Last fall the New York owner of The Salt Lake Tribune and the LDS Church-owned Deseret News Publishing Co. renegotiated their Joint Operating Agreement under the federal Newspaper Preservation Act.
The resulting contract does little for the preservation of the Tribune’s independent editorial voice in our unique marketplace of ideas. In fact, the amended agreement threatens the Tribune’s continued viability by placing its business operation under the control of the Deseret News and by according the News a grossly disproportionate share of the papers’ profits going forward.
We can surmise why the out-of-state owners of the Tribune would agree to such a deal: They were paid an undisclosed amount of money now for the future profits of a newspaper they plan to sell soon anyway. (See "Tribune braces for more cuts as owner shutters digital initiative," Tribune, April 3.) The motives of Deseret News Publishing Co. are a little more suspect.
It’s time for the U.S. Justice Department to look into this pernicious deal that threatens to leave Utahns without an indispensable independent voice.
Salt Lake City
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