The Great Salt Lake Collaborative wins $20,000 prize in ‘Local that Works’ contest

Nov 21, 2022, 8:32 AM
The Great Salt Lake Collaborative in California. The team consisted of The Salt Lake Tribune, Deser...
The Great Salt Lake Collaborative in California. The team consisted of The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, FOX-13 and KSL-TV. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Great Salt Lake Collaborative won the top prize in Current’s annual “Local that Works” contest. The collaborative is a group of 23 news, education and media organizations working together to shed a light on the crisis facing the Great Salt Lake. 

Current is a nonprofit news organization that covers public media for industry professionals. Finalists of the contests were chosen from a pool of 96 public broadcasters, nonprofit newsrooms and other media groups.  

Since its launch in January of this year, the Great Salt Lake Collaborative has produced close to 150 stories focused on the impact of diminishing water levels and solutions for minimizing the plight if the lake. 

“The Great Salt Lake Collaborative is thrilled to be recognized on a national stage for the important work we are doing in Utah,” said Heather May, project manager for the collaborative in a press release.

“This win validates our unique approach to focus on collaboration, engagement and solutions journalism. Instead of competing, the state’s diverse newsrooms are cooperating to cover an existential environmental crisis, the shrinking Great Salt Lake,” said May.

“By partnering with scientists, artists, librarians and other community organizations, the Collaborative ensures the public is at the heart of what we do. And we investigate potential solutions to the overconsumption of water that has led to the crisis facing the Great Salt Lake.” 

The collaborative has also produced two out-of-state projects to investigate how they are handling similar situations with drought and terminal lakes. 

Teams were sent to California and Las Vegas and produced the in-depth projects, Solutions from Owens and Mono Lakes and Solutions from Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas team included FOX-13, Utah Public Radio and The Salt Lake Tribune. (Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune)

The collaborative hosts many community events and actively engages with policy makers. 

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative partners include,  Amplify Utah, City Cast Salt Lake, Deseret News, Fox 13, KCPW, KSL.com, KSL NewsRadio, KSL-TV, KRCL, KUER, Salt Lake Tribune, Standard-Examiner, Utah Public Radio and The West View. 

The community partners are: Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College, Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, Salt Lake Community College Geosciences Department, Utah Division of State History, Utah State Historic Preservation Office, Utah Film Center, Utah State Library, and a Utah State University mapping expert.

To see the work of the collaborative, visit greatsaltlakenews.org or view a video about the work here.


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The Great Salt Lake Collaborative wins $20,000 prize in ‘Local that Works’ contest