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Utah media competitors unite on Great Salt Lake project


When the Great Salt Lake sank to its lowest levels on record, a group of Utah journalists were busy looking for hope. They formed the Great Salt Lake Collaborative to invest in a solutions-driven approach to covering the health and environmental concerns arising from the lake’s shrinking shores.

The collaborative of now 19 news, community, and education partners began in 2022 through a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network. Trust in a solutions approach has meant investing in relationships with readers through events like panel presentations and a book club. Participating newsrooms have sent local reporters to study similar water issues in California, Israel, and Kazakhstan.  

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Local newsrooms in Utah are trusting collaboration over competition to shore up solutions for the critically low water levels of the Great Salt Lake.

Trust has taken another form, too, as former newsroom competitors turn to collaboration, says Heather May, director of the Great Salt Lake Collaborative and a lifelong Utahn. Ms. May spoke with the Monitor about the group’s distinctive coverage, and what its impact looks like.

“Focusing solely on the crisis doesn’t create room for people to get involved or to feel hope that what they do matters,” says Ms. May. “That’s why this collaborative has been so important to the community and helped really engage the community, because we focus on solutions.”

When the Great Salt Lake sank to its lowest levels on record, a group of Utah journalists were busy looking for hope. They formed the Great Salt Lake Collaborative to invest in a solutions-driven approach to covering the health and environmental concerns tied to the lake’s shrinking shores.

The collaborative of now 19 news, community, and education partners began in 2022 through a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network, which has also funded separate Monitor coverage. Trust in a solutions…

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