Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute Joins Solutions Journalism Initiative

Group tours shore of great salt lake

March 7, 2022

Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute is proud to be part of The Great Salt Lake Collaborative: A Solutions Journalism Initiative. The group of news, education and media organizations have come together to inform and engage the public about the crisis facing Great Salt Lake — and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late.

Scientists from Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) at Westminster will provide the Solutions Journalism Initiative with expertise and education about the lake. GSLI director Dr. Bonnie Baxter, and coordinator Jaimi Butler sounded the alarm about lake levels in their book “Great Salt Lake Biology: A Terminal Lake in a Time of Change.” Local and international media outlets have turned to Baxter and Butler for their knowledge on Great Salt Lake and their passion to save it.

“As scientists, we are observing dramatic ecosystem changes, and we have an obligation to call attention to this declining lake. We are excited about this collaborative effort that can facilitate communication and help us tell the science story,” said Baxter.

Dr. Baxter studies the microorganisms of Great Salt Lake with Westminster undergraduate students. Microbes power the lake with photosynthesis, and as the water disappears and becomes more salty, this puts the whole ecosystem in peril.  Baxter is dedicated to science outreach efforts that inspire learning and stewardship such as this Solutions Journalism approach.

Butler brings 20 years of Great Salt Lake experience to Westminster. In addition to mentoring students and designing research projects on the birds and brine shrimp of the lake, she runs public webinars and interfaces with community partners and teachers.  

GSLI will support journalists and newsrooms in the Initiative to not simply expose problems but to find solutions. The collaborative is funded through a grant from the Knight Foundation via Solutions Journalism Network’s Local Media Project, whose goal is to strengthen and reinvigorate local media. 

Great Salt Lake Collaborative Members

  • Amplify Utah
  • Deseret News
  • Fox13
  • Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College
  • KCPW
  • KRCL
  • KSL.com
  • KSL-TV
  • KSL NewsRadio
  • KUER
  • Salt Lake City Public Library
  • Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center
  • Salt Lake Tribune
  • Standard-Examiner
  • The West View
  • Utah Film Center
  • Utah Public Radio
  • Utah State University researcher

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