Reporter Shannon Sollitt will begin covering business, including Utah’s tech sector and issues shaping the state’s workforce and workplaces, in July with the assistance of Report for America.
The national service program supports local journalism across the country by increasing the number of reporters exploring local issues that are under covered.
Sollitt is currently a Report for America corps member at the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., covering farming and farmworkers. She previously worked as a reporter for outlets in Jackson, Wyo. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and sociology from Willamette University in Oregon.
The Willamette Valley’s agricultural sector and workforce are “the backbone of the area’s economy,” she said. Her coverage has explored the industry’s successes and challenges, including the concerns of farmworkers.
They “frequently feel unheard, undervalued, especially because a language barrier prevents many of them from speaking up,” she said. “I have been privileged to get to know some of these workers and hear their stories, in their native language, so that I and readers can understand what they need.”
In Utah, “I am eager to keep fulfilling RFA’s mission and telling stories that connect,” she said.
Report for America announced Wednesday that it will place more than 60 reporters and photojournalists, including Sollitt, in new positions at local newsrooms across the country this summer.
These corps members join hundreds more who are continuing to report on undercovered communities and topics for their second or third years in the program. At The Tribune, Bethany Baker will serve for a second year as a videographer for The Tribune. Alixel Cabrera joined The Tribune with support from RFA in 2021, and she will continue in her role covering the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.
“The Salt Lake Tribune and Report For America have been partners since we became a nonprofit,” said Lauren Gustus, The Tribune’s executive editor. “We’re grateful for their continued support of change-making local reporting, here and across the country.”
Report for America said it has now matched more than 600 journalists with local newspapers, public radio stations, digital platforms, and television outlets, since its launch in 2017. It pays up to half of a corps member’s salary, while its local sustainability team trains newsroom partners to raise the other half from local funders.
If you would like to support The Tribune’s RFA reporters, please visit sltrib.com/reportforamerica.
“Beyond talented reporters and photojournalists, we actively sought out individuals who see journalism as a calling, who want to make a difference within their communities,” Earl Johnson, vice president of recruitment and alumni engagement, said in a statement Wednesday.
“Together, our early-career and experienced corps members will produce tens of thousands of articles on critically under-covered topics — schools, government, healthcare, the environment, communities of color, and more.”