Salt Lake Tribune Editor Nancy Conway, a passionate advocate for open records and government accountability, announced Thursday to the newsroom staff that Publisher William Dean Singleton is stepping down and that she and Editorial Page Editor Vern Anderson are retiring at the end of September.
The trio has led the newspaper for more than a decade, through big stories and unprecedented change in the newspaper industry. Singleton will continue as chairman of the board for The Salt Lake Tribune and in his other roles with MediaNewsGroup and The Denver Post.
The retirements are part of a major restructure of The Tribune news operation, which will include laying off 17 full-time and two part-time employees. All told, The Tribune staff will be reduced by almost 20 percent. The cuts help position the organization to adapt and respond to changes that affect the entire newspaper industry.
Terry Orme, a Tribune managing editor for nearly a decade, will take the helm as editor and publisher on Oct. 1. Deputy Editor Tim Fitzpatrick has been named editorial page editor and continues his role as editor for operations. Lisa Carricaburu, also a managing editor, will take responsibility for news gathering across all departments.
Singleton chose Conway for the top news job in 2003 to help steady The Tribune ship after it was swamped by revelations that two reporters had sold inflammatory and inaccurate information to The National Enquirer.
It didn't take long for Conway, the first woman editor at Utah's largest newspaper, to gain a reputation as a journalist who would stick up for Utahns and restore integrity to the newspaper.
In 2006, she led the way in forming the Utah Media Coalition, a group of the state's newsroom leaders intent on keeping Utah's open-record laws strong and government accessible. The national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) presented Conway and former Deseret News Editor John Hughes with Sunshine Awards, honoring their commitment to the coalition and a vigilant press.
Five years later, the coalition, with leadership from Conway, strongly opposed House Bill 477, a proposal that would severely restrict public access to whole categories of government records. After passing the bill in the waning hours of the 2011 session, and after the governor had quickly signed it into law, citizens' outcry, spearheaded by the coalition and The Tribune, pressured the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to repeal it. That work brought The Tribune a Service to the First Amendment Award from the national Investigative Reporters and Editors and a First Amendment Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors.
Both Singleton and Conway received the Utah Press Association's Master Editor and Publisher Award, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. The Singleton/Conway news partnership dates back to 1978, when they worked together at The Amherst Record in Amherst, Mass.
In her tenure as Tribune editor, Conway twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, received the The Liberty Bell Award from The Utah State Bar and the Utah Society of Professional Journalists' Service to Journalism Award. In 2008, she traveled to Uganda with a dozen "Gateway" editors chosen by the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University to see firsthand the country's health and environmental issues, and effects of a decades-long brutal civil war.
During Singleton's and Conway's tenures, sltrib.com, The Tribune's online source of news, has grown exponentially. Today, the site attracts almost 25 million page views a month. In 2012, sltrib.com was named Best Daily Newspaper Website by the news trade publication Editor & Publisher after competing with news sites throughout the world.
Singleton founded MediaNews Group, The Tribune's parent company, in 1983. As its vice chairman and CEO, Singleton built the company into the nation's second-largest newspaper company and the country's largest privately held newspaper concern, with 61 daily newspapers and more than 120 non-daily publications in 13 states.
If anyone was born with ink in the veins it was Singleton, who began his newspaper career at age 15 as a part-time reporter in his hometown of Graham, Texas, and bought his first newspaper at age 21.
For more than three decades, Singleton has been a leading advocate for newspapers and the essential role they play as the primary watchdog on local, state and national governments. He served on the board of the Newspaper Association of America from 1993 until 2004, and is the former chairman. He also served on the Associated Press board of directors for 14 years, serving the past five years as chairman.
Anderson, who has shaped the editorial voice of The Tribune for the past 10 years. came to the paper in 1999 after leading the Utah Associated Press bureau for 19 years. He directed the newsroom through the lead-up to the 2002 Winter Olympics and the Games themselves, becoming editorial page editor in 2002. He has penned many of the paper's most memorable opinions, including the endorsement of Barack Obama for president in 2012 that brought attention from around the globe and record web visits.
Orme, a 35-year veteran at the paper, rose through the ranks, working as copy boy, reporter, film critic, features editor and news editor, a job that included directing coverage of Utah's preparations for the 2002 Olympics.
Fitzpatrick has produced award-winning work as a reporter, a news editor, an editorial writer and a managing editor. In recent years, he has overseen technology at The Tribune and managed its transformation to digital delivery of news.
Carricaburu, managing editor of sports, business and features, will become the sole managing editor. Previously as The Tribune's assistant managing editor, she oversaw news and business planning and projects. She was metro editor at The Standard-Examiner in Ogden before joining The Tribune staff in 1996.