Amplify Utah Focuses on Diverse Voices


The Salt Lake Tribune, along with the nonprofit Amplify Utah and Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), have partnered to write and publish stories that highlight the state’s diverse communities and engages with young readers.

Last year, Marcie Young Cancio, assistant professor of journalism and digital media at SLCC and Amplify Utah founder and executive director, along with Fraser Nelson, then the Tribune’s vice president of business innovation, began discussions for this partnership. Together, they applied for funding through the Google GNI Innovation Challenge, which allowed them to launch the nonprofit and support the collaboration. This is the second time the Tribune has received funding through this program. The first time was in 2019 in support of their mission to become a nonprofit.

“Amplify Utah is focused on empowering, elevating, and amplifying voices from communities who may not have a platform to be able to share their voice,” Young Cancio said.

In this yearlong collaboration, which launched in January, journalism students in Young Cancio’s introductory journalism class will report on topics such as homelessness and poverty, policing and racial discrimination, women’s issues, and life in prison, among other topics. Students at The Globe, the college’s student newspaper and the Student Media Center, are also responsible for creating content.

Amplify Utah will showcase and archive all the stories, photos, and videos from the project. The Tribune will also create a new section on their website to promote this reporting. The Globe and Student Media Center will share the coverage online, in print publications and on social media platforms. Amplify Utah hopes to make the work available to other local news nonprofits as well. Additionally, as part of the Google GNI Innovation Challenge, Amplify Utah will create a playbook to show other communities how this project could be replicated.

Over the summer, Amplify Utah will reach out to other universities and colleges in the state to recruit their student media organizations. The goal is to create a network so that stories can be shared among them.

Young Cancio said that the project does not want to capitalize on free student work. The idea is to pay students for published work with stipends.

While the project has been funded by Google, Young Cancio said Amplify Utah is committed to keeping it going long-term. After the first year, the nonprofit hopes to start having conversations with others, including for-profit news organizations, about supporting the project financially. Through that support, for-profit organizations would have access to all the work and be able to publish it on their platforms.

 “If our goals are to increase representation, then we’re missing a huge swath of people if we don’t make it accessible for everybody,” Young Cancio said.

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