Jon Reed | KUER 90.1

Jon Reed


Jon came to KUER by way of Los Angeles, where he was a freelance reporter and production assistant for NPR member station KCRW. He received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. Prior to reporting, he spent six years in the film industry as an editor and post production coordinator, and worked on everything from Hollywood blockbusters to independent documentaries. He mostly preferred the latter, until the slow gravitational pull of public radio drew him away altogether. At KUER, he covers a little bit of everything, paying special attention to quality of life issues and the economy.

Ways to Connect

Photo of two teachers at a rally.
Jon Reed / KUER

Last year, Steven Phelps taught math at Lakeridge Junior High in the Alpine District. But once he saw his district’s plan to return to in-person classes five days a week, plus a roster of 36 kids and little ability to keep them six feet apart, he and his wife decided he was better off leaving. 

Photo of a person standing at the edge of a grassy hill.
Jon Reed / KUER

It’s perhaps a familiar sight to anyone who regularly drives the I-15 corridor past Point of the Mountain at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. Brightly-colored, U-shaped wings float peacefully above the foothills, two thousand feet above the highway. 

Photo of students in masks taking a test.
arrowsmith2 /

Utah has long struggled with large class sizes, which can be difficult for teachers to manage and students to stay engaged. But during the coronavirus pandemic, where keeping people apart remains the primary method of preventing the disease from spreading, schools face even greater challenges ensuring students and teachers can stay safely distanced.

Photo of a room with a bed
Jon Reed / KUER

Utah’s juvenile justice system has come a long way since 2016, when a state analysis found it was locking up most minors for low-level offenses and keeping them in detention for too long.

Photo of a man standing outside wearing a mask
Courtesy of Linda Hart

With big crews and lots of moving parts, it can be hard to maintain social distance on a film set. Because of that, film production has been one of the hardest hit industries during the coronavirus pandemic, and one of the slowest to return. But over the last few months, in Utah, it’s begun to show signs of life.

Multi-story, tan brick school building with large windows.
Courtesy Logan City School District

With the start of a new school year less than a month away for some of Utah’s public schools, most have at least a rough plan for what their returns will look like. 

Photo of a pile of blue surgical masks
Cylonphoto via iStock

Public health agencies across the country are widely underfunded, according to a recent report from Kaiser Health News. Utah is one of many states that spends less than $100 per person in public health funding, according to the report, spending about $79 per person. 

A man in a black shirt and a white mask speaks to a group of people with signs including one that read  “Police = Violence.”
Brian Albers / KUER

Demonstrations for police reform continued Saturday night in Salt Lake City, as more than 100 people gathered at the Capitol waving banners displaying “Black LIves Matter” and “White Silence = Violence.”

Stock image of a medical worker administering a COVID-19 test through the window of a vehicle
RyanKing999 via iStock

It’s been known for months that the coronavirus is disproportionately impacting people of color. In Utah, the Latinx population is by far the hardest hit. They make up nearly 41% of the state’s cases, yet only 14% of the population. 

Stock image of three doctors walking in a hospital hallway
kzenon via iStock

Utah’s medical community is calling on state officials to mandate wearing face masks in public. In a press conference Friday, representatives from the state’s largest health care systems said they’re concerned about recent spikes in coronavirus case numbers, and worry the state’s hospitals could soon be overrun. 

Photo of an empty soccer stadium
Wikimedia Commons

Once the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S., major events like conferences and concert tours were postponed or outright canceled. But as Utah reopens, pulling back restrictions on large gatherings, some are beginning to come back. 

Photo of cars lined up on a snowy road.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Plans are moving ahead to tackle traffic on one of Utah’s most crowded ski roads — LIttle Cottonwood Canyon, which takes drivers from the east side of Salt Lake County up to ski resorts like Alta and Snowbird. 

Photo of an American flag waving in front of a red rock cliff
WeMcLaughlins via iStock

Independence Day is often seen as a day to commemorate the founding of the country, to reflect on American values and celebrate freedom. But as protests against racial injustices and police brutality continue in Utah and across the country, some are marking the holiday by focusing instead on the progress they hope to see. 

Photo of an empty classroom / Ridofranz

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered education in Utah, when learning was forced from the classroom to the computer. For some teachers, the ongoing challenges of online learning, along with an uncertain health risk come fall, have them questioning if they can stick with teaching. 

