Recently, employees of the Salt Lake Tribune received an anonymous note indicating that the hedge fund which owned their paper had revised the existing joint operating agreement with the Tribune’s reporting competitor, The Deseret News.
Despite having years of greater circulation, the Tribune’s owner, Alden Global Capital, is revising their business plans to reflect the new media marketplace and the 21st century economic realities many American newspapers face.
Since the announcement of Alden’s intentions a petition sprung up, asking signers to Save The Tribune. Website co-creator, Salt Lake City Senator Jim Dabakis (Democrat), has stated that the deal struck between the Deseret News and the Alden creates a uniquely predatory deal containing a clause giving the Deseret News the ability to approve any subsequent ownership or purchasers of the Tribune.
Supporters of the Save The Tribune website also note that the historical roots and current ownership of the two papers require that the Tribune be protected from such predatory deals. The Deseret News, Utah’s oldest newspaper, is owned by Deseret Management Corporation, a holding company of the LDS Church, whereas the Tribune, Utah’s largest paper, has roots dating back to secular interest that, at times, run opposite of the Mormon Church. That independent voice, Save The Tribune supporters contend, would be lost if the current deal being proposed is allowed to go through.
This video shows the speakers at a rally in downtown Salt Lake City, where both papers are headquartered, in support of autonomy for the Tribune. Those in favor of a long-term solution to what could be a violation of anti-trust law listened while the problem was described and how it came about. Complicating the problem is the decades old Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970, signed into law by then President Richard Nixon. The crowd was also encouraged to contact the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in a bid to halt predatory practices on the part of the Deseret News and it’s owners, and to “Save the Tribune.”