Lauren Gustus: How our election coverage is changing

Roughly 75% of Utahns said they are somewhat progressive, moderate or somewhat conservative

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) A delegate casts a ballot during the Salt Lake County GOP convention in Murray on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

If you’re making the time to read this piece, you are probably in the know when it comes to the places you care about.

You keep up with how K-12 education is changing in Utah or the drive to put a gravel pit in Parley’s Canyon or who’s running to replace Senator Mitt Romney. You are curious — and that’s great.

But there are many people who don’t keep up. They are too busy. Or the news is too depressing. Or they don’t see themselves reflected in what leaders are saying or what we’re reporting.

They may not vote and they aren’t the primary target of outreach by political campaigns.

The Tribune has launched an ambitious plan to connect with these people. We want to reach moderates who don’t live at the extremes of our political system or who may identify with policies set out by one party or another.

Roughly 75% of Utahns called themselves somewhat progressive, moderate or somewhat conservative in 2023, according to a Tribune survey conducted by Love Communications (founder Tom Love was a member of The Tribune’s board when we commissioned the survey. He is now board chair).

Trustworthiness was the most important quality when thinking about a news source, according to the same survey. We know a lack of trust is one of the reasons people disconnect from news, and we are working to earn Utahns trust.

This year we will vote in a June primary and a presidential election. And we also have a statewide ballot that will feature a critical referendum and plenty of statewide and local races. Here’s a brief overview of what we plan to do different in 2024.

Cover the stakes, not the races

The Tribune is surveying Utahns on issues so we understand issues you care most about. If you’ve got a few minutes, please click here and let us know what matters to you. We are also asking why people care about the things they do.

We will then score candidates on how their priorities align with their prospective constituents, and we’ll publish these scorecards across multiple platforms. We will offer Spanish-language translations, in partnership with our local Telemundo station, and do college outreach. Our Voices, or Opinion, vertical will offer moderates a place to elevate what’s important to them (email letters@sltrib.com if you’d like to share your thoughts).

Reach people where they are

Tribune subscribers help others access fact-based information in places where they are spending their time. With your support, we’re sharing news and information daily on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and in newsletters, and we invite you to follow us in these places.

Donors are helping to make 2024 election reporting through the June primary free to all on these platforms, as well as at sltrib.com. You can support this work through November by clicking here.

Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with as much local reporting as we can. We’re also sharing all election reporting with news partners across the state. From St. George to Moab to the Cache Valley, Utah News Collaborative partners can republish Tribune reporting. This includes college news organizations, which are serving first-time voters across Utah.


At some point, it seems to me, voting started to be viewed as work.

“Get out and vote.”

“Do your duty.”

“Show up.”

What a gift we have been given. Every year we get to choose.

And yes, some of us feel like gerrymandering has made our vote less impactful. There are ebbs and flows in politics, but the constant is you. And by showing up today, or this year, you will make an impact in the years to come.

As you make choices ahead of June primaries and through November, I want to thank you for choosing The Tribune.

When communities don’t invest in a trusted, independent news source, we see repercussions. There are fewer reporters combing minutes of public meetings and reporting out findings, and government officials bond more and at higher rates, passing the increased costs to taxpayers. Research shows these places have more government corruption,lower voting rates and fewer contested races.

We’re being transparent in sharing our election reporting plans and we welcome you to join us. Share The Tribune’s Daily Buzz politics newsletter. Invite a friend to follow us on Instagram. Write an Op-Ed.

Together we can ensure all Utahns can make informed decisions in this election year.