Jennifer Pemberton

Reporter / Commentator

Jennifer Pemberton produces a monthly commentary series called Radio Calendar for UPR and can sometimes be heard hosting Morning Edition or anchoring the 5:30 Utah News. She produced our special series on Utah water, Five Billion Gallons, and manages our community engagement reporting project on air pollution in Cache County: Having a Bad Air Day?

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and an MBA from Lund University in Sweden. A former ex-patriate living in Europe and Asia, Jennifer is happy to call the West home again. She is a fervent public radio fan and loves to hike in the summer and knit through the winter.


4:40 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

March is for Melting in the Arctic

Davis Strait sea ice from 38,000 feet.
Credit Jennifer Pemberton

You're probably not thinking about the Arctic now that spring is here, but March is the month when the sea ice is at its maximum. UPR's Jennifer Pemberton flew over the Arctic this month and has this reflection on the season's melt and the more serious melt.

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Art & Environment
3:08 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Blue Skies Still Inspire Pollution Artists Visiting Utah

For his living gallery project, Beijing artist Huang Xu is painting a kind of sci-fi solution of a city-wide air purifier. It’s not a practical solution, but for Huang Xu a solution created with brushstrokes is just as satisfying.
Credit Beijing-SLC Connect

Utah’s winter air pollution often entices comparisons to Beijing, a city notorious for having off-the-chart smog levels, which is why a delegation of artists from China and Taiwan are in Salt Lake City this month to let Utah’s inversion inspire them. The project called “Beijing-SLC Connect” invites the artists to compare the pollution problems of these two cities through art.

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Utah Legislature
4:02 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

No Vote from Senate on "Stricter Than EPA" Air Quality Bill

Credit April Ashland

The clean air community had high hopes for SB 164, which did not pass out of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment committee on Tuesday. Jennifer Pemberton has more on the bill’s short life.

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Utah Legislature
5:19 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Air Pollution on Lawmakers' Minds Inside the Capitol

Air pollution was hanging around Salt Lake City today and was on the minds of many legislators on the opening day of the Utah Legislative General Session.
Credit April Ashland

Two days ago the Capitol steps were full of protesters demanding that the legislature do something to clean up Utah’s air. Today the commotion was inside the chambers as the general legislature session opened. When asked what they’re hearing from constituents, majority and minority leaders in both the house and the senate said "air quality".

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Utah Politics
6:01 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Thousands Rally for Clean Air Legislation

Thousands of Utahns showed up on the steps of the Capitol for the "Clean Air, No Excuses" rally.
Credit Jennifer Pemberton

Thousands of protesters turned up at the Utah State Capitol over the weekend for the “Clean Air, No Excuses” rally. UPR’s Jennifer Pemberton tells us why voters and activists are targeting lawmakers two days before the start of the general legislative session.

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8:45 am
Fri January 17, 2014

More than a Mitten: Knitting in a Changing Utah

A Latvian woman in traditional dress...including her mittens, which we now know are more than just mittens.

When is a mitten not just a mitten? When UPR commentator Jennifer Pemberton is knitting it in the wake of the changing definition of legal marriage in Utah.

"Latvian women knitted hundreds of pairs of mittens and her dowry included an entire chestful of mittens to be distributed to her husband’s family, given not just to her new in-laws, but also to her husband’s family’s cows and pigs, the fruit trees, and even to inanimate objects like doorknobs and stables. A bride and groom even ate their wedding meal with their mittens on. Many a folk song tells of the foolish man who chooses a pretty hand over a warm one."

Utah Politics
3:02 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Women Win Elections in Utah...But They Have to Run First

Twenty-seven-year-old Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson participated in a panel discussion at Real Women Run.
Credit Jennifer Pemberton

Dozens of women with political ambition or at least curiosity, turned up at the Real Women Run training in Sandy over the weekend.

Real Women Run is a nonpartisan advocacy group that encourages women to run for public office in Utah. Because statistics show that women win elections at the same rate as men, but very few women run for office in the first place, especially in Utah, where they make up only 15 percent of the state legislature.

Gender isn’t the only way these women don’t fit the mold in Utah politics. Maile Wilson probably exemplifies this best.

Wilson was elected last November as the first female and youngest mayor ever of Cedar City.

“I was 26 when I filed. There had never been anyone under mid- to late-fifties…I’m still in a small conservative community, not married, being a female, not having children, all the stereotypical roles,” Wilson said.

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5:33 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Oh Tamarack, Oh Tamarack, How Empty Are Your Branches

Credit Hélène Halliday / Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Did you hear the one about the Californians who moved to Washington and cut down their first wild Christmas tree? Jennifer Pemberton has the punchline in this story about Christmas in the Evergreen State.

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Five Billion Gallons
9:29 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Episode 6: The Changing Face of Water Management

There were over 300 attendees to the Utah Water Summit, where Governor Herbert announced the creation of his Water Strategy Advisory Team.
Credit Jennifer Pemberton

At the 20th Annual Utah Water Summit in Provo last month, Governor Herbert introduced his “gang of six” water experts, who spent the summer gathering ideas from the public at a series of Town Hall meetings about water.

One of those gang of six experts, Warren Peterson, spoke about the future of agriculture in Utah. He quoted Tom Bingham, who was the Farm Bureau Lobbyist for 25 years:

“He said, ‘I used to just go and count boots under the table, and I knew how the vote was going to come out,’ and now there aren’t any boots under the table.

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Air Quality
4:56 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

New Air Quality Alerts Just in Time for Winter Pollution Events

The new Division of Air Quality alert system communicates both health implications and action items.

The start of the winter pollution season in Utah also brings changes to how the state communicates the air quality status to the public.

Starting on November 1 the stoplight signal model of air quality awareness -- red, yellow, green -- will be no more. We will still have red air days, unfortunately, but the color system will correspond to health implications of air pollution, not action items.

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