The Tribune is Utah’s independent voice. Building on a legacy of courageous, watchdog journalism, we strive to tell stories that are interesting, important and inclusive. Dedicated to fairness and accuracy, we aim to engage and empower you — our readers.
Our Nonprofit Model
In a historic move, the IRS approved a new nonprofit Salt Lake Tribune in October 2019, making it the first legacy newspaper in the U.S. to transform from a for-profit company to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Under this new business model, The Tribune will continue to offer subscriptions and accept traditional advertising (although it will pay taxes on that income). But now, the newspaper can also receive donations — large and small — from donors who may receive a tax deduction for their donation. Since our approval, we’ve heard from hundreds of supporters from Utah and across the country, so thank you for the donations and encouragement!
On the editorial side, The Tribune will continue offering unmatched reporting on state and local government, politics, the environment, education, religion, criminal justice, sports and the variety of rich stories about the people and places that make Utah special. The only substantive change readers will notice is that The Tribune’s editorial board — which operates independently of the news staff — will no longer make candidate endorsements. Nonprofits can’t do that under federal law.
Since we’re in the middle of this monumental shift, we’re still building the airplane while it’s in the air. But here are a few answers to key questions.
I’m excited to support The Tribune! How can I donate?
The Tribune is ready to accept your tax-deductible donation of any amount here. Prefer to mail a check? Our address is The Salt Lake Tribune, Inc., 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111.
I’m a Tribune print subscriber. What does this mean for me?
Thank you for your loyalty! Nothing will change with your current newspaper subscription, billing or delivery schedule. Our contract with Utah Media Group remains in place, so if you have issues with your print account, please contact them here or call (801) 204-6100.
I’m a digital subscriber. What does this mean for me?
Thank you for subscribing! Nothing will change with your current digital subscription or billing schedule. Digital subscriptions, like print subscriptions, are not considered donations and are not tax deductible.
Will Tribune news stories change?
While our business model is changing, our journalistic ethics and commitment to the highest quality journalism remain the same. We will always be Utah’s independent voice.
Who will own The Tribune now?
Since 2016, Paul Huntsman has been owner and publisher of The Tribune. Going forward, a nonprofit board of directors will govern The Tribune. Our nonprofit bylaws create a strict firewall between the board and the newsroom, so Tribune reporters and editors will remain free to report the news as they see fit by following the highest journalistic ethical standards.
Who is on the board now?
Paul Huntsman serves as chair of a very small board put in place to help guide our initial steps. Now that we have received the go ahead from the IRS, we are building a board that is representative of the communities we serve. If you are interested or have suggestions, please let us know!
Will board members have sway over what the paper covers?
The Tribune maintains a strict firewall between governing bodies, advisers, donors and the newsroom. That means they will have no more influence on editorial decision-making than any other members of the public. The same rules apply to advertisers and sponsors, as has been the practice historically.
What about donors? Will they influence your reporting?
No. While we will seek financial support for reporting and special projects, no donor or gift will be able to direct the organization’s reporting on issues, people or organizations. All donations to The Salt Lake Tribune will be public. We are committed to full transparency and understand that this is fundamental to the trust our readers have in The Tribune.
Can I still advertise in the newspaper and on sltrib.com?
Yes. Advertisers can contact Utah Media Group at utahmediagroup.com or (801) 204-6200.
I still have questions. Who can I talk to?
We may not have all the answers to this innovative approach to local news, but we’re always happy to talk. Feel free to email Tribune Vice President of Business Innovation Fraser Nelson, email@example.com, anytime.
I want to show my support! Where can I make a donation?
Thank you! We welcome tax-deductible donations of any amount. You can either send a check, or give online here. The address is The Salt Lake Tribune, Inc., 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111. To make a donation from a charitable fund, please use the tax ID number 84-1878709.
The first edition of what is now called The Tribune hit the streets on April 15, 1871. It was called “The Tribune & Utah Mining Gazette.”
For the next 30 years, The Tribune passed through a series of salty owners who engaged the publication in raucous duels with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1901, the newspaper was acquired by U.S. Sen. Thomas Kearns and David Keith, prominent Utah mining figures.
Upon Kearns’ death in 1918, sole ownership was acquired by the Kearns family. The circulation at the time was 10,000 on weekdays and 15,000 on Sundays. In 1924, John F. Fitzpatrick became the publisher. Under his direction, the afternoon Salt Lake Telegram was merged into the morning Salt Lake Tribune in 1952. It was also under the Fitzpatrick tenure that The Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for its reporting of a 1956 air disaster over the Grand Canyon.
The Tribune and the Latter-day Saint church-owned Deseret News signed a joint operating agreement (JOA) in 1952, with U.S. Justice Department approval, to form an independent entity called the Newspaper Agency Corporation (NAC). Under this JOA agreement, the advertising, production and delivery operations of the two newspapers were handled by the NAC, also known as Utah Media Group. Editorially, however, The Tribune and Deseret News remained independent and competitive.
John W. Gallivan became president and publisher upon Fitzpatrick’s death in 1960. When Gallivan took publisher emeritus status in 1984, Jerry O’Brien was named Tribune publisher and Dominic Welch became president and CEO of Kearns Tribune. Upon O’Brien’s death in 1994, Welch assumed the publisher’s responsibilities and duties.
In 1997, The Tribune was sold to Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). But after the newspaper’s sale to TCI, the company merged with AT&T Corp. and in January 2001, Denver-based Media News Group bought the newspaper and Dean Singleton became publisher.
With the emergence of the internet, the entire newspaper industry faced financial instability and by 2010 The Tribune was sold again, this time to Alden Global Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, with Terry Orme becoming publisher in 2013. In 2014, Alden renegotiated the JOA with the Deseret News to The Tribune’s financial disadvantage, prompting layoffs, a lawsuit and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.
After two years of intense negotiations, Utah businessman Paul Huntsman bought the newspaper, becoming owner and publisher in 2016. He continued to support the Tribune’s tradition of hard-hitting local news coverage, a decision that led to the newspaper’s second Pulitzer Prize in 2017.
But as the financial instability of the newspaper industry continued to threaten The Tribune’s long-term success, Huntsman applied to the IRS for nonprofit status, arguing the newspaper’s mission and purpose was charitable in nature and the business should be a community asset. On Oct. 29, 2019, the IRS granted The Tribune 501(c)(3) status, making it the first legacy newspaper in the U.S. to transform from a for-profit company to a nonprofit entity. Under the new structure, The Tribune is governed by a board of directors, with Huntsman serving as chairman of the board.