More perspectives, less polarization: What you can expect from the Voices section

The Salt Lake Tribune is creating a space where Utahns can share ideas, perspectives and solutions that move our state forward.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sara Weber

For more than 150 years, The Salt Lake Tribune has published insightful and informative opinions. I’m thrilled to be building on that legacy here at The Tribune as your new Voices editor.

My job is to create a space where Utahns can share ideas, perspectives and solutions that move our state forward. I’ll collaborate with contributors to find new ways to tell their stories. I’ll seek commentaries from experts and community members — with a special focus on those who might not see themselves represented in The Tribune today.

Why the renewed focus?

Polarization is high. Too many spaces reward incendiary language and bad-faith arguments. (I’ve worked most of my career in social media, so I’m all too familiar with the partisan echo chambers that dominate our feeds.)

Research shows that people are aware of and deeply concerned about this divide. Research also shows that learning even a bit about someone else’s lived experience can greatly reduce polarization.

At The Tribune, we see the potential to create a public forum that disrupts the outrage machine and instead fosters curiosity, builds trust and creates connection. We see the importance of prioritizing debate over discord, decency over rudeness, reason over rants. We see the value in promoting understanding over agreement.

My primary goals in this role are to:

  • Strengthen civic discourse by sharing timely commentary on a range of issues from Utahns of varying racial, ethnic, geographic, political and economic backgrounds.

  • Fight polarization by prioritizing civility over personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.

  • Solve problems by seeking out commentaries that showcase solutions to shared community challenges.

I’ll be looking to you to help shape The Salt Lake Tribune’s Voices section. If you’re interested in sharing your insight on a timely issue, an experience that has shaped your life, a potential solution to challenges we face or anything else, you can find me at sweber@sltrib.com.