Featured News, Siskiyou

How Do Publisher-Editors Choose Feature Writers?

A Feature on a Feature Writer – William E. Simpson II

It’s a fact the decent writers are hard to come by, just ask any publisher or editor. And good writers are not cheap. 

Many have asked, here is the statement for my earning that I made on Yreka News FB Page for the month of February 2024.

And in a small market, like Siskiyou County, finding good local writers who understand the lay of the land so to speak, is even tougher. 

But that’s not to suggest that William Simpson is making the grade at Siskiyou News just because he’s in a small market with little competition. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. William has tallied over 500 published articles at numerous media outlets, including 45 articles just at Siskiyou News.

And the best part about William is that he has been providing his work without charge, in the public interest!

An interesting example of William’s work is the history of one of Baja’s famous marinas, Marina LaPaz

Simpson’s extensive array of articles for print and online media outlets serve subjects ranging from natural resource management, to sailing, and even the disaster preparedness markets, such as the Prepper Journal, and others.

GovTech is another publication with one of Simpson’s early articles (2012) citing the value of disaster preparedness, which is now quite popular: Why Emergency Managers Shouldn’t Alienate Preppers (Opinion)

After appearing on National Geographic’s hit TV show, Doomsday Preppers, William was offered a lucrative book contract (‘The Nautical Prepper) from Ulysses Press, a $50-million/year publisher of non-fiction books, including school textbooks. 

Note: The segment with Capt. William E. Simpson II begins at the 24-minute mark (second half) of the video below. 

Watch Doomsday Preppers Season 2 Episode 15 A Fortress at Sea Online

Some people may recall that William wrote 38-articles for Western Journalism and their millions of readers, starting nearly a decade ago. 

Since then, they changed their name to ‘Western Journal‘ and a few years back, they dumped hundreds of articles to make room on their servers. 

All but one of William’s articles survived that change, an article from 2018 titled ‘Wildfire Battle: Environmentalists Double Down on Letting Forests Burn’.    Wildfire Battle: Environmentalists Double Down on Letting Forests Burn 

In that article, William takes no prisoners when dealing the extremists who are killing our Nation via the destruction of our infrastructure and natural resources.

A review of that Western Journal article shows that William’s articles were just as hard-hitting back then as they are today… that’s his style.  And clearly, many of his editors (including me) realize that most readers appreciate Simpson’s unvarnished, sometimes uncomfortable way of explaining the hard truths that other writers shy away from. 

Media outlets that carry William’s articles range from Europe to New Zealand, and locally in many western states, such as these examples:

Colorado: Pagosa Daily Post: William E Simpson II – Pagosa Daily Post News Events & Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado

Nevada: Sierra Nevada Ally William E. Simpson II, Author at Sierra Nevada Ally

OregonCapital Press:

1) Commentary: Nature’s dams on the Klamath River blocked fish for millennia

2. Commentary: What the public needs to know about Klamath River dams

So, what else do we really know about William? 

Well, during my research on the Klamath Dams, I started finding lots of his older articles, appearing at many outlets covering the natural history and value of the Klamath River Dams, along with other topics that detailed his knowledge on many other subjects. 

There was an entire series of articles and interviews by Dr. David Sparks at the Agricultural Information Network. In those articles, Dr. Sparks a PhD, referred to Simpson as a “savant” and “brilliant”. 

But was Dr. Sparks merely being nice? Or was there merit to those statements? I started digging deeper and the more I dug, the more I found…

It seems Simpson spent his formative years growing up on the family ranch south of Grants Pass, Oregon near Murphy Oregon and the Applegate Valley. He was a member of Future Farmers of America (FFA). And his first project as a ‘green-hand’ was a trout pond.  His trout pond project won him the FFA ‘Star Green-hand’ award. In a box of mementos William’s mother left behind when she passed, William found some of his blue ribbons from his FFA steer projects and the Star Green-hand award-pin from the FFA that his mom kept for over 50-years. Like many moms, she was sentimental.

         William and his father at the ranch. circa 1965

William’s father, a combat veteran (82nd Airborne – WW2 Europe) passed away at the age of 52 of a heart attack, when William was 19, and was buried in the old Pioneer Applegate cemetery in 1972. His mother, Rose, ultimately couldn’t keep-up with the mortgage on the ranch and it was sold-off and sub-divided. Rose passed in 2005 and was buried in the old Gazelle cemetery.

