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Colorado River
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The Western
Energy Boom

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the Rural West

Historical Background

The Country Life Commission

Story

Report: Energy Development in the Rural West


"An Unquiet Landscape: the American West's New Energy Frontier"  Watch the interactive video »
 

Introduction

Are Western States Getting Fair Return on Energy Development?

With sky-high energy prices driving new oil and gas exploration in the American West, states are struggling to keep pace with critical infrastructure and revenue policies. Working with Montana-based Headwaters Economics, The Rural West Initiative has published a comprehensive multimedia report, combining a rigorous economic and policy analysis with a 31-minute interactive video documentary.


In this Report:

Video Feature

An Unquiet Landscape: the American West’s New Energy Frontier


High energy prices have made advanced drilling technologies profitable, pushing drill bits into parts of the West once believed tapped out, and into new places once thought inaccessible. A look at three communities in North Dakota and Wyoming who find themselves at different stages of an energy boom. 
WATCH THE VIDEO »

Note: Our Annotated Video Player, Free and Open Source »

 

Research Paper

Benefiting from Unconventional Oil: State Fiscal Policy is Unprepared for the Heightened Community Impacts of Unconventional Oil Plays


As oil production from the Bakken formation continues to set records in North Dakota, the sheer pace and scale of the boom is still unfolding. The intensity of industrial activity in western North Dakota translates into mounting concerns about the ability of local and state government to respond to growing infrastructure needs and service demands. In short, the fiscal policies on the books in North Dakota and other states may be especially ill suited to unconventional oil plays.

READ THE PAPER »

 

Last modified Tue, 23 Apr, 2013 at 19:38

Report: Community Journalism in the United States


Data visualization of U.S. weekly newspapers in 2010, in white. View interactive map »

State of the Industry

Rural Newspapers Doing Better Than Their City Counterparts


In an era of precipitous decline for major metropolitan newspapers, rural journalism is surviving, even thriving, in the rural West and across the United States.  

READ THE STORY »

 

Historical Context

Did the West Make Newspapers, or Did Newspapers Make the West?


The history of newspapers in the rural West is one of crisis and triumph in alternation. Failure, and bouncing back from it, has been a tradition. And at a time when there is so much talk about the future of newspapers, this past is worth considering.

READ THE ESSAY »

 

Data Visualization

Mapping Journalism's Voyage West

With American newspapers under stress from changing economics, technology and consumer behavior, it's easy to forget how ubiquitous and important they are in society. For this data visualization, we have taken the directory of US newspaper titles compiled by the Library of Congress' Chronicling America project – nearly 140,000 publications in all – and plotted them over time and space. This visualization is also viewable as a series of video animations.

SEE THE VISUALIZATION » | WATCH THE VIDEO ANIMATIONS »

 

Last modified Tue, 30 Oct, 2012 at 9:57

Rural Newspapers Doing Better Than Their City Counterparts

Photo: John McChesney   

By Geoff McGhee

Walk in to a town council meeting in Pinedale, Wyoming, and you're likely to find as many as three local reporters scribbling notes and asking questions. That news in a town of 2,030 residents is covered by two newspapers and a website is partly explained by the abundance of mineral wealth in surrounding Sublette County, which produced $3.6 billion in natural gas last year. Add to that the urgent concern about breaching a local dam threatened by record snowmelt coming from the Wind River Range, and you've got a recipe for a small-town media frenzy.

This scene is also illustrative of how rural journalism is surviving, even thriving, in the rural West and across the United States, in an era of precipitous decline for major metropolitan newspapers.

Last modified Thu, 14 Jul, 2011 at 11:00