Utah's History

By Thomas G. Alexander; Eugene E. Campbell et al. | Go to book overview

The Mass Media

In tapping the cultural, recreational, educational, and other potential of the mass media, Utah in the twentieth century has followed national patterns. The Salt LakeTribune surpassed the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News in statewide circulation early in the century, and both owned their economic viability in the post- World War II generation in part to combining their printing, advertising, and circulation operations in 1952 into the Newspaper Agency Corporation The OgdenStandard-Examiner, ProvoDaily Herald, and LoganHerald Journal were the only other Utah daily papers to survive the impact of television and rising costs.

Television, the brainchild of Utah-born Philo T. Farnsworth, came to the state in 1948 when KTVT went on the air in Salt Lake City. Other stations followed, including educational channels at the University of Utah and at Brigham Young University. Stereophonic and FM broadcasting added cultural dimensions to radio's outreach. Thanks to the technology of the space age, no mountain hut or desert hogan in Utah is now inaccessible to the messages of the electronic media.


Conclusion

The contribution of Utah to the arts, as well as its support and enthusiasm for various artistic farms, was somewhat spotty in the twentieth century. Support for the arts as difficult to come by, especially in the early years, but after World War II various factors combined to increase the understanding of the arts among the people of the state: legislative appropriations for state-supported activities increased; Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony brought symphonic music to every community; dance groups widened their performances and gave lessons in the high schools; and Utah's institutions of higher learning, especially its three universities, became important centers for fostering all the arts. It took time and considerable effort, but by the 1970s the people of Utah enjoyed cultural opportunities unusual among the thinly populated states of the mountain west.

The twentieth-century record is more solid in education. The federal government's. Digest of Educational Statistics for 1971 reported that there were only three states in the nation with lower illiteracy rates, and Utah had the lowest portion of adult population with less than five years of school. It was number eight in the nation in terms of median school years completed, number one in percent completing high school, and number three in percent of college graduates. On the other hand, a survey by the State Board of

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