Outlet: Salt Lake Tribune
Journalist: Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lee Davidson
Tags: political journalism
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Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune win the DFMie for best political journalism for their coverage of the role Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith played in the 2012 presidential election.
The nomination by Editor Nancy Conway explained:
In Mormon-dominated Utah, watching the national press wrestle with Mitt Romney’s religion was like watching anthropologists descend on an Amazon tribe. For Salt Lake Tribune writers, the challenge was to capture the nation’s Mormon curiosity for an audience that is already plenty familiar with the faith. Tribune stories brought a layer of depth that even more prominent publications like the New York Times could not penetrate. In fact, despite worldwide attention, it just didn’t happen that The Tribune was beaten on a Mormon angle in the year of the Mormon Moment.
Judges explained why Fletcher and Davidson’s coverage was a winner:
The Salt Lake City Tribune’s political journalism entry offered readers stories during the 2012 presidential election that no other outlet was as ideally situated to provide—insights into how the Mormon faith of a candidate, such as Mitt Romney, or of a voter, might inform his or her values and views on governance. Rather than settling for perennial and somewhat tired election-year story angles, Peggy Fletcher Stack dove directly into a sensitive topic and found sources to explain the breadth of opinions held by Mormons and the Church of LDS on topics such as wealth, welfare, the economy and government, as well as the church’s uncomfortable history with black people. It would have been easy to follow the national pack’s monolithic treatment of Mormonism, religion and politics. Instead, the Tribune provided in-depth, intelligent information that could truly aid voters in their decision-making.
Other finalists in for political journalism were:
- Josh Richman of the Bay Area News Group for a selection of campaign stories.
- Charles Crumm of the Oakland Press for a selection of political stories.
Lee Davidson covers politics, demographics and transportation for the Salt Lake Tribune. He joined the paper three years ago, after working 28 years for the local rival Deseret News. He was a Washington, D.C., correspondent for that newspaper for 17 years. He has a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.
Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune’s award-winning Faith section for more than two decades. She spent four days following the Dalai Lama around Salt Lake City, two weeks following the late Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley around Africa, and about a half hour interviewing Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
She also served on the executive board of the Religion Newswriters Association and was chosen to represent the U.S. on the founding board of the International Association of Religion Journalists. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion’s conflicts and cohesion continues to be Stack’s passion.