Lauren Gustus: Celebrate the start of something special with us

Moab Times-Independent publisher donates paper to the nonprofit Tribune.

The Times-Independent

This announcement was shared exclusively with subscribers in a monthy newsletter I write. If you’d like to receive it, you can subscribe to The Tribune here.

I remember entering Zane Taylor’s wood-paneled office at The Times-Independent on Center Street in Moab about a year ago.

It was just after the town flooded. Sandbags lay by the door and there were water stains on the carpet.

The good news, Zane told me, was that they’d stopped the water before it reached two giant rolls of newsprint in the back — a significant supply for the weekly newspaper that has been serving Moabites with local journalism since 1896.

For roughly 100 years, the Taylor family has told Moab’s story: covering community milestones, holding public officials to account and reporting on the environment and the economy.

Zane has served as publisher and pressman for 25 years. On Thursday, he let readers in Grand and San Juan counties know The Times-Independent will transition from family ownership to nonprofit stewardship, and that the family is donating the paper to The Tribune.

Journalism has changed, Zane told readers, and it is important for the Times-Independent to evolve so it remains essential to all Moabites.

[Read the letter from Taylor: It has been my family’s honor to serve Moabites]

Today, I hope you’ll celebrate the start of something special. For Moab. And Salt Lake. And many places in between.

The Tribune is committed to strengthening all communities in Utah by sharing strong local reporting. We’ve shown the potential of the nonprofit model and we’re eager to support Moab.

The T-I will be operated by The Tribune, in that its employees will join our payroll and have access to our benefits — from 401(k) match and family leave to a staff of multimedia journalists and editors at The Tribune who can elevate the very strong local reporting at the T-I.

[Read more: Moab Times-Independent donated to The Salt Lake Tribune, will become nonprofit]

The newsroom will remain independent and be run in Moab, as it always has, under the leadership of editor Doug McMurdo. Its reporting will be free for anyone to read online, and delivered free to all Moab residents in September. Zane will join the T-I’s new advisory board.

A community needs a good newspaper, Zane told readers.

Moab, like many places in Utah, is navigating significant growth while trying to preserve what makes it feel special. There is no shortage of stories to share.

If you support local journalism already, thank you. If you’d like to help strengthen local news statewide, we’d love your help.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Executive Editor Lauren Gustus.

Lauren Gustus is executive editor of The Tribune.