The two big Utah newspapers, while remaining digital dailies, will transform their print editions into weekly papers.
The two newspapers serving Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah have announced that they will switch from daily to once-a-week print editions early in 2021.
At the same time, executives of The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News said that their joint operating agreement, set to expire at the end of 2020, will not be renewed.
Each of the two papers has an unusual ownership structure, and their transitions to a new business model will diverge.
The Tribune, long the state’s secular paper, was bought by Paul Huntsman, a member of a wealthy and politically prominent Utah family, in 2016. He remains publisher and a leading funder, but control is passing this fall to a new nine-member board of directors.
The Deseret News is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is part of a huge media empire that includes a local TV station, a number of digital sites and other ventures like books.
The Deseret News explains that they will grow bigger and better as a digital news site as their print edition reverts to the weekly schedule it started as 170 years ago:
The Deseret News today announces the next step in its digital transformation as it continues to build its daily news report, expands its national leadership role as the watchdog of the family and of faith in the public square, and brings outstanding, in-depth journalism and commentary to its growing readership.
The Salt Lake Tribune also has high hopes for a digital news site while their “weekly print edition will become a showcase:”
The Tribune said the move won’t diminish its journalism, and that there are no plans to reduce the newsroom staff of about 65 due to the decision, though some employees will be redeployed. Nor will its approach to breaking news change, its board said, with reporters and editors filing stories continuously on its website.
I don’t know that Utah will have a seven day a week newspaper after the above changes.
There is a bit of good news for us from the Tribune:
Print subscribers will also have unlimited access to digital offerings, along with access to a new daily newsletter that will include many of the print edition’s top features, including overnight sports scores, daily cartoons from Pat Bagley [emphasis added], puzzles and comics.
So those great local and national Pat Bagley editoons will continue!
“The old news world is gone. Get over it.” – Ken Doctor