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 yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  2. Design

    How 'Maintainers,' Not 'Innovators,' Make the World Turn

    We need more stories about the labor that sustains society, a group of scholars say.

  3. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks At Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  4. A rendering of a co-living building in San Jose.
    Life

    The Largest Co-Living Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose

    The startup Starcity plans to build an 800-unit, 18-story “dorm for adults” to help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce.

  5. Equity

    Housing Can’t Be Both Affordable and a Good Investment

    The two pillars of American housing policy are fundamentally at odds.

×