Pandemic, polarization, police shootings and more — a look back at 2021

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People fill the room as the Salt Lake County Council voted down Dr. Angela Dunn’s mask ordinance for K-6 students, on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

This week, we revisit the stories that defined 2021:

In its second year, a global pandemic continued to take a toll. Political reverberations from the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack still were felt in Utah. And water woes, driven by drought and climate change, led to calls for more aggressive conservation in a thirsty West.

Plus: racism in schools, police shootings, and the unsettling legacy of Indigenous boarding schools.

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Salt Lake Tribune Opinion page contributors George Pyle, Robert Gehrke and Pat Bagley join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to look back at the year in Utah news.

Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines” at, or tune in to KCPW 88.3 FM or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast. Join the live conversation by calling 801-355-TALK.