More than two years after it sought to become the first legacy U.S. newspaper to go nonprofit, The Salt Lake Tribune has added five new members to its governing board.
The infusion approved last week replaced three outgoing directors and expanded the board by two members, bringing the volunteer panel in charge of steering the 150-year-old news outlet’s financial and editorial missions to 11 members.
Businessman Paul Huntsman, who bought The Tribune in 2016 and has since donated his ownership to the nonprofit, continues as board chairman.
The son of the late philanthropist and chemicals magnate Jon M. Huntsman Sr. is also one of six trustees remaining from a nine-member lineup announced in March 2020 after The Tribune won approval in late fall 2019 from the IRS to convert from a for-profit to a community-based nonprofit asset.
Huntsman said in an interview that board is committed to the wider mission of sustainability for The Tribune and that all members bring skills in fundraising to that goal.
“We wanted to broaden representation from various communities and voices throughout Utah,” he said Monday. “We’re obviously very happy to welcome these new members to the board.”
Joining as new board members are:
• Erin Laney Barr, a real estate attorney who is partner and co-founder of Barr Property Development and a commercial and residential real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Realty.
• Fred Esplin, a retired vice president from the University of Utah, where he managed the public broadcasting station KUED and became a senior U. administrator over development.
• Jorge Fierro, CEO of Fierro Group, a west Salt Lake City producer of Mexican products sold widely under the Rico brand of foods.
• Ciel Hunter, a Millcreek-based consultant formerly with Vice Media, where she worked for the Canadian-American digital media and broadcast firm in leadership roles over content, production and creative development.
• Dave Patel, associate dean for student and external affairs at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University in Logan.
Three members are leaving or have stepped down: Salt Lake City restaurateur and businesswoman Luzmaria “Lucy” Cardenas; Clint Betts, executive director of Silicon Slopes, which represents Utah’s technology sector; and Spencer Zwick, a private equity fund founder and past adviser to Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
The remaining board members are Randy Dryer, a U. law professor and longtime media attorney; Holly Mullen, communication and public engagement manager for Salt Lake City Public Utilities and a former Tribune columnist; Ashish Patel, Group Nine chief insights officer; James E. “Jay” Shelledy, former Tribune editor and retired director of Louisiana State University’s Office of Student Media; and Angie Welling, head of communications for Google Fiber.
In a statement posted online along with the new lineup, The Tribune said the board “believes that it is sound policy to delegate the day-to-day oversight and management of news, advertising and circulation matters to The Tribune’s officers and senior staff members.” The board has similarly delegated management of the outlet’s Opinion pages to the paper’s editorial board.
Huntsman also pointed to other recent moves on leadership posts and among top day-to-day managers of The Tribune’s newsroom and business operations.
Top among The Tribune’s leadership team is Executive Editor Lauren Gustus, hired for the post in fall 2020 from a regional position with McClatchy. She oversaw 10 news organizations in Idaho, Washington and California, including that news chain’s flagship Sacramento Bee.
Chris Stegman also was hired last fall as The Tribune’s chief revenue officer. He held the same title at the Houston Chronicle and, before that, was a top advertising executive with the Gannett news chain for 17 years.
Tim Fitzpatrick, a 35-year Tribune veteran and grandson of influential former Editor John F. Fitzpatrick, is now senior director of public outreach and operations, overseeing its technical and financial operations.