The news and opinion staff of The Salt Lake Tribune have been recognized again for their efforts to bat down attempts to weaken Utah's open records law.
Judges’ Comments: For its superb and fair coverage and its rigorous editorial advocacy, The Salt Lake Tribune receives an IRE Special Recognition Award for “Service to the First Amendment.” The paper waged and won a battle over the Utah legislature’s attempt to eviscerate Utah’s open records law and citizens’ rights to know. Lawmakers introduced and passed a bill late in the legislative session without much notice. But the paper fought back in two months of coverage on the content and impact of the bill. It offered its content to other newspapers around the state, and in a rare and unusual move ran strong editorials on the front page. Despite the governor’s initial signing of the bill, the paper’s efforts and public outcry forced him to reverse his position and call the legislature back into session. For extraordinary effort by newspaper managers and staff, IRE offers it congratulations and awards special recognition.
Of course, this is a journalism prize that the newspaper shares with its readers. If there hadn't been a popular uprising against the Legislature's HB477 - the real reason why the governor turned around and the Legislature voted for repeal - our efforts would have just looked silly.