The Salt Lake Tribune is hiring three journalists to cover innovation

Supported by philanthropy, this new team will form the Innovation Lab, which will share how we can make Utah a better place as it grows

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City's skyline will change in 2021 with several new skyscrapers and midsize towers going up across Utah's capital city.

Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the country.

We are expected to reach 5 million residents by 2050. If we don’t plan for what’s to come, our health, what it costs to live here, the jobs we hold and the economic well-being we enjoy will all be impacted.

With support from donors, the nonprofit Salt Lake Tribune will soon launch a pioneering team of journalists who will share with readers how Utah can creatively move forward. The Innovation Lab is a three person team that will highlight what’s working and how we can take steps forward as we look to remain a vibrant and dynamic place to live, play and work.

The team will focus on private sector approaches to public challenges. For example, how might smart home technologies and new building standards impact the cost to build affordable housing? Who’s planning for our future water needs and how can we conserve? What should we do today to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front?

Utah’s leaders plan to shape those outcomes and The Tribune will document our shared progress, including how business, universities, governments and civic organizations do and do not work together.

The Tribune will welcome an editor to lead this team, and two reporters — one focused on surfacing issues and solutions and the other on engagement journalism, connecting more people via newsletters, live events when it is safe and across digital platforms where more Utahns are spending their time.

Here are short summaries of the positions and links to apply:

Innovation reporter: This journalist will focus on explanatory reporting, making data digestible and highlighting solutions. Topics beyond those outlined above include issues of equity in the workplace, how our economy recovers from the pandemic and how both urban and rural communities can find paths forward.

Engagement reporter: Connecting with our communities will be critical for this team. Instead of writing about Utahns, we will write for them. This reporter will launch our innovation newsletter and convene conversations across the state.

Editor: Leading the Innovation team, this editor will partner with others in the newsroom, including reporters who cover the government, transportation and business as well as our visuals and digital teams. The editor will also engage with the Innovation Lab Council in regular dialog that will be shared publicly.

Donors are helping to elevate this conversation and we are grateful for their support, even during a coronavirus-induced downturn. The demand for credible and fact-based information has never been greater.

Supporters include the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and David Parkinson, CEO of Method Communications. While we value the partnership of our funding partners, supporters will not have any editorial oversight or approval of the journalism produced by members of The Salt Lake Tribune newsroom.

“We know the best solutions to issues like intergenerational poverty, housing affordability, educating our future workforce, and protecting our environment will come from individuals, entrepreneurs and innovators willing to take risks,” said Clark Ivory, chair of the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation. “That is why we’re so excited to support the Utah Innovation Reporting Lab and the new Innovation Council. We need fresh ideas and this type of effort to bring an all-hands-on deck approach in order to solve our state’s biggest challenges.”

Throughout its 150-year history, The Salt Lake Tribune has shined the light of truth on countless issues that have changed the course of local history. We also recognize there is much more to do and we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our reporting efforts.

To support the lab, contact Executive Editor Lauren Gustus at lgustus@sltrib.com.