About Truth. (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1901-1908
Salt Lake City, Utah (1901-1908)
- Truth. : (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1901-1908
- Alternative Titles:
- Western weekly
- Place of publication:
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Geographic coverage:
- Truth Pub. Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 14, 1901)-v. 9, no. 9 (Nov. 7, 1908).
- Salt Lake City (Utah)--Newspapers.
- Also published in daily edition.
- Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- Sometimes published as: Western weekly, Aug. 8-Nov.7, 1908.
- Subtitle: Western weekly, May 2-Aug. 1, 1908.
- sn 85058310
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When the Truth made its 1901 debut in Salt Lake City, it offered Utah’s booming capital an alternative to the newspapers that regularly appeared (and disappeared) in western cities during the turn of the century. With a focus on hard-hitting local reporting and progressive social commentary, the Truth developed an identity as an urban weekly, an early antecedent of the alternative weekly, which would become popular some nine decades later. And much like those future publications, the Truth would struggle to survive against the big city daily papers.
In the first decade of the 1900s, two newspapers dominated Salt Lake, the Deseret Evening News, the official mouthpiece of the Mormon Church, and the Salt Lake Tribune, which almost always placed itself against the News. The Truth carved out a middle ground between the two publications, neither acquiescing to every instance of Mormon influence, nor bashing the church unrelentingly. For instance, on January 4, 1905, during a contentious Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., over the seating of Utah’s elected senator Frank Smoot, the Truth weighed in on the controversy without endorsing the church’s embrace of polygamy, while eschewing “the miles of slander, slush, and absolute lies that have been printed in [the Tribune].” In the same article, the Truth went on to counter the notion that “good, honest people east and west have been made to believe, that Salt Lake is a Hades where no woman is safe.” Conducting its own “census” of the city’s Mormon population, the paper determined that less than 0.1 percent of Salt Lakers actually practiced plural marriage. The Truth proclaimed: “Polygamy in Utah is a thing of the past, and in a very few years will be extinct.”
From the Truth’s inception in September 1901 until January 1908, John W. Hughes served in the dual roles of editor and manager. In March 1908, Parley P. Jensen took over as editor, with J. H. Garrett as manager. The new team rechristened their publication the Western Weekly and reinvented itself, with front-cover artwork replacing front-page news. By way of introduction, Jensen and Garrett promised that the newspaper would remain “free and independent, being the organ of no party or faction. We have no friends to reward, and no enemies to punish.” Nine months later, however, the Truth became an official organ of the See America First League, a group dedicated to promoting domestic tourism. The one-time weekly newspaper became a travel magazine, adopting the name Western Monthly to reflect the new format.
Provided by: University of Utah, Marriott Library