Park Record columnist
How ‘bout that bunch down at the Salt Lake Tribune pulling off a Pulitzer Prize so soon after rising from the ashes? How sweet it is!
To be sure, it’s a flaw in my character that has had my liquor cabinet doors flung open and volume knob on my in-house jukebox cranked since word first came down the grapevine that not only had the Trib’s demise been greatly exaggerated but that inherent corruptions within the operations of their collective nemeses been exposed.
Not that we should take joy from the fact that the Pulitzer Prize was awarded “for a string of vivid reports revealing the perverse, punitive and cruel treatment given to sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University, one of Utah’s most powerful institutions.” But some sort of rapturous response seems fitting.
What do you think? Would the Deseret News have latched onto that story with equal fervor had they been successful at removing the Tribune as a rival and publishing partner? And how about the Mothership of both now-tarnished entities, BYU and the News? Are equal celebrations currently underway at LDS church headquarters?
I am totally in awe of these young Journalists at the Trib, in fact of real Journalists everywhere — and not just because of the quality of their writing and thinking and organization. There is also the matter of zeal.
I am no more in possession of the required skill-set to be a working reporter than I am to embellish the cello section of a symphony orchestra. First of all, I am much too lazy to toil in fields of such high-end responsibility. Journalists aren’t allowed indolence at my level.
From my columnist associations going back to The Park City Coalition and The Newspaper, I’ve always felt honored that the respective reporters even knew my name. And those feelings remain firmly in place since I began hanging with the folks at the Park Record. I continue to be humbled by their friendship and the quality of their work.
To those Trump supporters out there who fell instantly in lockstep with the “fake news” and “alt facts” edicts of their fuehrer, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. If we are ever to emerge from our current morass, the journalism of our forbearers will no doubt play a lead role.
I should mention the editors that push and prod and, even, allow, such invasion into the power structures of their respective communities. You just know that, in a capitalistic society, they get heat aplenty from all sides!
Writers would find themselves in constant free-fall without the net provided by the editorial hierarchy.
Being a Music Director at a commercial radio station on the receiving end of regular visits from the Sales Department gave your humble scribe a peek into this world. That “ka-ching” you hear is the sound of employees who attempted to think on their own receiving indoctrination on the rewards of the “lowest-common denominator.”
I should also add that a couple of my best friends, Nick Snow and Scott Iwasaki, wrote both environmental and cultural copy for the Deseret News over the years. It’s been difficult on this end to equate the mindset of those currently running that paper with their, seemingly, more ecumenical approach of the past.
Anyway, I found a blissful irony in the somewhat recent tribulations suffered by the Salt Lake Tribune at the hands of the Deseret News and the subsequent awarding of a Pulitzer Prize to the former in what might be considered a logical theater-of-operations for the latter.
As I alluded to earlier, I am, indeed, quite flawed. But, at the same time, also quite proud of Utah journalism. The Trib has certainly raised the bar and print media button-busting doesn’t appear to be on the wane. We’re going to need just such a level of investigative reporting to continue, especially with our current congressional delegation.
So find the time in your current busy schedule to kick back with your favorite beverage and print edition newspaper. I find such traditions to be imperative. And, while you are at it, pass out “high fives” to everyone in the local news biz. They deserve our gratitude and respect.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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