Local Observers View The Competitive Situation p.11

By: M.L. Stein tWO LOCAL OBSERVERS of the competition between the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune handed out pluses and minuses on their performance.
Bishop George Niederauer of the Salt Lake City Catholic Diocese praised both newspapers as doing a "better job of covering religion than you find in most cities, even better than in Los Angeles, where I came from."
He rated the Tribune, however, as being more ecumenical in its religion reporting.
Niederauer, who said Catholics comprise 6% of Utah's population, recalled that the News allocated a full-page spread to his installation as bishop two years ago.
Still, the cleric faulted the Tribune for giving what he considered too much "sensational" coverage of stories involving priests charged with embezzlement and sexual misconduct.
"Catholics should not be news only when there is conflict," Niederauer stated.
John Saltas, publisher of the alternative Private Eye Weekly in the city, credited the News with better local coverage than the Tribune, but he accused both papers of "abdicating their role as community watchdogs."
"I don't believe the Tribune is anti-Mormon," he said.
"In fact, both papers are pretty soft on Mormon issues. There is nothing that takes place in Utah that is not touched by the Mormon Church, and there is little investigative reporting on this issue. In this state, it's easy to be perceived as anti-Mormon because the Mormon culture says that anything other than church beliefs must be wrong."
Saltas, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, welcomed planned changes in the News but cautioned: "If John Hughes wants to reach out to the community and get the paper read by non-LDS members, the News "must shed some of that 'The church is always right' attitude," he said. "Whether it's a fair paper or not, a lot of people won't pick up the News because it's church-owned."


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