Patrick Ryan Parkinson
Patrick Ryan Parkinson was raised in Washington Terrace and graduated from Weber State University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication/Journalism. While attending WSU, he worked for The Signpost, covering campus news. He even contributed writing from his travels between Sierra Leone and South Africa, playing the part of the foreign correspondent.
He got his break in the local journalism scene as a cub reporter at the Standard-Examiner but quickly moved on to the job that defined his adult life: county reporter at The Park Record newspaper in Park City. For nine years, Pat worked the Summit County beat reporting on the intense growth, business intrigues and political changes of the period. Pat won several awards during his time at The Park Record, including a Utah Press Association award for Best Breaking News Story and Best News or Feature Series awards in 2003 and 2007. His coverage of the sale of Wolf Mountain to American Skiing Co. also helped propel The Park Record to a Utah Press Association General Excellence Award as top Utah newspaper in its circulation category.
Pat had a passion for community journalism and was fiercely loyal to the paper and his colleagues. He both irritated and inspired them and was always looking for ways to champion the underserved by challenging local authorities. In 2009, The Utah Developmental Disabilities Council awarded Pat with Media Representative of the Year.
Perhaps his greatest contributions to the paper were behind the scenes as he pushed coworkers and reminded them of the journalist’s duty to speak truth to power and hold elected officials accountable. He believed everything should be as transparent as possible. He wanted sources and confirmation. He wanted the facts.
When Pat’s life was cut short by a heart attack in 2016, there was still so much more to report on. Unfortunately, his adventurous plan to get installed somewhere in West Africa and string for newswires never materialized, and his love affair with the African continent had to end.
He always carried a soft spot for community journalism and knew that a local newspaper was not just classifieds and obituaries, it was a public service.
With this scholarship, his family now wants to take his love and passion for journalism and pass it on to a kindred soul, a person with that same passion who is willing to stand up for the underdog and be inspired to seek the truth in the face of powerful adversaries.