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Editor column: Help brainstorm solutions to Utah’s pollution

By Terry Orme

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Feb 28 2014 11:29 am • Last Updated Mar 01 2014 08:16 pm

The more we experiment and innovate in our online presentation of news at sltrib.com, the more potential we see to push our journalism into new areas of audience engagement.

Tribune readers who get their news via computers and mobile devices have noticed more video, more interviews and more opportunities to join the discussion on stories of interest, be it same-sex marriage, the state’s air quality or the performances of Utah athletes at the Sochi Olympics.

At a glance

Complete coverage of Utah’s air quality

To see all of The Salt Lake Tribune’s recent stories on Utah’s air-quality problems, and what officials are considering doing about it, go to http://www.sltrib.com/topics/UTAHAQ.

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This week, we push into something new: We will tap audience engagement online to help shape and inform a story, the final version of which will appear on sltrib.com at week’s end and in print next Sunday. The story is the latest in our ongoing project to explain the causes of, and possible solutions to, Utah’s air pollution problem.

Our hope is to use digital journalism engagement to benefit both online and print readers. More important, we need reader input to do this story right, because it’s a story about finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing Utahns, issues created by cars we drive, the homes and buildings in which we live and work, and the industries that provide our products and jobs.

We want to tell the story differently for our digital and print audiences, recognizing that they are two vastly different mediums that offer different storytelling opportunities. This is where traditional print newsrooms need to go — to conceive, report and construct stories to realize the potential of digital platforms.

Then we shape this content into a concise, readable report for print. In next Sunday’s presentation, print readers also will get a sidebar that won’t appear online. It’s an acknowledgment that newspaper subscribers remain our most loyal audience.

The story we will tell is about Daybreak, Kennecott’s ambitious residential and mixed-use development in southwest Salt Lake County. Daybreak’s master plan is designed to address the threats to our quality of life that are front and center in today’s news.

Our report debuts Monday at sltrib.com, with installments following on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day, a specific issue will be explored ­­— traffic and cars, home and neighborhood design.

The story will look at the big picture: Is Daybreak the model the entire Wasatch Front should follow? Is it the answer, or part of the answer? Kennecott, at the same time, is among the Salt Lake Valley’s biggest contributors to air pollution. Do its Daybreak innovations mitigate that fact?

The online presentation will include videos of Daybreak, showing the designs of homes and neighborhoods and the feel of the place. We’ll link to blogs of people who live there, and the discussion of the issues they see day in and day out. An interactive graphic will detail how homes and other buildings contribute to our pollution problem due to their emissions and inefficiency.

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The most important aspect of our online report is a call for reader input on the issues and ideas contained in these stories, and specifically targeting people who live in Daybreak. We want to hear about the experiences of life in a large planned community designed to address some of the big issues of our time.

We invite you to read and respond to our report beginning Monday. Your participation and engagement is part of our journalism effort to identify solutions.

Terry Orme is editor and publisher of The Tribune. Reach him at orme@sltrib.com.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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