The University of Utah sign in front a tree-filled quad.
Brian Albers / KUER

Beyond the increasing cost of attendance, college students face a barrage of other mandatory fees, ranging from textbooks to administrative taxes. And at at least two Utah public colleges, those additional fees have been on the rise over the past decade. Some are also getting tacked on unfairly, according to a state audit released Tuesday. 

Photo of four people standing behind a table holding medical equipment.
Courtesy of Nate Edwards / Brigham Young University

A team of recent graduates from Brigham Young University have designed a low-cost, portable ventilator. Originally intended to help newborns in developing countries, the design just received a fast-tracked approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and can now be used in the fight against COVID-19. 

Photo of Glen Canyon filled with water.

When the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1966, it was a major development for water management in the arid west. It would also transform Glen Canyon, sometimes described as America's “lost national park,” into the second largest man-made reservoir in the country. 

Salt Lake City riot police
Brian Albers/ KUER

After weeks of calls to reduce the city’s police department budget, the Salt Lake City Council voted Tuesday night to do just that, though not by nearly as much as what residents have been calling for. 

Photo of a crowd of people gathered outside and holding signs
Kelsie Moore / RadioWest Films

As protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue across the country, demonstrators in several states have begun to call for defunding or dramatically restructuring police departments

Photo of workers in a meat packing facility.
industryview /

Over the last week and a half, Utah has seen what the state health department called a “concerning spike in coronavirus cases.” While officials there attributed much of the increase to the state’s economy reopening, roughly a third of the new cases are also tied to an outbreak at a meat packing facility in Cache Valley.

A photo of a woman speaking into microphones inside the utah capitol building
Jon Reed / KUER

In the wake of mass protests in Utah and across the country over police brutality and racial injustice, the NAACP is pushing for widespread legislative changes to law enforcement agencies across the country. 

Photo of a crowd of people standing in front of a car turned upside down and on fire
Courtesy of Sarah Ramirez

Nearly 60 people have been arrested following protests over the past few days in Salt Lake City against police brutality and racial injustice. The majority, 41 came on Saturday — the most destructive event — though most were charged for failing to disperse. On Monday, 18 more were arrested, including two juveniles. 

Photo of people meeting in a board room.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Salt Lake City Police Department met with leaders of the state’s black community Tuesday to hear about their concerns over police brutality. Officers also explained the tactics they use, such as how they are trained to use force and conduct internal investigations. 

Photo of a large crowd of people in protective face masks. Some are holding signs, some are holding their hands up.
Kelsie Moore for KUER

More than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Salt Lake City for the second time in three days, as a new citywide curfew went into effect and Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency because of civil unrest.

Men in orange vests outside building
Jon Reed/KUER

Updated 9:47 a.m. MDT 6/1/2020

Salt Lake City officials launched a massive cleanup effort on Sunday, the day after intense protests through downtown Salt Lake City left a wake of damage, including spray painted graffiti on the State Capitol, smashed windows and overturned and burned two cars, including a police cruiser. 

Graffiti cleanup at the Utah Capitol.
Jon Reed / KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Sunday morning the city’s streets are “quiet and calm” after Saturday’s protests against police brutality turned violent.

But Mendenhall cautioned against prematurely lifting a citywide curfew that went into effect 8 p.m. Saturday and is scheduled to last until 6 a.m. Monday.

Photo of protesters in Downtown Salt Lake City.
Emily Means / KUER

A controversial concert protesting social distancing measures was effectively shut down Friday after a Utah District Court judge issued an injunction against it being held.

Photo of small chairs on a small table in a classroom
blanscape via iStock

State and local leaders are working towards issuing guidelines for how Utah’s K-12 public school districts and charters can reopen in the fall. 

Photo of Utah State Board of Education Building
Courtesy of Utah State Board of Education

Members of Utah’s Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee met Wednesday to discuss up to $380 million in possible cuts to the state’s education funding. The hearing is part of a larger effort from Utah lawmakers to balance the state’s budget, which is projected to lose up to $1.3 billion in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Illustration of a student at a table with a backpack gathering dust.
Renee Bright / KUER

Audri Robbinson is worried about her kids. Like many parents, she became a second teacher to them after state leaders announced in-person classes would be temporarily suspended in March. But it's been an ongoing challenge to keep Vincent, 4th grade, and Viauna, 2nd grade, engaged outside the classroom.