Everyone Needs One | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Everyone Needs One 

Another example of how we all need editors. Sure, companies like PacifiCorp are slowly moving away from coal, but is it enough? Plus, how the Hispanic population might be vastly undercounted in the 2020 Census.

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Everyone Needs One
This was a lot bigger story than The Salt Lake Tribune let on. "A 13-year-old boy who went missing on Monday was struck by a vehicle and killed later that evening in West Valley City," the report begins. It's the later part that's so disturbing. "Was this written in a foreign language and then someone used Google Translate to convert it to English?" one commenter asked. We're pretty sure no one stalked the injured teen to kill him. Everybody needs an editor, apparently even the editors. Next up: The young man was autistic and tattooed. Readers rightly wondered how this mention without context played into the story. The boy had walked away from a juvenile receiving center, but the reader doesn't know why he was there or how secure it was. Lest journalists lose total touch with the public, they might want to take comments from the cheap seats seriously—and learn something from them.

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What Is Enough?
In early October, the Trib ran a congratulatory story about how PacifiCorp "plans to retire 16 of its costliest coal-fired power-generation units by 2030, reducing its coal generation by 3,000 megawatts." This is important because it's a "big pivot" for the state's largest utility. But is it enough? The Deseret News later noted the pushback from critics like the Sierra Club, which says 55% of coal capacity will still be running then. It's all about timing, PacifiCorp says—like there's no urgency. Fortunately, there are politicians like Congressman Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who's asking for a federal study on ozone and its effects. No, coal isn't the only culprit, but given the government's reluctance to tamp down on any harmful pollutants, a study might just move someone to action.

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Sadly Undercounted
With the 2020 Census looming, it's becoming increasingly evident that we're going to undercount the Hispanic population because they just don't respond well to surveys. Why? The Pew Research Center tried to determine why back in 2015: It "may in part be driven by a general suspicion of government or a more specific fear of deportation among subgroups of the U.S. Hispanic population, including unauthorized immigrants." So it was hardly a surprise that a recent planning survey of Park City residents drew only a 5.9% response from Hispanics or Latinos, while they represent 16.6% of the Park City population, according to The Park Record. The survey was conducted by a group called Future iQ. If they had read the Pew report, they might have translated the survey or at least stressed its confidentiality.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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