The University of Utah’s College of Humanities is partnering with the award-winning Great Salt Lake Collaborative to give students real world journalism experience.

The groundbreaking collaborative includes a dozen local news organizations as well as science and education institutions. Founded in 2022, it has helped local news organizations to undertake more solutions-focused journalism about the crisis at the Great Salt Lake, and then elevate that work to all Utahns via shared publication.

Since the collaborative was formed, partners have published more than 300 stories. And over the last two years, Utah lawmakers allocated $1 billion toward water issues, including to protect and preserve the lake.

In this new partnership, GSLC will exclusively work with the College of Humanities capstone reporting class, “Voices of Utah,” in which seniors and juniors cover diverse beats and underreported issues, and will learn alongside the journalists in the collaborative.

“This is the kind of partnership with immediate and lasting benefits for the news reading community, our students, and to a community that is greatly invested in the future of the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding environment,” said University of Utah College of Humanities Dean Hollis Robbins.

The project and capstone class will launch in January 2024 under the guidance of Department of Communication assistant professor Marcie Young Cancio, who also serves as Amplify Utah's executive director.

Reporting from existing collaborative partners will be shared with students in this class, and journalists from The Salt Lake Tribune, Fox13, KSL, Deseret News, KUER, UPR, The Ogden Standard-Examiner and others — covering TV, radio and digital media — can join students in class.

Students will publish original journalism to better inform and engage the public about the crisis facing Great Salt Lake. This work may be published across the 12 collaborative media outlets. Students, for example, can participate in community listening sessions, write a newsletter, publish journalism across digital and social platforms and receive mentorship from full-time journalists with TV, radio and digital news organizations.

“This will be a great opportunity for students to learn how to cover the issues that Utahns will confront for years to come — drought, climate change and explosive population growth — through the lens of the Great Salt Lake,” said GSL Collaborative Program Manager Heather May. “And students will help the collaborative understand how communities surrounding the lake are affected by its decline and what information they want and need.”


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