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KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West.

About Our 'Across The Great Divide' Reporting Project

Nate Hegyi
Mountain West New Bureau

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. 

“It’s a tumultuous year,” says Hegyi. “A pandemic grips the region and the economy is in freefall. But the voices of folks in the Mountain West’s small towns and rural communities are often unheard in regional and national media outlets. So we’re embarking on this trip to learn more about the region’s residents and to hear their stories.”

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, on a cycling trip through Washington State in 2018.
Credit Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau
Mountain West News Bureau
Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, on a cycling trip through Washington State in 2018.

The Mountain West is home to a quarter of the nation’s news deserts and, like much of the country, it’s enduring high unemployment, a surge in COVID–19 cases, as well as reckoning with a history of racism and police violence.

Hegyi will travel across four states in the Mountain West – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. He’ll begin his ride in the liberal college city of Missoula before winding down towards the small ranching towns of eastern Idaho; past Yellowstone National Park and down towards the Wind River Indian Reservation.

He’ll cycle deep into Wyoming’s oil and gas country and up into the mountain towns of Northern Colorado before ending his journey in Greeley.

We’ll read and listen to his regular reports as he speaks with folks who live in the frayed edges of rural and small town America – ranch hands, school teachers, oil and gas workers, wealthy retirees and tourism industry workers.

“This is an exciting and significant project for us,” says Kate Concannon, the Mountain West News Bureau’s Managing Editor. “What Nate hears will inform future reporting and help us connect the dots on some of the biggest issues facing our region ahead of the November election.”

People can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and on a specially designated “Where Is He Now?” map. He will also invite some of the people he meets to convene in online listening sessions after the trip. The sessions will be done in collaboration with the Local Voices Network.

Finally, the people Nate meets and the lessons he learns will be documented in a podcast set for broadcast in late October, 2020.

Do you have a story to tell Nate or want to follow his journey? Here’s how you can reach him:

Email: natehegyi@gmail.com or mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public MediaBoise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado and KUNM in New Mexico and affiliate partners across the region. It is also funded in part by the CPB.

This effort is supported by America Amplified, a 2020 community engagement journalism initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News

Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at nate@ypradio.org.
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