William graduated from Grants Pass High in 1971, and attended Oregon State University as a science major. He was also a 2-year varsity letterman on the OSU Judo team. 

He left OSU in his third year to pursue a career in aviation and as an inventor-entrepreneur. Before leaving OSU, he worked as a research assistant on several doctoral thesis projects ranging from agricultural research to biology.

In 1982, Simpson went back to college and graduated from Lane Community College with an undergraduate degree in science. 

Simpson went through advanced flight training in Florida and became a commercial-instrument multi-engine airplane and helicopter pilot, with turbine ratings. Simpson started numerous businesses in Hawaii during the 1980’s, one of which was an aviation charter service providing tours of Haleakala Crater on Maui and delivering cargo to outer islands. Simpson also owned and operated sailing, diving and fishing charter boats, among other island-based businesses. 

William founded and was the CEO of several companies based upon his patented inventions and concepts. And was considered a successful businessman.

In 2002, William was awarded the prestigious America’s Free Enterprise Legend Award, which had been awarded to corporate business leaders at some of America’s major corporations.

Simpson also graduated the maritime academy as a merchant seaman and was later sworn-in as a United States Merchant Marine Officer, with a United States Coast Guard commission to operate commercial sailing, motor and steam passenger carrying vessels and towing vessels. 

Simpson has a record of volunteer public and community service: In the mid-1990’s William served as the captain of a Christian medical missionary vessel for 2-years, and did that for a stipend even though he had existing opportunities to make over $150K annually. 

During his time in Hawaii, he participated in a U.S. Coast Guard Search and rescue mission (1987), and was presented with a rare written commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard Commander of the Honolulu Sector for his part in helping to save the lives of two men lost overboard in heavy seas. That rescue had Simpson sailing out into heavy weather that had other captains seeking safe harbor. 

Later in Simpson’s maritime career, in 2010, when Simpson was sailing with his wife (Laura 1955-2019 – RIP) in the Sea of Cortez, he organized and participated in a daring high seas rescue for an American sailor lost overboard in hazardous seas. That story was carried by two outlets, including by the satellite communications company, Iridium, who monitored the radio communications during the rescue. 

Of course, some readers in Siskiyou County are aware that Simpson was the volunteer local knowledge advisor to CAL-FIRE Fresno commanders for 9-days during the Klamathon Fire on the critical Camp Creek fire-line defending the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and several homes and ranches. 

Simpson’s wife Laura also refused to be evacuated so she could support William and watch-over the wild horses they had come to love and care for. Laura passed-away some months later as a result of deadly toxins from the wildfire smoke.

Many regional and national media journalists have come to recognize Simpson as a practical voice for natural resource management, and when he’s not doing ranch chores or studying his herd of horses and teaching others, he’s taken the time to grant numerous non-paid interviews to help people outside Siskiyou County to understand our traditions and stewardship of the land. 

Simpson believes that ranchers are some of the best conservationists on the land. 

As I Googled Simpson’s name, interviews with NBC, ABC, CBS, the Guardian, the Atlantic, Global News, Philanthropy, NPR, The Dove, and others popped-up. And in those interviews, William stayed true to his longstanding position that most ranchers love animals and take care of their lands. He’s also true to American wild horses, the native stock that helped build America and fight our wars. 

I’ve met and interviewed William and it’s true, he has some old-fashioned values, but that’s not to suggest he’s stuck in the past.

William was a former hunter, but quit when he learned about the collapsing deer and elk populations in Oregon and California many years ago. William was also an avid big-game fisherman, but no longer has the time due to his responsibilities as the volunteer executive director of Wild Horse Fire Brigade, an all-volunteer IRS accredited nonprofit with a goal of reducing catastrophic wildfires via the use of large-bodied herbivore grazers, including the American wild horse.

William is fond of fishing for big-game using light tackle and catch and release. Here, William is angling a marlin using a trout rod and reel.

William and his son (William III, left) sight fishing for Rooster Fish using quads on the Baja coast.

As the publisher and editor of the Siskiyou News I believe that writers with both academic and diverse life experiences provide the best quality content for my readers.  

William is one of those writers.

Luck of the Irish,
Jay Martin – Publisher – Editor – Siskiyou News

One Comment

  1. Kristi Lawrence

    Great article about Bill. He is certainly a multi talented guy. I am very happy that he has been here in Siskiyou Co and has helped so much with the opposition of the dam removal. He has been a blessing from God for us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *