Dabakis: Salt Lake Tribune Must Be Saved From ‘Murder’

Utah Democratic state Senator Jim Dabakis.

Utah Democratic state Senator Jim Dabakis.

(KCPW News) A new joint operating agreement between the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News has some Utahns concerned that the Tribune might not fair well in the new plan.

Count state Sen. Jim Dabakis among those concerned. In fact, he’s so worried about the fate of the Salt Lake Tribune, he’s started his own website and accompanying petition urging the U.S. Department of Justice to nix the proposed deal. He said the proposal to shift 70 percent of the publishing profit to the Deseret News is a conscious decision made by Deseret News leadership to “murder” the Tribune off, making Salt Lake City a one-newspaper town.

“It’s not up to me to ascribe the Deseret News’ motivation,” he said, “but the result of what they have done will be to kill the Tribune, to silence that editorial voice, and the only newspaper left in our community will be the Deseret News.”

Many two-newspaper cities have lost a newspaper in recent years, but Dabakis said Salt Lake is different.

“These are not economic forces that are killing the Trib,” said Dabakis, who believes the Salt Lake Tribune is actually doing well compared with the Deseret News. “This is an out-and-out murder that is killing the Salt Lake Tribune. That’s what makes this different.

In a letter to its readers published on April 21st, the Deseret News set out to clarify its position on the joint operating agreement. The paper noted that Tribune ownership initiated conversations to revise the agreement, not the other way around. They also mentioned that the Tribune does not have to pay to use the plant and printing presses owned by the Deseret News.

At the time this story was published, Dabakis’ petition had 5,113 signatures.