Flickr/DB-2

Utah mayor admits to writing news articles about his city under pen name

If your city’s not in the news, sometimes you’ve got to put it there. That was apparently the philosophy of West Valley City, Utah Mayor Mike Winder, who recently admitted to writing a number of news articles under a pen name and submitting them for publication in local newspapers.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Winder, writing under the name Richard Burwash, wrote four articles earlier this year about his own city, which were then published in the Deseret News and other Salt Lake City area news publications. The Deseret News reportedly had no knowledge that the articles by Burwash were actually written by Winder.

Winder claims that aside from the deception of his name, his surreptitious news reporting was in no way inappropriate or malfeasant.

"All of the articles submitted by Richard Burwash were 100 percent truthful, accurate, and verifiable," Winder told the Tribune.

He claims his inspiration to write the articles was not to skew public perception, but rather to set the record straight. He felt his city wasn’t receiving enough attention from area news publications, and the attention it was receiving was disproportionately focused on the city’s crime.

"In a three-month period, 16 percent of Salt Lake Tribune stories that mentioned West Valley City were about crime, but 56 percent of Deseret News stories about my city were about crime," Winder told the Tribune.

The articles published in the News under the Burwash name were about a new Buddhist temple in West Valley City; an update on the TRAX construction; and the Taylorsville city budget. The budget story was written by his sister, Aimee Newton, Winder said.

A fourth article, about a former UTOPIA contractor accused of extortion, was published by KSL.com.

Winder admitted his actions earlier this week to the news organizations. Charitably, we suppose, his tactics created at least one more piece of news about West Valley City, which was Winder’s goal all along.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user DB-2.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  2. Four New York City police officers arresting a man.
    Equity

    The Price of Defunding the Police

    A new report fleshes out the controversial demand to cut police department budgets and reallocate those funds into healthcare, housing, jobs, and schools. Will that make communities of color safer?

  3. Equity

    The Problem With Research on Racial Bias and Police Shootings

    Despite new research on police brutality, we still have no idea whether violence toward African Americans is fueled by racial prejudice. That has consequences.

  4. A photo of a new car dealership
    Transportation

    If the Economy Is So Great, Why Are Car Loan Defaults at a Record High?

    For low-income buyers, new predatory lending techniques may make it easier to get behind the wheel, and harder to escape a debt trap.

  5. A Seoul Metro employee, second left, monitors passengers, to ensure face masks are worn, on a platform inside a subway station in Seoul, South Korea.
    Transportation

    How to Safely Travel on Mass Transit During Coronavirus

    To stay protected from Covid-19 on buses, trains and planes, experts say to focus more on distance from fellow passengers than air ventilation or surfaces.

×