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Editor column: Tribune needs your help to shape, inform air quality coverage

Published December 22, 2013 10:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There is one thing all Utahns share regardless of race, religion, political leanings or economic status.

We all breathe the same air and lately, each breath seems to result in a collective gasp.

Utahns enduring winter inversion season consider the state's poor air quality of grave concern. At The Salt Lake Tribune, we hear that concern as a call to action.

We've made air quality coverage a priority. We've formed a team that beginning with today's front-page package will offer comprehensive, personal, solutions-based coverage of an issue deemed by all to be among the most important facing our state.

Reporter Brian Maffly's story explains what we know about Utah's winter pollution problem, along with what we don't know — and why. He tells the story from Salt Lake City's Hawthorne Elementary School, the site of a state air monitoring station for the past 17 years.

Subsequent installments will explore short- and long-term health implications of life in often-polluted air. We'll explore what can be done to address the problem by individuals, businesses and our elected leaders.

We'll also address the politics of air quality in Utah as the 2014 legislative session gets underway.

This coverage will culminate in a town hall meeting Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City. KCPW 88.3/105.3 FM is our partner in presenting the discussion moderated by The Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce. The public radio station will broadcast the town hall live.

Meanwhile, we need your help.

We want to ensure our coverage addresses your primary concerns, answers your questions and provides opportunities for you to have an impact on air quality in Utah.

In partnership with KUED Channel 7, we're collecting your stories of how Utah's air quality affects you.

Share your written "bad air day" stories by sending them to utairquality@sltrib.com or outreach@kued.org with "My Bad Air Day" in the subject line. You also may share them at http://www.facebook.com/saltlaketribune or http://www.facebook.com/kuedchannel7.

Email us links to video stories on YouTube. Shorter videos may be shared on Tout at http://www.tout.com/sltrib or by using the hashtag #mybadairday on Instagram.

The Tribune and KUED will share your stories as part of our ongoing air quality coverage. KUED is producing a documentary, "The Air We Breathe," which is set to air Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.

In addition, make coverage suggestions or ask questions of our air quality coverage team, made up of environmental reporter Maffly, multimedia reporter Napier-Pearce, health reporter Kirsten Stewart, justice reporter Brooke Adams, computer-assisted reporting editor Tony Semerad and health/environment/education editor Sheila McCann, by sending an email to utairquality@sltrib.com.

As Maffly's story explains, Utah's pollution problem is complicated and defies simple solutions.

Our role is to present accurate, relevant information in context to inform the discussion so you can act.

We relish the challenge and believe our coverage, with your help, is off to a good start.

Lisa Carricaburu is managing editor. Reach her at lisac@sltrib.com or on Twitter: @lcarricaburu. —

Town hall Jan. 29 on air quality

P The Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce will moderate a town hall discussion on Utah's air quality challenges with a panel of experts on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City. The discussion will be broadcast live on KCPW 88.3/105.3 FM and at sltrib.com. You may submit questions in advance by sending an email to utairquality@sltrib.com.