Paul Huntsman’s purchase of the Salt Lake Tribune is good news for the many talented journalists who work there, but Utahns mostly don’t care who owns the paper.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey from Dan Jones & Associates finds that a vast majority of Utahns don’t care who owns the paper and no matter who owns the Tribune, it will not affect their reading habits.
Huntsman completed his purchase of the venerable newspaper on May 31 of this year.
Jones asked 614 registered Utah voters whether they were more or less likely to read the Tribune now that it has been purchased by Huntsman.
– 11% said they were more likely to read the paper.
– 3% stated that they were less likely
– 41% said they would continue to read the paper no matter who owns it.
– 40% they would not read the Tribune no matter who owns it.
News consumption habits are changing, which is presenting a formidable challenge to the newspaper industry. More and more consumers, particularly those who are younger, get their news online, which is one of the reasons for dwindling subscribership and advertising revenue in the newspaper industry.
That is perfectly illustrated in the age breakdown from our survey.
– 66% of millennials (18-24 years old) said they would not read the Tribune under any circumstances. Only 3% said they were more likely to become a reader. This suggests newspapers aren’t a primary source of news in this age group. Our poll did not differentiate between paper and the online version of the Tribune.
– 10% of those between 25 and 34 said Huntsman’s purchase of the Tribune makes them more likely to become a reader. 47% said they would continue to read the paper no matter who the owner is. 33% said they would not read the Tribune.
– 51% of respondents between 35 and 44 stated that they do not read the Tribune at all, while 10% are more likely to become a reader after Huntsman’s purchase.
Older news consumers seemingly still gravitate toward a printed newspaper.
– 49% of those between 45 and 54 say they will continue to read the Tribune, no matter who owns it as do 43% of Utahns between 55 and 64 and those over 65 years of age.
There is a perception, deserved or not, that the Tribune has a more liberal bent while Salt Lake City’s other major news daily, the Deseret News, tends to be more right-wing. That is seemingly reflected in our poll results as Democrats are more enthusiastic about their support for the Tribune while Republicans are less so. independents are evenly divided.
– 51% of Republicans in our survey said they don’t read the Tribune at all.
– 67% of Democrats replied they will continue to read the Tribune no matter the owner, while another 11% said they were more likely to be readers now that Huntsman is the owner.
– 15% of independents said they were more likely to read the Tribune because of Huntsman’s purchase. 36% said they would remain readers no matter who owns the paper while another 36% said they would not read the paper at all.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted June 8-17, 2016 with a margin of error +/-3.95%.