Last week, California learned of a public relations scandal at the Central Basin Municipal Water District, where their media consultant actually fabricated ghost personas to publish news that reflected positively upon the district. While the articles and stories weren’t false or inaccurate, some seemed suspicious of the use of public money.

In Utah, one mayor has admitted he’s been going one step further. Mike Winder, mayor of West Valley, Utah, has been writing his own news stories about his city and publishing them under an alias.

His stories, which covered positive stories from his city, were published by local news outlets and was his attempt to have people hear about more than just crimes and negativity. The stories often quoted the mayor (himself), saying that he made an easy source.

In order to remain anonymous and create his alias, Mayor Winder created a Gmail account and Facebook page for his author name, and communicated exclusively through those.
He received no compensation from the news outlets for his stories.

From the Associated Press:

Disguising himself with an alias, the mayor of Utah’s second-largest city has been writing upbeat freelance articles about his town for area news outlets because he claimed the media spent too much time on crime coverage.

He unapologetically revealed himself this week, insisting the balance was needed.

“I thought about all the people just reading about crime in our city and nothing better,” West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said Friday. “I’m trying to stand up for us because we do get the short end of the stick – negative stories.”

Read the full article here.