In today's world, you get more news from an Internet story's comment section than you do from the story itself. The question is how to let the public know what the public knows. Let's first take the death of Neil Ashdown, former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s chief of staff. He died of "unknown causes at the age of 46," according to a May 23 article in The Salt Lake Tribune. That was the last we heard. Then there is the curious case of Deputy District Attorney Chad Platt, whose death after a fall from a parking garage was ruled suicide. Reports from neighbors and various TV outlets noted members of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force battering down the door to Platt's home and staying up to seven hours. All District Attorney Sim Gill would say is this: "It would be highly inappropriate and disrespectful both to him and to his family to speculate on whatever Chad may or may not have been thinking." Reporter Robert Mims tried many times in comments to shut down the speculation. Confirmation, attributable sources, unconfirmed allegations. But endless comments beg the question: Why can't the media find a way to begin to explain the gaps in knowledge? Public deaths and public figures deserve more. "Suicide is never the result of a single incident," the Poynter Institute says in "Reporting on Suicide." The media may be squandering an opportunity to discuss whatever led to the suicide. The actual details may be salacious at best and lead to copycats. As for Ashdown, reporter Robert Gehrke conceded a fair point to a commenter who assumed suicide. That assumption still stands until the coroner rules otherwise. Both of these stories deserve ongoing updates to stay ahead of the social media frenzy. To be fair, at least the reporters at the Trib are reading and responding to their readers. Just not "officially."
Two meeting houses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are applying for a permit to serve God to the community. Both were denied by the Utah Department of Religious Control until they receive written approval from the Restaurant Association, which governs the extent to which religion interferes with social mores. Of course, just the opposite has taken place in Utah, where LDS rules. The owners of two establishments, one in St. George and the other in Logan, were denied liquor licenses pending The Word, according to Utah Public Radio. This hearkens back to a request from Salt Lake's Cinegrill, which had the misfortune of locating next to an LDS facility that is not a church. It was denied a liquor license despite a positive letter from the church. State law, apparently, is only concerned with proximity and anything church-related.