Role of the Local Media

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, a panel of experts discusses the important role that sources of local media play in Utah and across the country.

The 2022 legislative session has seen a pair of issues that have placed the Utah Legislature at odds local media outlets and advocates. The first, HB96 imposes a fee aimed on so-called “vexatious requesters” who file multiple GRAMA requests within a 10-day period to bog down government entities and employees. A compromise amendment reached in the Utah Senate carved out an exception for media members before winning passage and heading to the Governor’s desk.

The second issue was a change to the Utah Senate’s rules that would bar access to areas of the Capitol without prior approval or while accompanying lawmakers. Security and privacy concerns were both offered in favor of the rule’s adoption while virtual meetings were cited for upholding robust public access to the legislative process. The resolution passed 17-5 with Sen. John Johnson being the sole Republican vote against the rule change.

This week’s panel will also explore how local media is tied to more accountable government, greater awareness of local issues and engagement within local communities. The panel includes Jay Evensen, senior editorial columnist at the Deseret News, Lauren Gustus, executive editor of  The Salt Lake Tribune, Josh McCrain, assistant professor with the University of Utah’s political science department and Renai Bodley Miller, general manager of KPCW. Moderating today’s discussion is Elaine Clark, news director at KUER.

This forum was recorded on September 18th, 2021.