Why the Salt Lake Tribune Will Fail Unless the DOJ Takes Action

The only entity that can save the Salt Lake Tribune is the Department of Justice. Read our sources for our cover story on why we conclude the Trib’s days are numbered if action isn’t taken.



Read about this issue in-depth. We found some great sources for our investigation conclusions.

Tribune Latest Round of Layoffs

(April 10th, 2014)


Feds Scrutinize Salt Lake Newspapers Deal

Salt Lake Tribune (April 9th, 2014)

The breaking story by the Tribune on themselves when they contacted the Department of Justice and learned that their assets were being sold to the Deseret News.


Salt Lake Tribune (April 21st)

New Deal Protects Tribune Independence

News CEO Clark Gilbert said the LDS Church-owned daily is committed to market demand for multiple editorial voices and that a controversial new business pact between The Tribune and News includes specific protections for both newspapers’ independence.


DesNews President’s Statement on the New Deal



the Rundown: Editor and Publisher Terry Orme on layoffs and changes at the Salt Lake Tribune

The Tribune eliminated 7 full time positions and eliminated its weekly faith section. This is just six months after reducing its staff by 20 percent. DigitalFirst Media has 280 daily papers. They are asking for a 10% reduction in expenses. At this time they discovered that Thunder Doam was also being cut and all 52 employees. They were supposed to handle the national news stories. “We didn’t use much of it, and it certainly didn’t get much traffic on our website.” “Offered a live chat leading up to the Oscars.”


JOA — is an outgrowth of the newspaper preservation act, which allowed newspapers to share operating costs. DigitalFirst has been selling presses and real estate from other papers across the country. Why the DOJ is looking into this– these agreements are anti-trust and– a local group of former Tribune employees believe this is part of a plan when the Deseret News wanted to buy the Tribune, there were anti-competitive concerns in that deal. And one DOJ investigator has asked for more information (the Utah Newspaper Project)– They have sold the Tribune’s future profits to the Deseret News, therefore crippling the paper.” Orme’s response is that it remains to see what DigitalFirst’s strategy is.

New York Times — It’s an increasing sentiment that wealthy are better benefactors than the short-term hedge fund owners.

stuff about reporting on themselves. You have very strong feelings about the place you work, it’s a tricky tight rope, but we have done it a lot in the last decade and a half. We just put in a lot of journalistic rules.

More cuts at the Tribune? The Tribune has been rumored to be for sale since last fall. I don’t know of a buyer waiting in the wings. I don’t think that the investor ever imagined this as a long-term investment. If it were up to me I would like to see local ownership. That would be my preference. I hope that in terms of staffing reductions that we are good for awhile. We will looking at reducing the number of pages over the next week.

Research on Comparing Deal with Rocky Mountain News and its Closure

UT San Diego

Rocky Mountain News Closes its Doors

About how it entered a JOA with the Denver Post in 2001 and Singleton’s rejection of the deal.


Denver Post on the Rocky Mountain News Closing


Why Nobody Wanted to Buy The Rocky Mountain News

Wall Street Journal

Rocky would have entered the market without a printing press, advertiser lists or distribution capabilities.

Denver Post on Dean Singleton’s Buyout of the Salt Lake Tribune

Chronology of the MediaNews Group and Dean Singleton’s buyout of the Salt Lake Tribune. Also, basic chronology of how the Rocky Mountain News joined into a JOA with its rival the Denver Post, but still failed.


Alden Global Capital’s power plays in the newspaper business

USA Today on Jeff Bezo’s Efforts on the Washington Post So Far

The Resurgent Washington Post


The nature of the investing illustrates the emerging strategy. After years of steady shrinkage, the newsroom is in the midst of making three dozen hires, and more may lie ahead. But don’t expect an explosion of traditional newspaper positions like local reporters. The focus is digital, launching new blogs and verticals and reinforcing existing ones, with a heavy emphasis on national and international content.

The goal is to attract an ever-increasing audience online, with plenty of attention to making it engaging on mobile devices. That traffic jump won’t come from beefing up regional coverage.

The Shakeup at MediaNews and How it Could Lead to a Massive Newspaper Consolidation by Martin Lengeveld (Jan 20, 2011)

(Former MediaNews Publisher for 13 years)


MediaNews could not outrun the ticking clock of debt accumulation; revenues plummeted; newspaper values tumbled; and lenders threatened foreclosure. Lodovic engineered a strategic and very quick bankruptcy that wiped out $765 million in debt by placing nearly all of the company’s stock in the hands of the former bondholders. Remarkably, the bankruptcy reorganization left him and Singleton in charge and with a small equity stake, plus the opportunity to earn back an equity position up to 20 percent. They also had theoretical control in the form of the power to appoint a majority of the board.


in reality, the shakeup robs [Singleton] of nearly all his clout. The Singleton-Lodovic appointees to the MediaNews board are gone, replaced by new directors representing the stockholders group led by Alden Global Capital,


Alden is the outfit with the most skin in the game, having investments in MediaNews, Freedom, Philadelphia Media, Journal Register, Freedom, Tribune and Postmedia


the money behind the interlocking investment structures is controlled by billionaire Randall Smith, Alden’s founder, who built his fortune through investments in junk bonds and distressed properties.


Alden has offices in New York, Dallas, Dubai and Mumbai, along with a tax-haven presence on the Channel Island Jersey.


Alden’s ultimate interest is in earning a strong return on its investments, not in the future of journalism, so its strategy is at heart a financial one. And, yes, consolidation will come at the cost of jobs.

Nieman Journalism Lab

The Newsonomics of US Media Concentration

by Ken Doctor


Hedge funds — which bought into the industry through and after 14 newspaper company bankruptcies — are having their presence felt. Most recently, Alden Global Capital, the quietest major player in the American news industry, boughtout its partners and now owns 100 percent of Journal Register Company. Alden, with interests in as many as 10 U.S. newspaper chains, apparently liked the moves of CEO John Paton. Paton’s digital-first strategies have more rapidly cut legacy costs than other publishers’ moves, and moved the needle more quickly in upping digital revenues.


Columbia Journalism Review

Open Letter to John Paton

“if Print dollars are becoming Digital Dimes, then we better start chasing the Dimes.” You became a popular speaker on the Wherefore Journalism Circuit. And oh, those names your company assigned to its initiatives. First there was the “Ben Franklin Project,” and then the “JRC ideaLab,” and now there “Project Thunderdome.” – See more at:

Time Magazine

Who Really Killed The Rocky Mountain News

by Bob Diddlebock


Time Magazine

How To Save Your Newspaper

By Walter Isaacson


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