Two Steps Back
Far be it for us to say what daily newspapers should do. But we can say what they shouldn't. Let's talk podcasts and the state of affairs for The Salt Lake Tribune. Like most newspapers, the Trib has been woefully behind the curve as readership relentlessly moves to more exciting platforms. But now it's jumping into the podcast world seemingly in a frenzy of desperation. Its latest, Agree to Disagree, had pretty much nothing new to offer from two voices better "heard" in print. Mormon Land might be better, although it aims at a pretty specific audience and again tries to turn the best reporters into talking heads. An analysis of podcasting from NiemanLab makes a few good points: Keep episodes creative and surprising and use them as "a vehicle to get stuff we might not otherwise be getting into." And let's not forget: "Good content will drive people."
Since we're talking about platforms, let's move to videos, some of which are pretty good. Take The Hinckley Report, for instance. While again not always using polished talkers, it touches on controversial topics. A recent report took on the gerrymandering issue. Utahns, according to polls, like the idea of an independent advisory commission on redistricting, and in a pass to the woeful Democrats, Matt Canham of The Salt Lake Tribune noted that a less partisan redrawing of districts would likely only give the Dems three more seats in a Legislature with 75 members in the House and 29 in the Senate. Maura Carabello of the Exoro Group said both this and the Count My Vote initiative could help the many independent voters in the state.
We could ask why local television stations would send reporters to Las Vegas, and that would be a great question if you listened to the nightly local news. We got to see a shot of concrete barriers blocking Las Vegas Boulevard on the way to the Mandalay Bay hotel, thanks to KUTV's Jeremy Harris. He took us on a walk down the deserted road because the cops let him go. It was a sorry waste of money to send him. That's not to say local coverage isn't worth something. At home, there were stories of families whose loved ones were killed. But for the bigger picture, Howard Berkes, NPR's Salt Lake City correspondent, gave us an in-depth and colorful look at the shooter, "the guy next door," and his secretive planning. He did have the aid of other national reporters who produced a worthwhile story of the tragic and puzzling event.