The Salt Lake Tribune has joined the ranks of countless other newsrooms around the country and in Utah that the economic realities have caught up with us, and we paid the price for that today. It's a tightening of the belt in our newsroom costs, and yeah, we spread it around. —Terry Orme
SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday announced a consolidation of top management positions and a 20 percent staff reduction.
Editor Nancy Conway and Editorial Page Editor Vern Anderson will retire at the end of this month, the paper announced on its website. Publisher William Dean Singleton is also stepping down but will remain chairman of the board for the Tribune.
Conway, Anderson and Singleton have led the Tribune for more than a decade, according to the article. The Salt Lake City-based daily is owned by the MediaNews Group based in Denver.
Terry Orme, one of the paper's two managing editors, will take on roles of both editor and publisher Oct. 1, while Deputy Editor Tim Fitzpatrick takes over as editorial page editor and Managing Editor Lisa Carricaburu leads news gathering for all departments.
Thursday's layoffs marked the last day at the newspaper for 17 full-time employees and two part-time employees. Severance packages were offered.
The cuts impacted employees from several beats, ranging from young journalists to veteran reporters. Orme said it was a painful day in the newsroom.
"The Salt Lake Tribune has joined the ranks of countless other newsrooms around the country and in Utah that the economic realities have caught up with us, and we paid the price for that today," he said. "It's a tightening of the belt in our newsroom costs, and yeah, we spread it around."
Nevertheless, Orme said he remains confident that with more than 90 people still in the newsroom, the paper's thinned ranks will not hinder its efforts to present Utahns with breaking news, investigative reporting and enterprising storytelling.
"That's a good-sized newsroom. You can do some dynamic journalism, and I think we can fulfill our role of being a watchdog and producing a vibrant website and a daily paper," he said. "We'll have to do it a little differently, and we're going to have to figure that out in the next days, weeks and months."
The announcement follows other changes at the Tribune over the past four months. In May, Conway announced layoffs of nine Tribune employees. In July, in a column written by Conway, she announced consolidation of sections in the Tribune, also as a cost-saving measure.
Conway could not be reached for comment Thursday, but in the July column she wrote:
"News costs money. Local news is particularly expensive. I won't insult you by saying we can do more with less. We can't. What we can do is manage smartly, choose carefully and remain committed to Journalism with a capital J. We intend to keep the printed newspaper worthy of you — our readers," she wrote.
"It will probably shrink a bit more as readers continue to migrate to the Web. It is still the medium for people who prefer the look and feel of print. Some (like me) may always prefer it. Over time it may become the vehicle for enterprise, in-depth and investigative journalism — while digital news rules the breaking news media.
"I wish I had a crystal ball."
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