Melody Kramer


27 Mar 2016 by melodyjoykramer

This newsletter is all about how people read and get their news in Wyoming.

The next newsletter will detail how you would collectively improve a calendar app. (Dozens of you wrote with suggestions.)

The next place we’ll look at local news in Alaska. I’m particularly interested in the Aleutian Islands. Know someone who lives there? Let me know and I can send you a set of interview questions to ask them.

Your feedback makes this newsletter better and I really look forward to sharing with you.


Wyoming: The Cowboy State

Basic Facts

Wyoming, the Cowboy State, is 126 years old. On the day that it received formal statehood, the Cheyenne Daily Sun’s headline read “A GREAT DAY.” About 580,000 people live in Wyoming over 97,093 square miles. (There are dozens of counties in the U.S. with a larger population than Wyoming. And young people are leaving the state in droves.

There are at least 44 daily and weekly newspapers published in Wyoming, excluding alt-weekies and speciality newspapers. (Originially, I had 15 but was sent a better link by CJ Baker.) The town of Buford - population 1 - made national headlines in 2012 after it was auctioned to the highest bidder.

My favorite news sources in the state are WyoFile, which covers policy, energy and natural resources, and Wyoming Public Radio, which has a natural resources and energy reporting initiative and some really great podcasts about news and public affairs and nature, among its over coverage. They also routinely publish one-minute-long audio snapshots of Wyoming, which I really love.

Newspaper Archives

The Wyoming State Library has historical archives for over 340 historic Wyoming newspapers stretching back over 150 years. I really like the editorial cartoon in the 1849 Chugg Water Journal out of Fort Laramie. You can also read a 1988 interview with Dick Cheney in the Wyoming Liberty Bell newspaper.

Social media

Five Wyoming reporters to follow on Twitter:


If you’re interested in following the energy industry, there are few better places to start than Wyoming. Benjamin Storrow writes the weekly Energy Journal for the Casper Star-Tribune. I really like the snapshot he paints of the industry: news and visuals, and easy to follow and understand. I also enjoyed the reporting from the Inside Energy team, which spans several states including Wyoming. You can use their interactive map to see Wyoming’s abandoned wells. You can also analyze natural resources data on a state-level mapping tool.

Some stats

Wyoming has the nation’s highest suicide rate. About half the state’s land in public land. The state’s unemployment rate is above the national average for the first time since January 2000, which the state senior economist attributes to low energy prices. (It was the largest unemployment leap over the past year.) The Center for Public Integrity ranks the state 49 out of 50. The number of oil rigs in the state is the lowest it’s been in decades. The amount of money that it might cost to clean them all up? $30 million.


I read a lot about wildlife in local papers. Mule deer are being outfitted with GPS tracking collars and their migration data is being uploaded every few days on this site. This bald eagle is 34 years old. Grizzly bears are coming out of their dens. There’s an entire speciality newspaper devoted to livestock. Yellowstone publishes a newspaper seasonally.

Collecting data

Wyoming has a crime called “data trespass,” which says a person is guilty if s/he “Enters onto or crosses private open land for the purpose of collecting resource data.” A good piece on this subject is by Gregory Nickerson, entitled “Data trespassing bill is aimed at public lands grazing battle.” (More from the Society of Environmental Journalists, which maintains a list of science and environmental journalism about Wyoming and neighboring states.)

Investigative and Good Reporting

WyoFile has a series of special reports. I read a year’s worth of reporting on “greater sage grouse and the efforts to keep the species from being listed as threatened or endangered.” I also recommend this deep dive into Wyoming’s Hispanic population. This profile of a new mosque in Gillette was a good read. A three-story greenhouse in Jackson supplies local produce.


Curious about what it’s like to live in Wyoming? Wyoming Stories captures oral history through the memories of those who live in Wyoming. Another podcast, from the University of Wyoming, examines hunting culture and fishing traditions in the state. And a diverse array of voices weigh in on proposed coal exports from Wyoming to states across the Northwest. (The podcast version.) One last podcast: Out There captures our relationship with nature and the outdoors.

Connie Ho interviews Micaela Myers

CH: Who are you and what do you do?

MM: I’m the editor of UWyo Magazine, the University of Wyoming’s flagship publication. I have my MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and worked as an editor for consumer magazines for 11 years before moving to Wyoming. I live in Laramie with my husband, my two children and our three rescue dogs.

CH: How do you get your local news?

MM: I mainly get my local news from following news stations such as Wyoming Public Radio, WyoFile, the Casper Star-Tribune and Cheyenne NewsChannel 5 on Facebook.

CH: If you don’t have high speed internet or know someone who doesn’t, how do you/they get their news?

MM: Everyone I know has high-speed Internet.

CH: What story are you following locally that more people should know about?

MM: I’ve been following Wyoming’s take on the Syrian refugee crisis for months and found this piece especially interesting. Wyoming is an energy state, so falling gas prices and a decline in the coal industry greatly impact our state (it’s not hard to find news on these topics in Wyoming).

CH: What’s the best thing about living in Wyoming?

MM: Do I have to pick just one? I love the lower population (no traffic, smog, etc.), the down-to-earth people and all the nature in every direction.

Robert Travis Moore discusses how he gets his news

Who are you and what do you do?

I am the Assistant Principal and Curriculum Coordinator at Rawlins High School.

How do you get your local news?

I get my news from the local paper, The Daily Times, the Radio, Bigfoot 99, and the internet. I used to get much of my news from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but they quit : )

If you don’t have high speed internet or know someone who doesn’t, how do you/they get their news?

The local paper and the radio.

What story are you following locally that more people should know about?

I follow many stories, but recently there has been some alleged theft from a local business and at the County Court House that I am following.

What’s the best thing about living in Wyoming?

The people here are wonderful, let alone the state is beautiful.

What’s the worst thing about the news?

I have grown tired of the spin on the news and every story is lumped in somehow to the current gridlock we have in DC. I would appreciate the facts and real investigative reporting.

Nick Andersen interviews Jordan Bishop

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Jordan Bishop, and I’m a student teacher at Natrona County High School in Casper, WY.

How do you get your local news?

I get my local news from one of the local newspapers and from my Facebook feed online.

If you don’t have high speed internet or know someone who doesn’t, how do you/they get their news?

The only person I know that doesn’t use internet for anything is my grandparents who live in Cheyenne, WY. My grandparents get their local news from their local newspaper.

What story are you following locally that more people should know about?

Well Wyoming is really going through an economic downturn right now. The price of oil has dropped significantly and coal production has gone down. This has a major affect as Wyoming relies on these resources for a majority of it’s sate funding.

What’s the best thing about living in Wyoming?

The best thing about Wyoming is that you can be in the prairie or in the mountains and be completely alone. In more populated areas like Colorado, you cant just get that.

What’s a weird thing about growing up in Wyoming that you wish other people knew about?

A weird thing about Wyoming is that we have a sense of community in this state. The state is so big and there is still this binding force between all Wyomingites.

What’s the worst thing about the news?

I think the worst thing is that there is so much distrust associated with the news. I don’t know how news media will change that, but I think that it is a big problem.

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