“Staffers Told Washington Examiner Will Cease Daily Publication,” “This Is the Scariest Statistic About the Newspaper Business Today,” “Tribune Co. hires bankers to sell its newspaper assets,” “Lee Enterprises lays off 10 percent of Provo Daily Herald staff, including top editor,” “Washington Post Lays Off Workers in Hush-Hush Manner.” And the headlines go on. You could say, hey, great, that The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting on its own layoffs—eight in the most recent round. Twelve if you count jobs rescinded and vacancies not filled. But who cares how transparent you are if you don’t have a plan to survive? “In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 earned in digital ads. And it’s getting worse, according to a new report by Pew. In 2011, the ratio was just 10 to1,” The Atlantic reported. How to make the news relevant beyond paywalls and the allure of digital is the question. Canning staff only digs the hole deeper.
How can we say this politely? The Utah Transit Authority is a greed machine. Ridership and public service are secondary to the jingle of cash in the pockets of management and the developers they nurture. Now we hear, again, that UTA executives are getting nice, fat bonuses—double what they got last year. And this is on the heels of an effort to increase taxes, to buy up more transit-oriented development space, to add lines and, of course, cut back service. How does any of this make any sense? Because UTA is an agency without control. It takes from the public coffers and pads its internal machine. Citizen advocate Claire Geddes has it right: “We must have stupid written all over our faces.”
Well, you can’t say County Mayor Ben McAdams isn’t trying. Against the odds, he’s put out the call for a dozen volunteers to study how to govern the unincorporated area. Twelve angry people, no doubt, because governance of the non-contiguous area has been a quagmire for decades. Incorporation efforts continue as some perceive they’re getting last priority for county services. Others rightly worry about where the revenue will come from and who will be harmed in the tradeoff. McAdams says he wants to “harness that talent and passion” of residents seeking solutions. This will be an exercise in consensus-making, if consensus is even possible. But McAdams has been willing to take the heat and listen to the buzz.