February 21, 2013: The Dickinson Press provides a bit of background to this story.
A national magazine criticized in 2008 for running a story about North Dakota’s abandoned farm houses is covering the state again.
This time, in an ironic twist, National Geographic sent a crew to cover the growth of the state, specifically in the Bakken region.
The story, titled “America strikes oil: The promise and risk of fracking,” graces the cover of the March 2013 edition. Its photos were shot by Eugene Richards, the same man who photographed abandoned farmhouses for the January 2008 edition that sparked widespread derision from North Dakotans.And then this:
It’s the second time this month a national publication has prominently featured the boom in North Dakota. The cover story of the Feb. 3 edition of the New York Times Magazine was, “Luckiest Place on Earth: In the belly of the boom in North Dakota.”
It’s a far cry from the 2008 National Geographic article profiling North Dakota’s abandoned farmhouses and ghost towns, a piece called “The Emptied Prairie.”
That story prompted a furious response from many in North Dakota who though it was unfair. For instance, Sen. John Hoeven, then the state’s governor, criticized the coverage as “way off the mark.”
Original PostA reader provided this link.
From the March, 2013, issue of National Geographic, a photo-journal of the Bakken (again).
At the end:
Meanwhile, for a generation to come, and maybe longer, plenty of jobs will be available for roughnecks, construction workers, and truck drivers. To someone like Susan Connell, riding a roller coaster of mini-booms is better than the alternative. Besides the money, even though it fluctuates greatly, and the pride she takes in what she does, she says there are intangibles she’s come to value. “I’m on a well, it’s night, I’m alone.” Stars overhead, gas flares in the distance, maybe the far-off cry of a coyote. Connell’s standing on the catwalk, high above the ground, opening the hatch on a tank of clear salt water that came from thousands of feet beneath the surface, in the middle of the continent. She leans forward and breathes deeply. “It smells just like the ocean,” she says.Wow, such nice writing. The alliteration (coyote, Connell, catwalk; the metaphor of the roller coaster of mini-booms; the verbal painting of the night-time scene.) I wish I could write so well.
So many story lines, not least of which, the job opportunities opening up for women in the Bakken. Glass ceilings are being broken along with pay caps.
NoDaks will know exactly what Ms Connell is talking about: the solitude of the North Dakota night. Even with the Bakken, that's not going to change. One just might have to drive five more miles from Williston, or three more miles from Watford City. If you think otherwise, check out Vern Whitten photography.
Folks don't realize how big the Dakotas are; most folks also don't know how little geographically of North Dakota is actually impacted by the Bakken. Four western counties in North Dakota are getting the "brunt" of the Bakken; five or six additional counties are seeing increased economic activity, but outside of that small area, not much has changed. If anyone has any doubts, put a video camera on the hood of your F-350 and drive from Grafton, ND, in northeast North Dakota, to Bowman, ND, in southwest North Dakota, via Devils Lake, down through Carrington, to Jamestown, south across the state line to highway 10 in South Dakota, and then meander over to Mobridge, South Dakota, before angling back up on highway 10 back into North Dakota and eventually unto highway 12 into Bowman. Until you get to Bowman you won't see any wells, and you won't see any rigs.