Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Deseret News, Tribune bosses urge judge to toss lawsuit
First Published Jul 09 2014 03:48 pm • Last Updated Jul 10 2014 07:41 am

The Deseret News’ top managers and The Salt Lake Tribune’s corporate owners are asking a federal judge to reject claims that a new business arrangement between Utah’s two largest newspapers violates the law and should be undone.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups has scheduled a July 21 hearing on the lawsuit, filed last month by a nonprofit group called Citizens for Two Voices (also known as the Utah Newspaper Project).

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The group of former Tribune employees and readers in the community alleges that changes to a long-standing profit-sharing partnership between the dailies have gravely weakened The Tribune’s finances and jeopardize its survival. They’ve sued the Deseret News Publishing Co., which runs the News on behalf of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Kearns-Tribune, the company through which New York-based Digital First Media operates The Tribune.

The group is asking that amendments to the newspapers’ joint-operating agreement (JOA) be halted, including provisions that gave the News control over the two dailies’ joint operations and cut in half The Tribune’s share of profits, generated jointly from print advertising and circulation.

Two separate investigations into the JOA changes, by the U.S. Justice Department and Utah attorney general’s office, also are underway.

In a counter-motion filed late Monday, managers at the News and Digital First Media, which runs The Tribune on behalf of New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital, maintain that the JOA revisions last fall were part of a business strategy to help accelerate The Tribune’s conversion to the digital era. Undoing those changes, they assert, threatens The Tribune’s future.

The lawsuit, they contend, "is an assault on the right of a business owner to decide what makes the most sense for its business."

The News and Digital First also argue they have a legal right under the Newspaper Preservation Act to alter their dealings however they see fit, short of adding another newspaper to their partnership, without outside interference.

They argue that the Utah Newspaper Project lacks proper legal standing to pursue the case, primarily because its members haven’t shown how they are injured by the JOA changes, beyond "hypothetical" and "conjectural" allegations of how they or others in Utah might suffer from losing The Tribune’s editorial voice if the paper shut down.

But the group offers no proof, they contend, "that there are any plans to close down The Tribune or that it is likely to cease publishing at any time in the foreseeable future."


story continues below
story continues below

Claims that the new JOA is ultimately intended to put The Tribune out of business are baseless, they have contended, saying there are no plans to shut down the paper — "not this week, this month, this year, or ever."

tsemerad@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.