Public policy influences everything, from the quality of air communities breathe to the possibility for residents to afford essentials for everyday life.
I learned this at a very young age while growing up in Venezuela. The scarcity of energy and food were always hot topics in everyone’s conversations, as these were a big part of our lives that would change almost every time the government would sign a decree. I found relief in journalism in this complex context. There was power in finding specific information that could hold influential institutions accountable, and there were solutions to issues that seemed perpetual.
Similarly, at The Salt Lake Tribune, government accountability journalism has shed light for the public on problems that represent real struggles to diverse communities in Utah. Awareness and reliable information bring change and empower people to make informed decisions that are in their best interest.
This is why I’m proud to be part of this newsroom as a Report for America corps member covering 10 communities on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, from Magna to Herriman — including the state’s second-largest city, West Valley City. I hope that representation of these communities in coverage and a dedicated media commitment helps them have more options in their daily lives to improve them.
I’ll be listening to what these communities have to say about government and other fundamental institutions, housing and social dynamics. I’m certain that journalism and reliable information are conducive to elevating democracy, and this is what drives my work ever since I started being a journalist.
I’ve covered the economy, politics, energy, food and culture both in my home country and in diverse areas in the United States. At The Tribune, the reporting possibilities with a great, passionate and collaborative team are something I once could only dream about.
I want to learn more about what public institutions do for the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, but mostly, about what makes their communities unique and what’s essential to them, from their economies today to their nostalgia about their past.
I hope my reporting becomes an important resource and a platform for the people who shaped these towns’ characters.
Alixel Cabrera is a Report for America corps member and writes about the status of communities on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.