Archive for the ‘St. George’ Category

St. George reflects Mormon reporting dilemma

April 17, 2008

[Fundamental: A polygamist community member in southern Texas]

One of Gannett’s smaller papers, The Spectrum in St. George, Utah, is near the epicenter of the growing scandal over 416 children seized from a polygamist sect in southern Texas. With 68,000 residents, St. George is home to one such fundamentalist community: Last September, polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs was found guilty there of being an accomplice to rape for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.

But my quick search this morning of the Spectrum‘s website for the term “polygamy” didn’t turn up any staff-produced stuff. I found an Associated Press story about a court hearing today in the case in Eldorado, Texas. And, oddly, the search also turned up an advertisement for St. Georges’ Seven Wives Inn! (I often have trouble searching Gannett sites, using their built-in search tools; anyone know why?)

A Gannett paper since 2000, Spectrum‘s circulation is 22,755 daily, 24,151 on Sunday. Writing about Mormons is dicey business, because of the understandable desire to respect readers’ religious choices. That was the case at the Idaho Statesman in Boise, where I worked in 1991-96; Idaho has one of the nation’s biggest Mormon populations.

The Statesman didn’t only publish fluff, however: I co-wrote a series about a prominent Mormon doctor in eastern Idaho, caught molesting scores of female patients. It had been going on for decades. Our investigation found that his Mormon community’s wary-of-outsiders culture prevented victims from winning justice until long after they’d begun reporting his misdeeds. (I wish I could link to that series, but it’s in the abyss known as PIE — or Pre-Internet Era.)

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Stunning trout, meth labs — and no saggy pants

March 13, 2008

Datelines is an occasional roundup of news topping Gannett websites.

Elmira, N.Y.: The annual trout sampling on Catharine Creek is a shocker. Louisville, Ky.: Police found more than 200 used meth labs — the county’s largest-ever such discovery. Richmond, Ind.: The school board voted unanimously to prohibit students from wearing excessively baggy or tight clothes. St. George, Utah: The state bar association is preparing free wills and other legal documents for police and firefighters.

[Image: this morning’s Courier-Journal, Newseum]