MediaNews Group to take over Salt Lake Tribune

AP, July 31, 2002
http://www.nandotimes.com/business/story/483811p-3864019c.htmlOff-site Link
Copyright © 2002 AP Online

By PAUL FOY, AP Business Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (July 31, 2002 6:46 a.m. EDT) – After months of legal wrangling, The Salt Lake Tribune, formed by Mormon dissidents more than a century ago, will soon be in the hands of a company that appears hand-picked by its church-owned rival.

The Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, was to be taken over Thursday by Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc., which bought the paper 19 months ago but has been unable to take control because of a complex contract with its longtime executives. MediaNews Group owns The Denver Post and 48 other daily papers.

On Tuesday, an appeals court rejected a request from the newspaper’s former owners to keep control of the publication.


The prospect of the Tribune being taken away from the Kearns-McCarthey family, which has owned it for more than a century, has sent a shudder through Salt Lake City, the headquarters of the Mormon church. The paper has long been considered a counterweight to the church’s influence.

The Deseret News, the Tribune’s church-owned afternoon rival, shares a printing plant, advertising and distribution. That joint operating agreement appears to have given the News the chance to pick its partner. The McCartheys are trying to repurchase the paper; the News is blocking them.

“In Utah there’s this saliva test: Are you a Tribune reader or a Deseret News reader?” said Brigham Young University journalism professor Alf Pratte.

It’s part of a larger debate over the influence wielded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said. “If it’s not the newspapers, it will be the issue of drinking or abortion,” he said.


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