Paul Huntsman is stepping down as Chairman of the Salt Lake Tribune Board of Directors
Paul Huntsman, who bought the Salt Lake Tribune in 2016 and turned it into a nonprofit three years later, is resigning as chairman of the newspaper and stepping down from its operations.
Huntsman made the announcement Friday at an open house letter On the Tribune website.
As chairman of the board, he also chaired the newspaper’s six-person editorial board, which selected topics and positions for Sunday editorials.
“This has taken a toll on me. I never received any compensation from the Tribune, nor did I expect to receive it. This effort has taken me away from many other professional responsibilities related to managing the growing investments in our family office,” wrote Huntsman, son of the late industrialist and philanthropist John M. Huntsman Sr.
Huntsman bought the Tribune from New York-based Alden Global Capital in 2016. Three years later, he shepherded its unprecedented transformation from a legacy newspaper into a nonprofit supported by public donations.
While their newsrooms were independent of each other, the Tribune and Deseret News shared production, delivery and advertising efforts under a decades-old joint operating agreement that was not renewed at the end of 2020. Although the two had always been, “ competitors, alternative voices, and, in many respects, representing separate demographics,” near-term success was dependent on the survival of the other party.
“I have not formally acknowledged how flexible and constructive The Deseret News has been as a partner alongside The Tribune. I want to publicly thank Jeff Simpson (current president of Deseret Management Corp.), who fought hard to ensure both newspapers had a smooth landing when the joint operating agreement was signed.” Expired Huntsman wrote: December 31, 2020.
“We have prioritized making Utah, and specifically Salt Lake City, one of the most vibrant journalism markets in the country, which has allowed us to rise above the results of many other local news markets,” Simpson said.
Huntsman said the results of becoming a nonprofit exceeded his financial expectations, and the transition put the Tribune on a path to sustainability.
“While this new model of journalism has repaired the Tribune’s balance sheet, it does not guarantee long-term success. Relevance, true independence, accountability, and innovation are critical for the community to put its full trust and value behind this institution,” he wrote.
Huntsman wrote that he has no regrets about the journey he has taken over the past eight years, calling it “an exhausting, exciting, infuriating, rocky, and sometimes satisfying journey.” lifetime opportunity. But one of the most important things in life is knowing oneself and its place in the cycles of life.
He wrote that this experience whetted his appetite for watchdog journalism. “This love affair remains strong, and I will participate in it again.”