Reflection Blog: Spencer B

Reflection: The Future of Capital Punishment in Utah

By Spencer Buchanan

LinkedIn: Spencer Buchanan

My story regarding the death penalty was inspired by the recent a bill introduced in the Utah Legislature to repeal the death penalty. Given the historically staunch position, those on the Right take on the position I found it interesting. Two of the sources I came about came with the help of Professor Whisenant and his connections. The other two, I found from searching around campus. Professor Burbank from the Political Science and Nicholas Colemen, the President of the Utah College Republicans gave me the interesting dynamic of conservatives regarding capital punishment. The momentum behind the efforts to repeal the death penalty in Utah come from position changes within the Republican Party. Both Colemen and Burbank’s comments on the matter gave both a professional and personal insight into the matter.

Developing this came with relative ease due to the already expansive reporting and research was already done on this topic. The debate regarding capital punishment has been long fought and there is much in data and reports dating back several years. What I really wanted to focus on the changing views on it. For most the history of capital punishment, Republicans and conservatives had been strongly for it and Democrats have usually been against it. I read research as to what could explain the steep decline in support for the policy across the board and more specifically with conservatives. My aforementioned interviews with Coleman and Burbank gave this explanation.

From this experience, I have learned that you need a lot of facts, knowledge, and original sourcing to make a good story. Of the facts and interviews you do, only about 20 percent of what you do and find is used. Professor Burbank, when I met with him, gave a lot of information regarding the history, and other factors that play into the support or opposition to the death penalty but I to widdle at he had given to find what works best for the story.