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Whether you're a lifelong Idahoan or a transplant just now settling in, chances are you've probably had a moment or two like this:You're driving down Capitol Boulevard in Boise or camping along the Salmon River and you've seen something that makes you wonder, What's up with that?Maybe it's as simple as, "Why are there so many Abraham Lincoln statues in downtown Boise?"Or maybe it's more complicated, like, "What are the pros and cons of bringing the F-35 to Boise?" Wanna Know Idaho is a people-powered podcast from Boise State Public Radio's newsroom that is driven by YOUR curiosity. We can't make this podcast without you.Here's how it works: You submit your questions to Wanna Know Idaho. After we collect questions, we'll let the public vote on the one they want us to answer most. Then, a reporter will investigate the winning question and we'll share what we learn on the podcast.Let's get started! Share your questions below, and subscribe to the podcast here.00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff73380000

Reporter’s Notebook: Covering An Emotional Idaho Mine Project

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Monica Gokey
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Members of the public gather in McCall to learn more about a proposal to reopen and expand upon a mine in the West Central Mountains.

Major lands projects have a way of dividing people, and the proposal to resurrect the gold mine at Stibnite is no exception. 

During my reporting on the Stibnite gold project for Wanna Know Idaho, I spoke to a number of people who felt passionately that this was, or wasn’t, the right thing for the region. 

(You can listen to the full episode here.

This story took me to three public hearings, a geologist’s home, and a narrow sliver of beach on the Salmon River where a local resident told me his concerns about a large-scale mine upstream.

Wanna Know Idaho is a podcast that lets listeners ask a Boise State Public Radio reporter to dig into any question about the Gem State. A listener question on Stibnite received more votes for airtime than any other question in the program’s history. The question was largely voted for by people in the anti-mine camp.

I often encounter this recurring misperception about journalistic work: People sometimes feel that if reporters uncover the right facts, figures, or case studies -- some compass of fair and just decision-making will swing in a clear direction.

That’s seldom the case. 

For me, a successful story is one that builds mutual understanding between people on either side of an issue.

Getting this story right weighed on me heavily during the weeks I was pulling it together. As a resident of Cascade, I don’t get to hide from the pro-mine people or the anti-mine people. I see them at preschool drop-off, at book club, at the grocery store and the post office. It was utterly important to cover the story fairly to both.

In this installment of Wanna Know Idaho we aimed to demonstrate the value of a well-paying job in this region, while also giving voice to those who feel like a mine isn’t compatible with an area that’s increasingly defining itself by tourism opportunities. 

Four-and-a-half-minutes of airtime barely does justice to a story of this magnitude. But I feel confident we gave airtime to the big conflicts here -- uncertainty over whether a mining company can simultaneously do extraction and restoration, and whether a fragile watershed can withstand further disturbance.

I’m sharing a small bank of resources that were useful to me while reporting this story. I hope they’ll be useful to anyone looking to learn more about the Stibnite gold project.

AGENCY/GOVERNMENT

  • Public documents related to Stibnite filed throughout the NEPA process can be found here. Two good starting points are:

  • The City of McCall hosted three town-hall style meetings with experts on all sides of the proposed Stibnite gold project. Audio from all three events is on the city’s website here.

RESOURCES FROM THE CONSERVATION COMMUNITY

 

RESOURCES FROM MIDAS GOLD

 

OTHER NOTABLE MEDIA COVERAGE