Skip to content

Communication logo

The College of Humanities and the Department of Communication Announce Partnership with the Great Salt Lake Collaborative

The University of Utah’s College of Humanities and the Department of Communication are partnering with the award-winning Great Salt Lake Collaborative to give students hands-on, community-engaged journalism experience working with professional media organizations across northern Utah.

The groundbreaking collaborative includes a dozen local news organizations as well as science and education institutions. Founded in 2022, the GSLC has helped local news organizations to undertake more solutions-focused journalism about the crisis at the Great Salt Lake and then elevate that work to all Utahns via shared multi-platform publication.

Since the collaborative was formed, partners have published more than 300 stories. And over the last two years, Utah lawmakers allocated $1 billion toward water issues, including to protect and preserve the lake.

Nonprofits The Salt Lake Tribune and Amplify Utah are founding members of the collaborative.

In this new partnership, GSLC will exclusively work with the College of Humanities capstone reporting class, “Voices of Utah,” in which seniors and juniors cover diverse beats and underreported issues and will learn alongside the journalists in the collaborative.

“This is the kind of partnership with immediate and lasting benefits for the news reading community, our students, and to a community that is greatly invested in the future of the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding environment,” said University of Utah College of Humanities Dean Hollis Robbins.

The project and capstone class will launch in January 2024 under the guidance of Department of Communication assistant professor Marcie Young Cancio, who also serves as Amplify Utah's executive director.

Reporting from existing collaborative partners will be shared with students in this class, and journalists from The Salt Lake Tribune, Fox13, KSL, Deseret News, KUER, UPR, The Ogden Standard-Examiner and others will have an opportunity to join the class as speakers and offer guidance and mentorship.

As part of their coursework, students will create original journalism to better inform and engage the public about communities impacted by the crisis facing Great Salt Lake. They will participate in listening sessions, learn from local leaders and experts, and enterprise feature stories by engaging with communities affected by the crisis at the lake. This work may be published across the 12 collaborative media outlets and on digital and social platforms.

“This will be a great opportunity for students to learn how to cover the issues Utahns will confront for years to come — drought, climate change and explosive population growth — through the lens of the Great Salt Lake,” said GSL Collaborative Program Manager Heather May. “And students will help the collaborative understand how communities surrounding the lake are affected by its decline and what information they want and need.”

For more on the collaborative and to read the Tribune’s full release, click here.


Last Updated: 3/29/24