‘Political Insiders’ Mostly Positive About Sale of Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune marquisMost of our “Political Insiders” are hopeful the sale of the Salt Lake Tribune to Paul Huntsman will portend good things for Utah’s largest newspaper.

65% of the Republicans on our panel support the sale as do 85% of the Democrats and 72% of our readers.
There is a small group of Democrats and our readers who oppose the deal, mostly because they fear a loss of editorial independence for the paper now with Paul Huntsman, and perhaps the rest of the Huntsman family, in control.
Many of the Republicans on our panel complained about a perceived liberal and anti-Mormon bias at the Tribune and hoped the sale to Huntsman would reign that in. Others worried the Huntsman’s LDS faith would make the paper more conservative. Truly, media bias is in the eye of the beholder.
About a third of the Republicans on our panel and a quarter of our readers say who owns the Tribune is of no concern.

Selected anonymous comments:
“More than an opposing voice, Utah needs a solid, vibrant 2nd voice in the print media. This sale would assure that.”
“The Tribune has some good writers. Editorial policies are way too liberal for Utah. I don’t see that changing with the Huntsman family. Good luck.”
“Newspapers (print) are vital to the health of a democratic society. It is also the only place where you can get any depth and perspective to an issue. My experience with electronic media limits me to headlines and a short synopsis of a story, and if I want the entire thing, I’m asked to pay for it. And, this applies to the Tribune as well, which I already pay for in the print edition.”
“The Tribune is so one-sided I don’t read it. It doesn’t represent rural Utah. Maybe with new owners it will be fair.”
“Salt Lake City is too small for two newspapers, but the D-news will never be more than a way to circulate LDS content and the Tribune has always been anti-Mormon, both of which alienate a significant population. Maybe Huntsman can find a way to solve this dilemma.”
“Having an alternative voice is critical, particularly in this state where so much of the conversation is controlled by a single viewpoint. I have heard some complain that the result will be two versions of this same view, but I have faith that the idea of an independent voice is something that the Huntsman family intended to preserve and is one of the main reasons they have stepped up.”
“The Tribune is a very anti-Mormon liberal paper. Maybe the change in ownership will make it an objective paper.”
“I appreciate having competition and a different viewpoint, but the Tribune has been well known for politically motivated hit pieces. Journalism, particularly as it pertains to public lands and the environment, has largely been dead at the Tribune for many years. I am hopeful it will return with this sale.”
“It is nice to have an independent newspaper in Utah, but the Trib has become so negative and vitriolic against the Mormon Church and Republicans that many (most?) throughout the state just ignore it. Its comments section is a magnet for religious bigots and intolerants of all stripes.”
“The Tribune needs an infusion of cash to amplify and diversify in digital formats. Huntsman will provide the resources for this, and hopefully, for beefing up a staff that’s been dwindling under the management of Alden Global and Digital First Media. If the traditional separation of editorials from the news is established under Huntsman, I welcome it.”
“Keeping it in the hands of an independent voice is important.”
“It can’t be any worse off than it was before; here’s hoping the new owners will have its future in mind.”
“I don’t care about the ownership as much as I do the editorial independence.”
“It would be good to see the Trib take less of a liberal stance. Balance is one thing; being on an extreme is unnecessary.”
“It will still be a liberal rag no matter who owns it.”
“I don’t trust the deal and am concerned about how the Huntsmans will influence coverage and editorials.”
“I’m concerned that the Huntsman’s contributed $100,000 to Count My Vote, replacing the $100,000 from Mitt Romney’s POTUS transition fund. Just what we need, more Buy My Vote!”
“Perhaps this will be a step towards restoring sanity at the Tribune.”
“The Tribune’s plight is the same one faced by hundreds of other newspapers. Hard to stay relevant in a rapidly changing media world. The Trib’s troubles were exacerbated by the McCarthy family’s efforts to wring as much money out of the paper as possible before selling it off. Mostly, I feel sorry for the few remaining dedicated journalists who still try to produce something of value every day. They are the real heroes and victims in this saga.”
“It’s a liberal anti-Mormon rag whose business model is slowly dying. Doesn’t matter who owns it.”
“The Tribune is a needed voice in our area. I wish them well. Sometimes they rankle my gizzard, but that’s okay. My gizzard needs to be purged from time-to-time. Sometimes the D-News is plain vanilla when rocky road is called for.”
“It is good to have two newspapers in town. Huntsman will do a good job with it.”