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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Editorial Comment: And when the newspapers die. . . .

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Bar smoking ban hurts profits

By Amanda Mears

February 16, 2009 | As 2008 came to close, many Utah bars found they had no reason to celebrate the new year.

After a ban prohibiting smoking in Utah bars and private clubs went into effect Jan. 1, several bar owners said they saw a decline in profits due to the new rules.

"We have noticed that people who do smoke typically don't stay as long," said Chris Toppleton, who works for Mulligan's, a private club at 33 Federal Ave.

White Owl owner John Calderwood said the smoking ban has had both positive and negative effects on the bar, but would not comment further on the matter.

"I just prefer not to get involved," Calderwood said.

Bars aren't the only ones who are dealing with the consequences of a smoking ban, however, said Logan resident David Miller.

"It's harsh," Miller said. "If it's a bar, let me smoke in it. That's how I feel."

Miller said one of the reasons he has a hard time justifying the smoking ban is because of the people who are making the rules.

"It bothers me that a conservative population that never goes to the bars and 'private clubs' votes on a issue that will never affect them," Miller said. "They had smoke-free bars before for people who were bothered by secondhand smoke and bars where you could smoke for those who don't care. It's bogus to make every bar a non-smoking bar."

Grant Gilmore, junior majoring in sociology, agrees and said what bothers him the most is loss of rights for private clubs in Utah.

"I personally like smoke-free, but I think this is an example of the state intruding on the rights of individuals and businesses," Gilmore said. "If it's a private club, those types of decisions should be left to the owner, based on what he/she thinks is in the best interest of their members and if I want smoke-free, I'll go to a smoke free club."

For Salt Lake City resident Derek Yates, the smoking ban could prove to be a positive change in the nightlife scene.

"As a smoker I actually don't mind the bar ban," said Yates. "I like to smoke inside, but I don't like being constantly smothered in smoke."

Cari Wheeler, senior majoring in business management, said she frequents White Owl at least once a week and for her group of friends, the change has been welcome.

"I go to the Owl to eat, usually, and when I'm there I don't want to be smelling cigarette smoke the whole time," said Wheeler. "I'm totally fine with people smoking, but it was kind of annoying to come home smelling like smoke all the time."

Although USU students and Logan residents alike say they have seen a change in the bars' atmosphere, Toppleton said it is too soon to see if the smoking ban is the sole cause of a customer decline.

"It's hard to say right now if the smoking ban is having a large effect because January is typically a slow month due to the holidays and because the economy is down," said Toppleton.

For now, Toppleton said the most anyone can do is just accept the change.

"I just hope everyone gets used to it," Toppleton said. "[the ban] is everywhere and it's unavoidable."

For Miller, accommodating the new rules will be a big adjustment.

"There's not really a lot I can do about it," he said. "I just have to deal, but it will take time to get used to."

MS
MS

Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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