About Utah Stories
Updated April 24th, 2009
Utah Stories Mission
Utah Stories is about promoting and protecting the power of the individual. It's our belief that The Internet can become a means for individual voices to be heard through all of the clutter, spin and noise in the current media setting. It's our mission to promote and highlight individuality in a world becoming more homogenous. To this end, we highlight individual success stories and promote the home grown culture found in Utah.
Utah Stories' mission is also to help protect local business when special interest, government or corporate power, come to assume control. We call this debugging society. We have found a true niche in Utah for local coverage truely working in the best interests of local business owners and local residents. In order to ensure that our coverage remains truly independent and for the good of the local community, we only accept sponsors or advertisers who reside in Utah.
It's our goal to produce stories with meaning that help promote and sustain the threads of local community. Communities that are aware of policies and stories that affect their lives, are much stronger than those communities that are apathetic or believe their individual voices or votes can't make a difference.
Utah Stories In The News
Utah Stories was recently featured on KSL
Utah Stories won City Weekly's 2009 Best of Utah Citizen Journalism Award
Many thanks to our loyal readers and supporters who are spreading the word though online social media. Keep Twittering, Digging, Facebooking and MySpacing Utah Stories!
Utah Stories Administrator
Utah Stories is edited and maintained full-time by Richard Markosian
Eight years ago I exited my corporate cubicle and enrolled full-time at the University of Utah to study documentary film making and journalism. Prior to enrolling I was a new media professional. I naively believed that I could use new media to educate, inspire and alter perceptions.
After graduating, I attempted to make a full-length documentary film, on the Ute Indians. I wanted to tell their true story and document their lives and history with the accuracy that was lacking in history books. After six months of working on pre-production, writing grants, building alliances--followed by a complete cave-in on all plans moving forward--I was disheartened. After that experience, I realized that politics and special interests write history and independent voices rarely matter--unless the so called "independent voice" is serving a special interest.
At this point maybe I could have become a journalist or a news producer but I thought if I sold out to the main-stream media I would eventually feel like a cheap whore. So I became a reclusive computer programmer. But I actually came to enjoy programming very much. How could a Film Maker/ Writer enjoy programming? First of all I don't believe in pigeonholing our capabilities and talents--I don't believe in left-brain vs. right-brain. Those who succeed do so because they use their whole brain.
Computer programming is an exercise in overcoming emotion and the desire to throw one's fist through one's monitor, and instead think calmly and rationally about bugs (as problems or errors are called in the world of geek-speak). I made my living programming for seven years, but then I found myself back in the corporate world--making decent money--but not honoring my real desire to make a difference in media.
Three years ago I started Utah Stories part-time. It was an experiment to see if anyone would respond to a website covering local news in-depth.
I began covering one story for four months. I stuck with trying to answer one question: why was much of historic Salt Lake City razed to build two downtown malls? (story details). Then a reader suggested I cover the Sugar House Granite Block (story details). After eight months, these two stories brought a few visitors. But what inspired me to continue were the interested citizens who contacted me asking how they could be a part of what I was doing--offering their help and advice. With the help of the many contributors (listed below) we have produced dozens of other stories with a few common themes:
- Individual Success
« Travis Hess « Local Merchants « Farmers Market « Utah Passion
- Government Neglect
« Taco Carts « City Creek Center Skybridge « Collapse of the Local Giants
« Vegas Timeshare Scams « Vouchers « Chemical Imbalance Myth
- Land Use Policy
« Smart Growth Utah « Munich smart growth « Cook's Farm
It's my belief that those who debug government and society should be compensated as much as those who debug software code (around $60 per hour). My goal is to create a means for society debuggers and independent minded individuals to be well compensated for the difficult work of investigating society's flaws or bugs and widely communicating those bugs to affect change. Without enough debuggers or investigative journalists, (or more simply those who aren't afraid to ask tough questions--and seek real answers), our society will certainly crash, as it seems to be crashing today.
