in southeastern Utah, under the Antiquities Act. To find out when new posts are available on the blog, follow us and @westcenter on Twitter, or join our & the West mailing list.