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News Blog

Props for Saltas

by Jerre Wroble
- Posted // 2011-04-07 -

The University of Utah Communication Department held its 56th annual awards banquet on Wednesday, April 6, at the Little America Hotel. The swanky gathering is one way the local journalism crowd keep tabs on one another.

Looking around the banquet hall, it was gratifying to see how many in our midst managed not only to acquire a "J-school" degree from the U (actually a "mass comm" degree) but then go on and do something with it. I'd wager many of us (yes, yours truly as a '93 grad) had no clue where our educational venture would take us.

That venture took some farther than others. Many have enjoyed careers as broadcasters, reporters, columnists, and editors. Others have parlayed their journalism cred into more lucrative careers as corporate spokespeople. And a few got themselves elected into public office. No shortage of success in that room.

But one in that room did not land a steady gig. One did not bother to pull his portfolio of news clips together to try to impress a harried editor. One did not sign up for an internship or work as a copy boy at the daily paper. That's because, after graduating, he eventually founded his own publication and has kept it going for 27 years.

In case you can't tell, we at CW took some extra pride in this year's banquet. For, in addition to recognizing the achievement of three alums: Duane Cardall, formerly of KSL; Rio Tinto adviser Jana Kettering and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jani Iwamoto as well as the distinguished service of former Mayor Ted Wilson, the event honored City Weekly's founder John Saltas for his "service to journalism."

Yes, I am hopelessly biased, but all I can say to the Comm Department in relation to Saltas is: "A good start."

When someone creates something new, something out of thin air, it's exciting. When that creation is a newspaper -- one loaded with local commentary, news and satire; one that provides a vital alternative voice; one that survives over the decades -- it's bloody miraculous. You make us U alums proud, Mr. S.

Yes, I'm pathetic in my admiration. But that's why I'm here. I loved the paper long before I applied to work here.

I can only hope that for a few Comm students who attended, a light bulb went on, that they see the possibilities. It wasn't lost on us that few of the students, representing the department's best and brightest, expressed a desire to work as journalists. Maybe the years of hearing "print is dead" have taken their toll. Or layoffs at the D-News convinced them that the jobs were not there. And even if students wanted to bite, how do professors teach a profession that's in the midst of a metamorphosis?

John said it best: Journalism is a noble profession. He's living, breathing proof that if you can't find a job in this field, just go out and create one for yourself.

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