Digital First Media has sold the Salt Lake Tribune to Paul Huntsman, son of billionaire businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.
The sale comes after more than a year of negotiations between Huntsman Family Investments and Digital First Media. In a statement sent to KUER Paul Huntsman says, “It is important that The Salt Lake Tribune continues in its indispensable role for our community and to be locally owned. We hope to ensure the Tribune’s independent voice for future generations and are thrilled to own a business of this quality and stature.”
Salt Lake Tribune Editor and Publisher Terry Orme says he’s aware of the apprehension some people have about a sale to the Huntsman family, but he thinks it will be a positive for the paper.
“I take Jon Huntsman at his word when he says what he likes about the Salt Lake Tribune and what he thinks is important about the Salt Lake Tribune is its independence,” he says.
Orme says while he doesn’t know much about the sale and hasn’t spoken to Paul Huntsman yet, he’s looking forward to what the new ownership potentially has to offer.
“I expect us to be in a better position to innovate, to try new things, to be more creative digitally, to be better digitally," he says. "I expect our print product to also show innovation and improvements.
Before the sale a group of concerned citizens had filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department about the Joint Operating Agreement between the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News that was renegotiated in 2013. There have been no indications on whether the sale to the Huntsman family has or will have any impact on that agreement or on the DOJ’s investigation.