South Salt Lake Sentinel editor Dick Stucki appeased the City Council Wednesday by outlining his plan of campaigning for the council and still running the nearly 3-year-old independent city newspaper.
Stucki, a 10-year resident of South Salt Lake, filed for the District 1 Council seat four weeks ago. He is incumbent Don Loock's sole challenger. Loock is seeking a second term on the council.In a work meeting last week, the council asked if Stucki's editorship would provide him an unfair advantage over other candidates.
South Salt Lake pays the Sentinel $900 a month for three pages of advertising. The contracts are negotiated and budgeted annually.
Stucki said his "professional ethics" would keep him from utilizing the paper for his personal advancement.
Stucki said he will not be writing bylined stories during the race but would still do layout work and reviews. He said he would hire another reporter to take over his city government duties and would "divorce" himself from those stories.
He also noted that he is not the first editor to file for civil office. He mentioned predecessors in Vernal, Tooele and Richfield. A former Bountiful editor he worked under later became mayor, Stucki said.
Stucki has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years.
The Council seemed satisfied with Stucki's plan.
"It's just called professional ethics," Stucki said.
DeAnn Evans, an assistant professor of communications who teaches a media ethics course at the University of Utah, wondered how impartial the paper could be in its coverage of the City Council if Stucki is elected.
"Any time a journalist files for public office, it creates a potential conflict of interest. (Stucki) may have all sorts of good intentions, but public perception of what's happening is key."
The council agreed that in its 2 1/2 years of operation, the Sentinel has done more good than harm. And with that in mind, it unanimously agreed to fund the South Salt Lake Sentinel for another year, from July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1996.