Deseret News, S.L. Tribune revise joint operating agreement

Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 8:30 p.m. MDT

Deseret News papers in Salt Lake City  Tuesday, July 5, 2011.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Deseret News papers in Salt Lake City Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The joint operating agreement between the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune has been revised, preserving the editorial independence of the publications but expanding the overall investment by the Deseret News in the printing facilities and infrastructure.

The announcement was made Monday by Brent Low, chief executive officer of MediaOne, the printing, delivery and advertising company jointly owned by the media companies.

As part of the revised agreement, the Deseret News will purchase the printing facilities and real estate of the partnership. In addition, the digital businesses for both the Tribune and Deseret News will be operated outside of the joint operating agreement, Low said.

“This is a good investment for the Deseret News and a signal of our commitment to the state of Utah," said Clark Gilbert, chief executive officer of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media.

"It helps ensure two strong and independent voices, while allowing our partner to follow an investment pattern that fits what they have done in other markets," Gilbert said.

Digital First Media manages the newspaper and digital operations of Denver-based MediaNews Group, the parent company of the Salt Lake Tribune. Over the past two years, the company has downsized and consolidated its operations in Salt Lake and other markets across the country.

Digital First Media has also increasingly sought to divest real estate and other physical assets in other markets, including Denver and San Jose, Calif.

"We are very pleased with this initiative. It is consistent with our strategy at Digital First Media of focusing on our core competencies of content and sales and is an important step in ensuring the multiplatform future of the Salt Lake Tribune," said John Paton, chief executive officer of Digital First Media.

MediaOne was incorporated in 1952 by the two daily newspapers to share expenses for publishing, advertising and circulation. Salt Lake City remains one of only a few cities with a joint operating agreement maintaining two major competing newspapers.

The Deseret News, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consolidated its news operations in 2010, creating a News Division with KSL broadcasting. The company also established Deseret Digital Media as a separate digital division, which has expanded rapidly and now runs multiple online properties, including industry-leading KSL.com and deseretnews.com.

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