I want to personally thank all fans of Utah Stories who are telling their friends to check out the web site. Without a doubt, moving forward it will be your accolades and grass-roots support that will sustain and grow the much needed coverage local Utah deserves.
For more about our journalism philosophy and the need for citizen journalists and debuggers of government see these two articles below:
Open Source business model
We believe strongly in open source code just as we believe in transparency in business and government. The open source model allows anyone who is interested, the opportunity to review your financials, statistics and objectives. Therefore, we openly share any of this information with anyone who cares to see it.
Utah Stories Most Active Contributors
- Alan Barnet (Historian/historic building preservationist expert)
story involvling Alan Barnet
- Alisa Garcia (New Media Professional/ Coffee Entrepreneur)
story involvling Garcia
- Dirk Thomas (Writer)
How Kids Become Homeless & Alone
- Daniel Ball (Masters Student University of Utah in Urban Planning)
- Eric Pettee (Web Designer)
more on Pettee
- Kathleen Callan (Editor Extraordinaire)
has helped on many stories (former ABC News Producer and AP Writer)
- Mary Ann Coral-Amasifuen (Video Producer/Dog Savior)
Story by Mary Ann
- Marshall Collins (Programmer/Blogger)
- Jason Miller (Writer/Actor)
Why Kids Robo Trip
- Jay Christiansen (Urban Planning Student University of Utah)
story involvling Jay Christiansen
- Jacob Hodgen (Columnist, Cultural Critic)
Jacob's stories on guns, Prop 8 and repo men have been popular and well read.
- Jonny Glines (former KUTV News Writer/ video producer) Jonny's Cottonwood Mall and Sugar House Story is his most popular story to date
- Kathleen J. Hill (Urban Planning Phd Student University of Utah)
story involvling Kathleen J. Hill
- Dr. Lili Wagner (Psychopharmacologist)
story involving Dr. Lili Wagner
- NiQui Eastman (Pole Fitness Instructor)
story involvling NiQui Eastman
- Rebecca Edwards (Former AP Writer)
has provided many great stories on Sugar House Or Sugar Hole, NUAMES Charter School and Universities Obsolete?
- Rocky Anderson (former Salt Lake City Mayor)
story involving Rocky Anderson
- Soren Simonsen (Salt Lake City Council Representative)
more on Soren
story invovling Soren Simonsen
- Doug Dansey (Salt Lake City Planner)
story invovling Doug Dansey
- Tony Weller (Owner, Sam Weller Zion Book store)
story involvling Tony Weller
- Phil Windley (BUY Professor) Advised on site design, promoted early stories on his website UtahPolitics.org
- Stephan Goldsmith (Former Planning Director for Salt Lake City, Professor University of Utah) see Goldsmith's latest project Temporary Museum of Permanent Change
story invovling Stephan Goldsmith
- Steve Auerbach (Musician, Music Producer) Auerbach is helping produce a series of stories on the history of the Zephyr Club. Auerbach's passion for music and local SLC will no doubt help tell the story of Salt Lake City's most famous bar.
- Tom Callan (Writer/Reporter) (formerly with KSL News, ABC News 30+ year seasoned professional)
- Travis Hess (three-time cancer survivor) Travis Hess Foundation
story invovling Travis Hess
- Greg Sumner (independent photo-journalist, with works appearing in publications including New York Times, Reuters)
story Greg Sumner helped on
- Zacharia Razavi is a Journalism student at the University of Utah Zacharia has written a story on a history of trolley square
Also, thanks to the many active citizens I've interviewed and spoken to at Planning Commission meetings, City Council Meetings and on Capitol Hill. The local merchants on Main Street have also been a great benefit in finding answers to downtown Salt Lake City questions.
You can support Utah Stories by becoming a member of our team. We are always accepting story leads. We give preference to those who have found a bug in government that can spur a new investigation.
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