Sunday, April 27, 2014

Columbia Journalism Review: A Newspaper Deal Threatens Utah's Main Non-Mormon-Owned Daily, Critics Say

Why not sign the petition? Can't hurt... might help

Disturbing story for fans of the Salt Lake Tribune.  Utahns who are interested in a balanced Utah editorial narrative should read the lede and weep, O Gentle Weber County Forum Readers:
A deal reached last fall between Salt Lake City's two main newspapers is unraveling into an angry controversy as the Justice Department looks into allegations that the Salt Lake Tribune, in return for a lump-sum cash payment, is quietly ceding the market to the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News.
The deal, an amendment struck last fall to a longstanding Joint Operating Agreement, would give the News 70 percent of the print revenues generated by the two papers, in return for the payment, the amount of which is undisclosed. The onetime payment, critics claim, would benefit the New York parent, Digital First Media, owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, while choking off revenue needed to sustain the Tribune's newsroom.
"The hedge fund guys get what they want, which is a big pile of cash," says Jim Dabakis, a Utah state senator who this week started an online petition asking the Justice Department to reverse the deal. "And the Deseret News gets what it wants, its generations-long dream [fulfilled] to extinguish the other voice in the community. And they get a monopoly from now on."
Read the full Columbia Journalism Review expose' here, folks, and continue with your weeping:
And here's an interesting wrinkle to this story, provided by a knowledgeable and trusted WCF source, who works for the Salt Lake Tribune, and technically refutes the claim that "this deal [was] reached last fall between Salt Lake City's two main newspapers":
The thing to know is that no one who actually works at the Salt Lake Tribune was consulted or had anything to do with this agreement. Our corporate hedge fund owners got a pile of cash to service their Wall Street debt and the Deseret News, the weaker paper in terms of generating subscriptions and ad revenue, was handed the means to strangle the competition. 
Definitely no surprizes here.  Obviously this was a deal soley cut between Deseret News ownership (who have exactly the same amount of money as God hisself)  and the greed-head hedge fund managers who own the 'venerable" Salt Lake  Tribune, "lock, stock and barrel."
Interested in rolling up your sleeves and engaging in some useful and productive political action on an otherwise quite Utah Sunday? Sign the online petition, O Gentle Readers:
Why not?  Can't hurt... might help.

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