The Salt Lake Tribune gets approval to become non-profit organization

Current owner of the Tribune Paul Huntsman. Photo Courtesy: PR Newswire

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 4, 2019 (Gephart Daily) — The Salt Lake Tribune has received approval to become a non-profit charitable organization, it was announced Monday morning.

The announcement came in an email to subscribers, as well as in an article in the newspaper.

The email announcement reads in full:

Dear Readers:

From schools to elections, from the air we breathe to the businesses we grow, no community can know itself and no democracy can function without a shared understanding of what’s true and what isn’t. Local facts, stories and voices can and do change the way we live and work in Utah.

The watchdog, independent nature of The Salt Lake Tribune has helped shine a light on the most powerful people and institutions in our state, and helped Utahns understand and act on complex issues facing our communities and our nation.

And now our readers will lead the future of this civic institution.

For nearly 150 years Utahns have relied on The Salt Lake Tribune. As a nonprofit, The Salt Lake Tribune will now be led and supported by the community it serves.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be reaching out to explain what this means to our readers. We will improve our digital platforms and host listening events across the state. We will build out a board of directors that represents a diversity of opinions and experiences. And we will continue to provide the independent, fair and accurate local journalism you rely on

We pledge to continue The Tribune’s legacy of courageous journalism, and in turn, we need the public to support a fair and free press. Please consider helping to kickstart this exciting future with a tax-deductible donation.

The article in the newspaper said: “The Salt Lake Tribune is now a nonprofit, an unprecedented transformation for a legacy U.S. daily that is intended to bolster its financial prospects during a troubling time for journalism nationwide.

“The IRS approved the shift in a letter dated Oct. 29, deeming The Tribune a 501(c)(3) public charity. That means supporters can start making tax deductible donations now.

“The move from a for-profit model was spurred by Tribune owner Paul Huntsman, who, in agreeing to turn Utah’s largest paper into a nonprofit, is giving up his sole ownership.”

The Tribune, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, will seek donations large and small, coupling them with revenue from advertising and subscriptions and a separate foundation, the article said. The Utah Journalism Foundation is creating an endowment to fund independent journalism in Utah, with The Tribune being a big beneficiary.

Paul Huntsman, who bought the paper in 2016, will transfer his ownership of The Tribune to a public board of directors, to be fleshed out in the months to come. Huntsman is the chairman of that board and has promised a strict “firewall” between its members and the newsroom, a move to protect The Tribune’s journalistic independence. He also has promised to reject contributions from people who want to direct or influence news coverage.

Jennifer Napier-Pearce will continue to serve as The Tribune’s editor. She said readers will likely notice little change to The Tribune’s journalism.

“We’ll still have (editorial cartoonist Pat) Bagley, we’ll still have sports analysis and we’ll still have all the hard-hitting investigative reporting Tribune readers have come to expect and rely on from The Tribune,” Napier-Pearce said said in the article. “The integrity of our reporting and our values as a news organization won’t change, but we will engage with the community in new ways and ask for their support.”


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