The Salt Lake Tribune said Monday that the news organization would print a weekly publication starting next year and end its daily printing option for newspaper subscribers.
The Tribune’s board of directors announced the decision on Monday, shortly after The Tribune and Deseret News issued a joint statement confirming the end of the decades-long joint operating agreement between Deseret News and The Salt Lake. Tribune at the end of 2020.
With the end of the JOA, the two publications will contract their printing needs with third parties, continue to improve their digital footprint, and be free to trace their print and digital futures independently of each other.
“In the era of large printing presses, the benefits of these joint operation agreements were significant. But the current situation is different, ”said Brent Low, president and CEO of Utah Media Group, which manages the printing plant. “The demand for a printed newspaper is a fraction of what it was historically, with digital content and distribution everywhere, and our customers can have their newspapers printed cost effectively without owning their own presses.”
The change does not signal the end of print publications in newspapers, but a change in the way printing will be accomplished. Low said he met with all 161 employees of Utah Media Group on Monday to announce the upcoming end of the printing press, detailing severance packages.
In addition, the Deseret News announced related changes at a staff meeting on Monday, noting severance pay for 18 employees, the majority in the newspaper’s visual writing and sales departments, some of which will take place year round. next. Six journalists from three departments were fired.
“Any change and restructuring can be painful, but we are committed to organizing ourselves in a way that helps us invest in some of the best newspapers and commentaries in the country and increase our reach not only locally, but also nationally and internationally,” Jeff Simpson, president and publisher of Deseret News, said. Further announcements are expected Tuesday, Simpson said.
The Salt Lake printing plant is operated by Utah Media Group. The company also includes contracts with regional editions of several national and national newspapers and other publications.
“The Deseret News has been an exceptional and constructive partner of the JOA in this financially tumultuous industry,” said Paul Huntsman, Chairman of the Salt Lake Tribune. “As The Tribune moves forward, our commitment to our readers remains unchanged: to provide reliable and informative news, analysis and commentary to our readers,” he said in the press release.
Simpson also praised the partnership of the two newspapers, which maintained separate and independent newsrooms for the duration of the joint operating agreement.
“The Salt Lake Tribune has been a great partner over the years and the partnership has benefited the community in many ways. We love our thousands of print subscribers as well as the millions who read us online every month, ”Simpson said in the press release. Joint operating agreements were protected by the Newspaper Preservation Act 1970 under the administration of President Richard Nixon.
Federal law has created exceptions in antitrust regulations to allow publications to share certain resources while maintaining separate and independent news gathering and editorial functions. Overseen by the US Department of Justice and intended to create viability for newspapers in the face of declining readership, the Deseret News-Salt Lake Tribune agreement is one of the last joint operating agreements in the country to end. .
Today’s information markets bear little resemblance to those of ten years ago, let alone half a century of the advent of this practice.
The Deseret News was founded in 1850 and is Utah’s oldest operating company. It is part of the media entity portfolio of Deseret Management Corp., owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Salt Lake Tribune was purchased by Huntsman from Alden Capital in 2016. Last fall, the Tribune gained approval from the Internal Revenue Service to become a 501 (c) (3) public charity, opening the door to opportunities to seek tax-deductible support. readers and philanthropists.
Printing presses must be closed sometime after the first of the new year.