Editor column: Making room for more Utah news that’s fit to print

By terry orme

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: July 6, 2014 03:55PM
Updated: July 6, 2014 04:01PM
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Lisa Carricaburu

Salt Lake Tribune readers have seen some changes — in the paper and online — in recent days. Stories and commentary from The New York Times no longer appear on our print or digital pages. Our weather map in the paper has a smaller footprint, from a half-page to a quarter-page.

These changes reflect financial realities of the newspaper business.

In the case of The Times, that syndicate was among our most expensive, and understandably so. It is the most recognizable brand in journalism, and with such writers as Paul Krugman and Gail Collins — the two whom I most looked forward to reading — they can command top dollar.

But for us in The Tribune newsroom, what we were paying could almost cover a year’s salary and benefits for a reporter. Our job is to be the best, most authoritative provider of Utah news, and we need to make that the priority.

We primarily used Times content on our opinion pages; only occasionally did we run Times news stories. Our op-ed pages will continue to carry Washington Post and Bloomberg writers, as well as the many, and increasing, submissions from Utahns making their points on important issues facing our corner of the world.

The smaller daily weather graphic gives us a little more print space for local stories. Over a week, it adds up to some real savings: almost two full pages more for local news. Newsprint is one of the biggest expenses for a newspaper; it is a precious commodity. We need to use it wisely.

In redesigning the weather presentation, we focus on Utah, but give readers temperature and forecast information from around the world as well. We emphasize information that Utahns care about: air quality, river flows for fishers and floaters, pollen counts for people who suffer from asthma and allergies. In the winter, we will have ski resort snow totals and avalanche forecasts.

Speaking of change, we’ve had more than our share in recent days. Newsrooms are like that. Journalism, especially in these times, is an itinerant enterprise. Talented people come in, do their thing, and move on.

One Tribune editor, however, leaves a larger-than-usual hole. After almost two decades, Managing Editor Lisa Carricaburu’s last day was Wednesday. Starting Monday, she will apply her leadership and communication skills with the Utah Educational Savings Plan, the group that helps Utah families plan for college.

 Carricaburu has led countless ambitious journalism projects in our newsroom. She knows how to take complicated issues and explain to readers why they should care. She understands the importance of getting to the human side of the story.

She will be greatly missed, but leaves us a much better newsroom, one that will frequently ask, What would Lisa do?

Terry Orme is editor and publisher of The Tribune. Reach him at orme@sltrib.com.